By Kristen Manieri

Rituals of Release

This week I had the utter delight of interviewing Rachel S. Heslin, who wrote the book: Rituals of Release: How to Make Room for Your New Life.

Making room. I think a lot of people have been thinking about clearing out space. The enormous success of Marie Kondo’s book and the entire minimalism movement show that we’re definitely in a place culturally to receive the idea that too much stuff on the outside isn’t working anymore.

But what about too much stuff on the inside? What about grief and regret, disappointment and guilt? What about dreams that didn’t quite lead us where we had hoped, relationships that seems to have passed their prime and projects that have collected dust?

If you think about it, we carry a lot around on the inside. And since we’re all busy picking through our closets and tossing out what doesn’t spark joy, maybe we ought to do the same inside our heads.

Rachel’s book, Rituals of Release, tackles this task exactly, asking readers to do an audit of what’s weighing us down, holding us back and taking up space. Emotionally and energetically, we all of have things we could let go of, but not with apathy but with real deliberateness and intention. Give our conversation a listen here:


  1. Look to let go of whatever doesn’t serve you or is weighing you down. What might you be carrying around that has energetic or emotional weight to it? Sit with it, look at it from all sides. Make a decision. But don’t tolerate it hanging around with no intention. And remember, it’s a release, not a rejection. There’s a soft energy of simply putting something down with ease.
  2. A good place to look is for projects we started but never “finished.” Are you carrying around the weight and pressure of their incompleteness? Is there guilt or shame in the mix? What have you made your lack of completeness or progress mean about you? Realize that’s just a story you made up. It isn’t necessarily true.
  3. Part of ritualizing the release of a project you’re ready to say goodbye to is honoring the intention with which you started it and what you learned along the way. Not everything serves its purpose by getting to the finish line. Maybe you learned something along the way you could never have learned had you not started. And perhaps what you learned was enough or it set you off in a new direction. Celebrate what you did get out of the process instead of declaring the task, the project or yourself a failure.
  4. Have a system for what you consciously and deliberately defer for later or maybe never. Have a journal or folder where you can put things that interest you but you’re not going to do anything about right now. This act allows you to release any obligation to the idea until you’re actually ready to move forward.
  5. If we all said “no” to more and took on less, we’d all of less to release later. When we commit to less things, we’re not only more apt to be focused and have follow through, but we get clarity about how our commitments make us feel, we’re more mindful. If we’re robotically soldiering on, we’re not tapping into our inner knowing.
  6. Beside tasks, projects and commitments, we can all be served to evaluate how many of our stories, beliefs, assumptions, patterns and habits still serve us. What else could you be letting go of in order to move in a new direction?
  7. Finally, let go of guilt and shame. Let go of the idea that if you let yourself release something you’re not proud of, you’ll do it again. Grieve your mistakes, learn from them, have compassion, and then move on. We play small when we’re burdened by our regrets.

A big thanks to Rachel Heslin for being here. You can learn more about her and her book at ritualsofrelease.com.

Until next time,

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