With unrelenting minds, we clench our writing, our art, our tasks ahead. As if there’s the possibility that if we let go, they’ll somehow slip away from us or float beyond reach.
We worry and wonder about what we’ve finished and what still needs to be done. Always a mountain of to-dos.
I suppose this is the creative’s angst. For me, it feels heavier at the end of the day. I have to consciously focus on letting these thoughts go, setting them down to be taken up again the following day.
At the end of the day, I struggle to let go.
Here’s what’s worked for me lately. (I’m hoping it’ll work for you, too)
You’ve planted your seeds
There are a number of physical things I do that help (I’ll share those next), but the #1 thing is to remind myself that the seeds have been planted. I think of my work as planting seeds.
If you plant seeds, you don’t then keep digging them up. You have to leave them alone, and let them grow. Nighttime is my rest time and time for seeds I’ve sown to mature.
It’s not just my work that I think about this way. My ideas and thoughts about my projects are all seeds, too. They’ve been planted. I need to let them be and allow them to germinate.
The mind also needs time to rest. It’s impossible to create through a mind that’s worn thin from overthinking.
I remind myself of this every.single.evening.I’ve been doing this for years and yet still, I have to remind myself or my mind won’t let go.
A few more ways to let go
As for the physical things that help, each evening, I pick one or two of the following (except meditation. That, I do daily):
- A burst of exercise (even if it’s just a few minutes long). Something that is particularly challenging, where I need full focus.
- Doing something totally unrelated/not involving the computer. If I’m sitting at the computer, I’ll think about work. Getting up and out of the house and doing something that cannot be done while using something digital is best. Yoga + my storytelling are both perfect for this. When I am telling a tale, I am nowhere but there. It shifts me from over-thinking, puts me back into my body, and then afterward, I can begin to unwind for the evening. Yoga has a similar effect.
- Visualization. I love visualization (I’m thinking to record and share a few visualization exercises with you one day. They’re powerful). For letting go, I imagine the concept of letting go. For example, I imagine something large, like a slowly bridge (without people on it) collapsing into a body of water.
- Meditation. This is my magic-ninja-superhero weapon. Like many people, I internalize tension and can feel the tightness in my body. Meditation helps relax, soften my body and ease my mind back from the edge of over-thought.
Whatever tools and tactics you find to help, use them regularly. Consistency matters.
At the end of the day, you’ve planted your seeds. Let them grow. Your mind –and your work– will be better off for it.