Our Real Work: Jess Ryan, MS

Coaching and consulting. Something's calling. It's your life.

Are You Ready to Let This Go? 5 Steps to a Bring Out the YOU That Will Change the World


There are moments in life that feel too intense. A person, place, or situation feels like it’s sucking the life out of you. It’s obvious it needs to go.

Then there are times when life is good and all is right in the world. It’s in those moments of bliss that your life can take you by surprise and be your greatest teacher.

Several months ago, I was feeling fantastic about life. Work, family, community, and mental, emotional, and physical aspects of my health were going well.

Ond day in the midst of my bliss bubble, I was laying on a treatment table during my Shaman apprenticeship. Another student was practicing a healing technique on me when our teacher asked to interrupt, hovered her hands over my solar plexus, got very quiet for a few minutes and then yelled, “Are you ready to let go of this?!”

“Yeeeeaaaah?”Hands butterfly

“I’m dead serious. Are you ready to let this go?”

Since I wasn’t 100% sure what I supposed to be letting go of in my smug happiness, I was a bit apprehensive. Then out of, what seemed like no where, the Shaman walloped me in the gut.

“You are carrying old energy and beliefs that are no longer serving you and the work you need to do in this world. Do you really want to keep carrying this around?!”

I thought about it for another moment while everyone in the room stared, wide-eyed and open-mouthed.

I certainly didn’t want a gut-check again, but that moment snapped me out of my everyday experience. I knew enough about myself to know I’d spent a lot of my earlier days carrying beliefs, resentments, thoughts, and paradigms that didn’t serve me or others. Even though I had done decades of forgiveness, personal growth, spiritual and healing work there was a deeper layer that was ready to be released in order for me to evolve.

In that startling moment, I let down my defenses enough to realize I didn’t have to carry it around anymore…whatever “it” was. It didn’t mean I had never done the work. It didn’t mean I hadn’t already let some of it go. It meant that, because of all the work, I was ready to truly let go of old patterns so I could be of greater service to others.

When we don’t release what haunts us those thoughts, stories, emotions, and energies will continue playing out in our lives until we uplevel how we (do or do not) deal with them.

Take, for example, my former client, Joey. She initially came to me for coaching and energy work around fertility issues. After several mind-body healing sessions it became apparent that Joey’s fertility issues were strongly linked to energy that was still tied up in her ex-husband.

Years after her divorce, she continued re-telling her (legitimate) story of victimization. She wanted vindication for his awful actions. She wanted everyone to see how terrible he was. She stewed about, journaled about, and told all of her friends about the years of trauma. She brought her ex-husband into her next marriage, all of her professional and personal relationships, and her ex clearly still haunted her physical body and reproductive organs. This dude might as well have paid her rent, because he was metaphorically still living with her.

She was giving him so much energy and power, keeping the story alive, that it was sucking the life out of her. Lit.er.al.ly sucking her ability to create her life and create a life, from and for her self.

So, how do you know when it’s time to let go of someone or something (without getting punched) and what can you do to facilitate the letting go?

Here are 5 quick steps you can take to let go, heal, and bring your best self into the world:
You’ll need about 15 minutes, a quiet space, and a journal or paper to write down your answers.

Ask yourself, “Is there anything I need to let go of?”
Sounds ridiculous, right? But, life is distracting, good or bad, so we’ll rarely take the time to reflect or notice how we feel. Close your eyes, ask, and see what comes up. Write it down. Also notice if you get a charge when you talk about a particular person or situation and if it seems to come up a lot. Charge = life sucking. No Bueno.

If nothing is coming up, notice if there are areas of your life that aren’t working: physical health (Health issues are a top indicator that you’re holding onto something. Remember Joey and her fertility issues?), mental health, life satisfaction, work. This usually means you’re holding onto someone or something that isn’t in alignment with you. You might need to skip ahead to #4 if you’re stuck here.

Ask yourself, “Am I honestly, ready and willing to let go of this?”
Like good old Joey, she knew she needed to get rid of that bastard of a husband, heck, she divorced him. But, there was a part of her that wasn’t ready to let him go entirely. Sometimes the old adage that picking a scab feels good. And to some part of us, familiarity is safe. But, when we keep picking, the wound never has a chance to heal.

Are you truly ready to let this heal ON ALL LEVELS? Write down your answer.

Close your eyes, get into a feeling state, and ask yourself, “What would it feel like if this was completely released, if I didn’t have to carry it anymore?”

With eyes closed, try on what it feels like to be free of this person or situation. Notice sensation, your physical body, your emotions, etc. You can also ask yourself, “Who would I be if I wasn’t holding on to ____?” Write down your answer in detail.

Let it go. (Get some help.)
Let it go. Easier said than done, eh? Joey thought she had let go of her ex when she signed those papers. I thought I let go of all my old programming before I got punched. To release something completely you have to be able to let go of it on the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and energetic levels. Sometimes you can do that on your own through intention, bringing it into awareness, or talking it out. Often, you need a little help from someone who isn’t involved in the story: a therapist, life-coach, energy worker, healer, shaman, or all of the above. When you seek out the right professional it expedites the healing process, provides perspective, AND a safe space for true, lasting change to occur.
Celebrate the good life and practice.
When you do release someone or something, honor and celebrate it! Have a ceremony, burn a candle, set something a float in the river (preferably not your ex), say a prayer or meditation, or release a balloon. A physical representation of release will help your entire system recognize that you mean business about letting go of this. A good therapist, coach, healer will also give you exercises or tips on how to help you form a new habit and integrate this change neurologically, physiologically, energetically, and/or spiritually.

You are on this planet for a reason and you can’t do that to it’s fullest if you are lugging around all of your wounds, old programming, ex’s, and crappy co-workers. It’s time to let them go and see what you can do when you are able to invest 100% of your energy into your life. I bet it’s pretty amazing.

In the comments below, please inspire the masses and let us know how letting go of something changed you and your life:


  1. This blog hit home for me. Since I have mostly closed my practice, my old feelings of not being good enough have returned. I got reinforcement most days at work that I was doing something worthwhile, and more often than I care to admit, an old voice would say to my ex “see, I am worth something no matter what you used to say to me.” And now that pain is there again. I really need to let it go. I want to. I am trying.

    • Pam, thanks so much for your bravery and sharing. It’s always amazing how old “stuff” hits us at unexpected times…and exactly when it’s supposed to. The good news — it’s coming up because a part of you is ready to evolve. The fact that you’re saying it out loud means the wheels of change are already in motion. I’m sending compassion and a shout out to the upleveling of you! Nice work, Pam. xo

  2. Nice piece Jess – useful reminder and practical too – thanks

    • Thanks, Catherine! Glad it was useful to you. One of the best parts of being human is the constant evolution/upleveling of all of our stuff! xo

  3. Very interesting. Very. Thank you. The work lies in knowing what to release.

    • So true, Neil! That’s why I’m such a proponent of step #4 — get help or seek outside council. A skilled professional can really change the game when the student or client is ready! Thanks, Neil!

  4. Thanks for this, Jess. Amazing how our lives can intersect, all of us, with a common struggle of letting go. My punch in the gut this year has been the resurgence of chronic back/pelvic pain. It’s taking a village of shamans for me, the most helpful of which has been a massage therapist. I can relate to Pam’s comments, as some of what I’m working on is how the three years at my past job seemingly eroded a great deal of the previous work I’d done to hold my howling inner critic at bay- my last months there is when the pain began. It’s a year later and things are “fine…” yet some is not yet released, maybe…and underneath everything seems to have been, or be, fear. So that is my daily work…to let go of fear, to go inward. I really like the steps you present, they mirror much of what I’m trying to do, over and over, to keep mining and uncovering, and what’s underneath, is re-membering and re-cognition of my self. The sensation seems identical (tears, a folding in of sorts?) whether it’s a massage or journaling, when I hit on it, the letting go.
    It may not always be necessary to know exactly what we are letting go of, maybe? Thanks for sharing, even in your writing I hear your physical voice!!

    • Joanne, thanks for your comment and re-iterating that our punches come in all forms, chronic pain being a big one! So true that the daily work is going inward and letting go of fear…it’s not a journey for the faint of heart. There’s a lot to keep us distracted from going there (namely Hulu and Netflix in my case;)). Thanks so much for sharing your process with me and others. I’m in awe of the work you are doing and am cheering you on from a far. Much love and gratitude!

  5. Hey Jess,

    I love your blogs- they always speak to my heart and soul! 😊 I’m a big fan of your work and you’re energy is lovely! I think/feel/know its time to let go of the same story I tell myself that I need more experience before I can go out in the world and be the healer I know in my heart and soul to be. It’s time to let go of my fear of not being good enough! Yeah I’d say it’s about that time alright. Lol

    • Heck yeah, it’s that time! Thanks so much for the kind words and for proclaiming what you need to let go of right now. Keep trusting your deep knowing that wants you to get your healing work out in the world. There are 7 billion people on this planet and a lot of us need some healing…on a lot of different levels. Trust me, I can guarantee you’ve got to be at least a few steps ahead of billions of people on this planet…so release that belief and get out there sweet lady! We need you! xx

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.