Let It Go, But Not Like This

So, my son regularly rolled his eyes at me as a kid, every time I asked him, “Hey, what do you think the message of that movie/song was?” Or when I asked him to stretch a bit further and imagine what someone would do if they believed and acted on those messages.

But I kept asking because I know it’s dangerous to “let it go” in unconsciously. I couldn’t isolate him from all of untrue messages, but at least I could help him develop a filter of mindfulness.

The second time we watched “The Greatest Showman,” I saw the impact of this stealthy plan of mine.

“Mom! That SONG! Listen to the lyric!” He paused the movie in the middle of arguably the catchiest and most melodically beautiful song on the soundtrack.

I turned to face him and the conversation we had [I’ll get back to that, I promise.] reminded me of another catchy song with deceptively dangerous lyrics and the reason I was susceptible to it.


The image of Elsa running from her kingdom and responsibility there…
Into isolation…
To protect those she loved from herself…
And then realizing the absolute beauty of those gifts…

The powerful, heart-opening music…
The incomparable voice of Idina Menzel…
Lyrics that mirrored the bittersweet pain of isolation, failure, and relief in my soul…

A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the queen
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door

The lump in my throat grew too painful.
Tears streamed down my face.

I, too, had just fled the scene of superpowers-gone-wrong and abandoned my business, my purpose, and my responsibility to it because I just didn’t know how to wield the power without painful consequences.

The song reflected back my pain and confusion. It was like medicine.

But because I’m a message girl, it didn’t take long for me to STOP listening, and here’s why.

I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
Let it go [go, go, go go, go go, go go, go, go, go go]

Wait just a minute…

Do you think it was really true that Elsa didn’t care what others were going to say? Beyond that incredibly emotional moment?

More importantly, despite some of the popular self-development and spiritual doctrines/values that we shouldn’t care what others think about us, is that an idea that holds up when we want to belong to a community and have to figure out how to do it in a healthy way?

Do we really want to believe that we can’t hold our power back anymore? I mean, sure it’s awesome to “unleash one’s power,” but is it ideal to suggest—especially children—that we don’t have control of our superpowers at some point?

Imagine these words, embedding themselves as ideas, thoughts, feelings, and eventually beliefs in the minds, hearts, and bodies of little girls and boys.

It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all

Sure, you’re not afraid when you’re alone on a mountain…

But what happens when you have to interact with others, which we all have to do?

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free
Let it go, let it go
Oh yeah, testing limits and breaking through. Hell yeah! Sign me up!

Wait just a minute. No right or wrong or rules = freedom? Ummmmm, not true! Breaking the rules is sometimes necessary, but they are there for a reason, kids.

I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I stay
Let the storm rage on

One with the wind and the sky sounds like every spiritual experience I’ve had! More of that feeling, please.

Here I stand and here I stay. Well, yeah, everyone wants to stay there, but that’s not real life. There are these things called cycles, and I can tell you from experience what happens when you don’t prepare a child for these. Ouch!

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
Oh, Elsa, it does feel so good to use these superpowers and create magic with them!
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around. Well, I guess it depends on whether your brain interprets the word fractal as beautiful patterns or fractionated pieces.
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past
Let it go
The cold never bothered me anyway
Let it go, let it go
I’m never going back, the past is in the past! I know the feeling, but the truth is that I don’t want to be alone. I want to figure out how to wield this power so that I can hang out with the people I love and not hurt them.
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on
I’ll rise with the break of dawn. Again, akin to the feeling of every spiritual experience I’ve had. More, please.

The perfect girl is gone. Whew. Is it a great idea to dismiss an ideal, even if the intention was about discarding the mask of perfection? It’s one thing to redefine an ideal, but quite another to send it away for good. We need ideals to guide us.

That’s the danger of putting a song on REPEAT…

If the lyrics are not completely true and empowering.


My son’s excited, I-just-figured-something-important-out voice brought me back to the moment with him, on the couch.

“’Never enough!’ She is singing out loud the words that he’s believed and felt his entire life. It’s the exact opposite of what his wife always told him—that he was enough for her.”

He smiled with deep satisfaction, because this was a question we’d discussed the first time we watched it: “Where did he go wrong?”

On this second round, we had quite the discussion about how dangerous this song is for people who believe and feel these words.

And who do you know who doesn’t believe or feel this to some degree?

“Mom, this is the catchiest song on the track too…” He shook his head, understanding the implications of people believing that they are never enough, or there is never enough.

“I say we erase this off our playlist,” he declared.

I nodded in agreement and then we got back to watching one of our new favorite musicals.

[More to come on that one, but first… ]

What is your favorite song…?
…the one that expands your heart and builds the lump in your throat?
…the one that has a melody and lyric that plays in the back of your mind,
even when the iPod or phone are off?
More importantly, what are the lyrics that you are
wiring deeply into your unconscious mind?
In a year, you may not be listening to that song at all anymore…
But the lyric, the ideas, and the beliefs, they’ll still be there…
If it’s not a lyric that calls to the HIGHEST PART OF YOU, “let it go” consciously…