You know how it is.
You have a bottle of ketchup (mustard, dish-soap, whatever) and it has some left in it. You have a brand new bottle but the Scrooge in you will not let you open the new bottle until you have squeezed every last drop out of that old bottle. You get tired of waiting and waiting while a drop or two of ketchup slides out on to your hamburger.
Thinking you are clever and frugal, you set the old bottle upside down on the counter and let the dregs settle to the top of the bottle. Your grand scheme is to pour the remaining ketchup or mustard or dish-soap into the new bottle. After all, waste not want not — right?
So, you open the new bottle and set it on the counter and turn the old bottle upside down over it. Carefully, you open the old bottle. This is where the laws of physics come into play. You see, the remaining fluid in the old bottle has settled into the neck due to gravity. Since the bottle is plastic, you squeeze a bit while holding it and removing the cap.
Poof! The ketchup left in the bottle pops like a pimple, throwing little dots of ketchup all over the counter, the wall and the floor.
Twenty minutes later, after you clean up the mess, you manage to salvage about a tablespoon of ketchup from the neck of the old bottle. The old bottle goes in the trash.
Aren’t you proud?
Sometimes life is like a nearly empty bottle of ketchup. You can hold onto something (a job, relationship, old books, memories — anything). You endow that thing with meaning that is doesn’t have, as if the thing itself were the experience it represents. You hold onto it until you create a mess.
Then you let go.
Then you are free to use the new bottle of ketchup — which will meet your needs better and without all the unneeded work the old bottle required.
Meditation on Letting Go
What am I holding onto that no longer serves me? What am I avoiding by not letting go?