What Mel Did
What Mel Did - woman beach with red balloon

Resentments and red balloons

This week I’ve been practising letting go (again). You know, the coulda, woulda, shouldas we all have in our kit bag as to why life is unfair, and the ‘if onlys’ which would make the whole thing just that little bit better.

I have a situation which has been getting me down for a while, but then one day this week I opened my bag of words and it was empty. There were no words in any combination I had to give, or wanted to give, to ‘it.’ The coulda, woulda, shouldas felt heavy and, well, just bloody tiring.

What if I could just let the thing go – the way I had been taught years ago by someone cleverer than me?

This practise of letting go is, of course, rich from someone who has a Masters in holding a grudge.

I recall a fight with Bronnie about who knows what on a day when we had planned a big dinner party. However, the other thing I am good at is putting on a good show.

So, with people in the house eating and imbibing, it would not have occurred to me to embarrass Bronnie by giving him a public cold shoulder, speaking to him in clipped tones – or pouring beef bourguignon down his Brooks Brothers shirt front before setting light to it. No, we were the delightful, entertaining and witty couple people had given up their Saturday evening to come and hang with.

We eventually closed the door on our last guest in good humour and bonhomie when Bronnie turned to put his arm around me. No doubt en route to pouring us both a whiskey before sitting in front of an open fire to dissect our lovely evening.

“Sorry, you talking to ME? I hissed.”

And it would be at least a week before Bronnie was back in my good books again, never mind the two of us back on the same page. To his credit, he did try to bury the hatchet more than a few times, but took it away again when I threatened to bury it in the back of his head!

No, not good. I didn’t say it was good.

Back to this week, I turned to something which has stood me in good stead for a while now when I find myself trapped inside hot resentment.

I visit one of my three favourite beaches (either physically or mentally).

Because I go indecently early, it is deserted as I walk along with a deflated red balloon. At the water’s edge, I put that ‘thing’ which is stressing me into the red balloon and inflate it with big breaths before I tie it off. I hold that now full balloon skywards and just let it go. Let it go to where I know not.

That last bit is pivotal for me, since I am better at resolving issues faster when I understand thoroughly the motives and circumstances on how I/we got there.

My teaching, however, was that I could let go of something without understanding it.

Not understand a damned thing about the whys and wherefores or what the protagonists and players were thinking.

Who knew?

I could just decide.

Decide to let go and that would be it.

Lord, the freedom.

I did that again this week and cleared a situation out from the attic in my head.

Because it is indeed a truism – the more shit we stuff into that attic, the more difficult it is to find the things that matter when we go looking for it in that overstuffed, dusty and crowded room full of hurts and resesentments.

The situation this week coulda been different, and it woulda been different had people behaved with more grace (me included) and, indeed, it shoulda been different.

But it wasn’t… and that turned out to be perfectly okay before I sent it on its way in a red balloon.


  • But is it really gone or just dealt with for now? If yes, I’m going out to buy some red balloons tomorrow. I find little instances suddenly come back to me and make me angry even 10 or 20 years later. Mostly I’m angry at myself for not handling it more satisfactorily at the time. And then I find my head in the back of the fridge looking for something to eat. Strange that.

    • For me, yes. Even if I think about a situation which was sent away in a red balloon, the power to make me angry or hurt me is gone. We all have a ‘thing’ that works for us and this is definitely mine. The also not having to understand before letting stuff go is also very powerful for me (for instance stuff we couldn’t fathom in childhood because we did not yet have the maturity to work out.) Do let me know if you try the red balloon. PS: doesn’t have to be red! ?❤️ Mx

      • I’m allergic to latex so balloons are out for me. I once read that you can write a reference to the event on a piece of paper and burn it for the same effect. I once kept some paper napkins given to me by an old boyfriend. I kept a candle alight for him for years and then I burnt the napkins, ceremoniously. I don’t know if it was this exorcism that did the trick but I did stop thinking about this man and I met someone else very soon afterwards.

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