Goodbye electron, Count to 5 + Top Gun


So, here we are at the end of the summer (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere), a time when the crops have bloomed and are en route to harvest. The thing about any good harvest is that the wheat is separated from the chaff, i.e. you keep the good, usable stuff and discard the rest.

Remember our super smart electrons? They know this aspect of life: letting go. They practice it every day, all day, in approximately a bajillion ways.

And, yes, I am going to write another ode to the electron…for reasons unbeknownst even to myself…yet, this will be the end of our homage. Because this tome is about letting go… of electrons. Sniff. So you can be you and do what you do (and we can stick our paws back into some good ol’ quantum weirdness:).

Enter: the electron transport chain, an amazing feat of human engineering (and testimony to how much science has learned about the ins-and-outs of the body in 60+ years):

This electron transport system occurs in a part of your cells called mitochondria. Here, transfer molecules accept high-energy electrons and pass them to the next molecule in the system…and then the next…until they reach the final electron acceptor, which is an oxygen atom. As such, oxygen is responsible for removing electrons from the system (and forming water along the way). If oxygen were not available, electrons could not be passed, their energy could not be released, and the end result would be no energy (in the form of ATP) being produced for your cells. Which, in other words, is no energy for you… cause you’re an accumulation of 40trillion cells (give or take).


Now that we’ve got that straight, here’s the bottom line: Your body continually has to let go of accepting, light-giving, ‘hey I did nothing wrong’ electrons. It’s part of your innate life process. It’s without judgement…nothing personal…just time for them to go.

And when they go, you get energy. Nice! Kinda like how you have this one person or situation in your life that your mind keeps perseverating on and on…and, sure it has served its purpose in your life…but one day, even if it’s years later, you finally release the thought and you feel free, like yeah, thank goodness!

What are you ready to release? Now. Intentionally. ‘Cause it’s time to let at least one something go. Whether it is an old sweater, broken-record in your brain, tired partnership, unhealthy habit, self-defeating feeling…I assure you that there’s something in your life whose time has come.

So lighten your load.

And even though you and your fabulous electrons do it all the time without ‘trying,’ if you need further practice letting go, try it with a process you already know: breathing.

There may be no greater example of holding-on than how we – modern humans – breathe. Which is without a complete exhale. Sure, our inhales may be nothing to write home about either (shallow, clavicular) but our exhales are full-on stopped. Truncated. We literally don’t let go of a full breath. Part of the whole go-go-go, fight-or-flight response we regularly abuse. Think about being in a highly stressful situation – you hold your breath. Now extrapolate that through your whole day.

Practice releasing by releasing your breath:
– Find an easy seat in a chair or on the floor, hands on lap. Turn your ringers off and timers on to 2-minutes. You’ve got 2-minutes (or more, if you like/can).
– Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through the nose, and out of the mouth.
– Now let’s be a bit more mindful about it: Inhale for a count of 5 (at a comfortable pace for you) and exhale for a count of 5.
– Pay special attention to the exhale and align your breath with it, so that it lasts the whole time (you might need to alter the pace; just make sure the pace of your inhales and exhales is as balanced as possible).
– After the timer sounds, take a few ‘normal’ breaths before arising. Think to yourself (as I did during my YTT): ‘Wow, how is it I’m not so good at breathing given it’s such a basic mechanism I’ve been doing my entire life? Time to remedy that!’ And then, take a moment to thank your breath (just like you should thank the sweater/friend/whatever for serving its purpose (even if you don’t know what it is/disagree with it) before you let it go, too).

As always, your resplendent release is a boon for the world, as well. Literally. Exhales give CO2 to the trees, plants, foliage, etc that need it to live. They, in turn, provide us with the O2 we need. Amazing how the world was created wherein we give a breath, and receive one in return. So, go ahead world, take my breath away (yup, that’s your Top Gun reference for the day 🙂

Fall kicks-in soon, and with it a flurry of activity for which you’ll want to let-go of old stuff in order to create energy for the inevitable new.