Expression and the Art of Letting Go

Tatiana Riabouchinska, ballerina, ca. 1938 / p...
Tatiana Riabouchinska, ballerina, ca. 1938 / photographer Maurice Seymour, Chicago (Photo credit: State Library of New South Wales collection)

“I’m expressin’ with my full capabilities,

And now I’m livin’ in correctional facilities,

‘Cause some don’t agree with how I do this.

I get straight, meditate like a Buddhist” (Express YourselfDr Dre with NWA)

Dr Dre said it all back in the day.  When we were kids we danced when we wanted, sung when we wanted, and screamed when we wanted.  Quickly we learned that this was not the way to behave in a civilized society.  The need for expression however, doesn’t go away just by growing up.  Either we keep our feelings trapped inside or we let them out in some manner.  There is no question that when we sing, dance, write, draw, play sports, or even pray, the channeling of our energies into one supercharged direction, releases the burdens, at least momentarily, that are weighing us down; even in tears we experience a release of negativity.

I used to reach a rather reckless high just by talking.  People called it my preacher mood.  In certain company I would become so wildly high, screaming, singing and laughing that at some point I would get the look.  The one that says, “Ok, that’s enough.”  We are all used to this look when we are five years old, but by the time we’re twenty something getting this look can be a painful experience.  I used to go into deep depression after such events, hiding under my hoody for months and not coming up for air, until the feelings had passed on their own.

Eventually I realized that if I didn’t want to experience the lows then I would have to stop the highs.  Some do this with medication, I learned it through humiliation.  I would feel so disgraced by my, always public, mood swings that I would want to hide.  So for a time I never let myself get to those highs.  And as an artist, when we feel our creative expression is stifled, then we tend to question the point of our lives.

Eventually, I found other outlets; writing being the one that I can do while disturbing the least number of people, though music and singing are also very important to me.  Almost everyone can attest to the fact that listening to music is a huge release.  It is the hum of the universe and can lead to deep introspection.

Expressing ourselves through singing, dancing, or yoga, can often lead to more and more subtle forms of release and self-examination such as meditation, where rather than expressing to the outside world, we are resting in the higher self; experiencing the peace and joy, that comes with finding that witness that is beyond the ups and downs of our ever changing emotional state.

So whether it is praying to a personal God in the privacy of our bedroom, or it is singing with our friends, we shouldn’t forget to express ourselves!


  1. I have suffered greatly physically, taking on depression at times, and asthma since age two, in my attempt to stuff all my light and joy inside. No wonder the US especially has so many people on drugs prescribed for depression, anxiety, etc. as it is just the path to suppress expression of anything more than zombie conformity. I feel this is very unhealthy. Our light needs to shine. I spent years hiding mine as it was considered too much for others. I take responsibility and learn to modulate it more, but I also feel like it is time for us to free up our society, free up expression, and let it flow, rather than dumbing and numbing it down.


  2. Absolutely with you on this one. We forget about self-expression at our peril; we allow others to enslave our spirits because of their embarrassment and inhibitions. It is, indeed, a joy to dance and sing and twirl and play a musical instrument (though possibly not all at once!) and just let it all out. Lovely post. Alienora


  3. I enjoyed reading about your expression of self. I agree that our society encourages us to be in mute. Take out a little of the joy in our spirit. It is for this reason I enjoy working with children – their ways of self-expression have not yet been numbed.


  4. Good one. Maybe that’s partly why I’m enjoying discovering the enjoyment of running (after 50 years thinking I couldn’t do it / hated it) – it’s a great way of expressing myself. Running in the rain this morning was brilliant. 🙂


  5. “you gotta be you and only you, baby”! I so do OVERstand, Sreejit! That stuff festers inside when you can’t get it out. Keep on expressing––be it dance, writing, preaching (Worrrd!), rhyming, literary sparring, meditating, supplicating, being…. breathing.

    Thanks for sharing the authenticity of your walk and journey in this here Life. Being an artist can be a lonely walk. Even those expressions need to be shared.

    Be Well…. Be.


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