Put Down the Heavy Burden of Worrying

Woman with Umbrella

“People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them.” ~George Bernard Shaw

You could say I had a type. Most girls I’ve dated have had a few things in common. Historically, I’ve been attracted to dark-haired deep thinkers—old souls with just a tinge of sadness in their eyes. Emotional pain is a sign of character.

There is nothing like looking into a woman’s eyes and exploring decades (if not centuries) of wonder and worry hidden beneath a stoic, classic composure. There is an attractiveness to being slightly worn down by the road.

But Jane was different. Jane was light.

Is it better to date someone similar to you, or do opposites attract? Jane and I were an experiment in opposites.

In conversation I have a tendency to wade through heavy philosophical banter. Where is America heading? If there is free will, why do individuals lean toward conformity? What is the meaning of life?

But Jane merely laughed and changed the subject. She was absolutely free, and had the singular objective of living each day to the fullest. Without trying, Jane innocently pushed me outside my comfort zone into a place far sunnier than I was accustomed to being.

My thoughts couldn’t be burdensome with Jane because she didn’t speak my common language of doubt and regret. She shed light on every dark corner my mind would wander.

The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

Having been born on the frozen tundra of Minnesota, a place molded by practical values and a sense of solemn responsibility, I had been conditioned to see life as something heavy.

Maybe it’s the infamous winters, or an unspoken guilt still lingering from the 1860’s Sioux massacres, or maybe it’s the perpetual bad luck of the Minnesota Vikings. Whatever the origins of the struggle, the attitude is clear—too much fun is not to be trusted. We hold our worries close to our chest.

Jane made me rethink everything. For her, having fun was life’s highest virtue. Problems brushed off her like breeze off a tulip. The ease with which she lived didn’t make sense to my ego.

“Life is hard,” my ego would say. “There is so much I need to worry about. What if I run out of money? What if I lose my job? What if people think I’m stupid? My burden is heavy. I can’t take life lightly because if I put my guard down everything will fall apart. I need my problems. Having burdens validates my existence.”

Whenever my ego started pontificating about life’s hardships, I heard Jane’s polite rebuttal.

“Stop being so dramatic,” she would say. “You invent problems to justify your heaviness. But heaviness itself is the problem. Let go of the weight you are carrying. Life is a story we tell ourselves. So make the story good. Nothing—and I mean nothing—is serious enough to sacrifice the enjoyment of the present moment.”

Burden is a choice. Sure, problems come and go. But it’s our reaction to these problems that defines us. We can take problems heavily or we can take them lightly. Heaviness won’t make your problems easier; it will make them harder. Lightness sets us free.

Life is a roller coaster. Once you are strapped in, you’re off. You can either tighten up and be miserable during the process of life, or you can let go and enjoy the ride.

Stop Making Sense

“I dance for no reason. For reason, you can’t dance.” ~Saul Williams

I think too much. In fact, most people I know think too much. Human intelligence, as amazing and useful as it is, has a dark side. When we over-think life, we create narratives that cut ourselves off from the true north of our higher self.

You are not your thoughts. You are the consciousness from which your thoughts arise.

The smoke and mirrors of mental analysis make us miss the great connection of consciousness surrounding us. We can’t see the forest because we’re fixated on the bark of a single tree. Maybe this is a universal consequence of the ego. Or maybe I just know a lot of nerds.

The reality of consciousness goes beyond logic. What does this mean? It means that every person has an energetic vibration. The energy we radiate communicates more deeply than our actions and words.

Your very presence is a vibrational state that communicates with everyone around you, openly and honestly, as effortlessly as oxygen from a plant. Try as you may, you can’t hide it.

Is your energy heavy or light? A heavy vibrational state is draining. Light vibrations uplift.

Heaviness repels synchronicity. Lightness attracts.

Heaviness is the glorification of self because taking life too seriously makes the ego feel important. But by placing your own concerns on a pedestal, you isolate yourself from others and become separated from the whole of existence.

“Smart people are not happy,” the ego says. “When you analyze life, there are too many rational reasons to be concerned. The infrastructure of society is crumbling. The wealth gap is at an all time high. How can I simply let it all go and enjoy my life?”

“Burden is a choice,” the higher self says. “Sure, there are problems. But taking problems too seriously only makes them worse. Is it logical to let go of worry? Not always. But dancing is also not logical. When you dance, you choose to value experience over the logical implications. We dance for no reason. But once we begin, the rhythm clicks. It all makes sense.”

Of course, not every experience in life should be taken lightly. When facing tragedies such as illness, injury, death, and addiction, a serious approach should be taken. Sometime we need help from others, and it’s important to acknowledge when this is so.

But in the course of daily life, life tends to come to us more easily when we come to life more easily.

If It’s Heavy, Put It Down

When the student is ready, the teacher will come. Our teachers sometimes appear in ways we least expect. Jane was a teacher. She gave me a glimpse of what it means to love life without worry or judgment.

Our breakup was amicable. Our polar worldviews held the relationship in equilibrium—for a while. But the balancing act of lightness and heaviness eventually become too tedious to manage. It was inevitable.

Love is bright. When it shines on our scars we feel exposed. The lightness of being can be painful, but it’s the only way to heal our inner darkness.

Burden is a choice. When we release the attachment to our burden, the weight is lifted. All too briefly, Jane showed me how to rise above the heaviness of life. And I’m still learning how to remain there.

On our last night together, I rolled over in bed and finally asked her the question I had been thinking for months. “Your life is effortless,” I said. “How do you float the way you do?”

Jane laughed. “Because I take myself lightly,” she said.

Woman with umbrella image via Shutterstock

About James McCrae

James McCrae is an author, strategist and creator of Sh#t Your Ego Says, a website with simple strategies to overthrow your Ego and become the hero of your story. An award-winning strategist and creative director, James helps businesses and individuals turn imagination into results and make work that matters. Learn more at

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