Letting Go is Easy; it’s Staying Present that’s Hard.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Aug 29, 2013
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This isn’t a blog about letting go (don’t worry, Waylon)—it’s an article about staying present.

Through challenge and adversity.

Through trials and errors.

Through joy and elation.

Because most of us check out.

We check out when we have that yummy glass of wine after a long day.

We tune out when we turn on our television sets.

In short, most of us spend much of our lives figuring out ways to escape our realities, because life is hard—it’s often difficult to stay in the present moment, because much of life requires work, effort and pain in order to learn lessons and to get through to something better.

Okay, so maybe letting go isn’t completely a breeze, but why should it be?

Those experiences and moments that caused you internal discomfort, like guilt and remorse, helped shaped you into the person who you are sitting and reading this—and how do you let go of you? Or, perhaps more importantly, why would you want to?

Because I might check out when life gets overwhelming, but I like me.

I like the person who my life has made me into, even if I know how far from perfect I am and even if I have plenty of times when I would do things differently now than I did then.

And why are we so obsessed with letting go?

It’s crap: whoever told you that you need to stop accessing uncomfortable and painful parts of your life and of yourself lied to you. No, you need those things too.

You need to be there in the hospital room with the girl you love most hooked up to machinery and your heart falling out of your chest into a pool of teary and achy blood on the floor—because she needs you.

You need to be in your troubled relationship because it either needs to be repaired or moved on from—and that’s a decision that requires all of you and all of your efforts.

Because you can check out to get through some moments in life, but if you’re “letting go” of everything that you’ve moved through either by pretending that you need to only be conscious of the better moments or because you can’t handle those other less than ideal ones, then you’re missing out on your life—and you’re not living, you’re surviving.

And I don’t know about you, but I want to do more in my life than just survive.

I want to feel the weight of my crushing sorrow after loss, because this love brought equal amounts of awe-filled joy and peace too.

I want to know that my mistakes were wrong, and I want to remember how horrible they made me feel, because I don’t want to make them again.

Screw letting go—let’s hold on.

Let’s hold on for dear life to every single waking moment and let’s offer an open ear and shoulder to ourselves and to others after that long, hard day so that we don’t have to check out with that glass of wine (and maybe it’ll taste even better when we do sip it just for pure enjoyment).

Let’s hold on to the struggles that surround us because our world and its people need us—all of us.

So the next time you get down on yourself for not being able to let go of an emotion, thought or memory, consider instead staying fully present in your awareness of its sensation—because, ultimately, it’s presence and engagement that bring us home and into harmony and love.


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Ed: Bryonie Wise


About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


4 Responses to “Letting Go is Easy; it’s Staying Present that’s Hard.”

  1. Lily Marino says:

    This is eloquent and absolutely beautiful. Yet another article you wrote that feels like my thoughts spilled into the ether. I appreciate your writing and your gorgeous spirit. Much love.

  2. Lily, oh my, what an honor your words are to my heart. Sincerely, thank you, from the bottom of my soul.

  3. Rachael says:

    This is wonderful writing, you have a very strong voice, and what you say resonates with me too. I would add one thing, I feel that if one feels the need to check out with a glass of wine or whatever, if one does so consciously and purposefully then that is Ok, but to try and retain a certain amount of awareness of to stay connected on some level with the present. Is that what is called relaxing? 🙂

  4. Rachael, I agree. Honestly, I don't think it's "bad" or "wrong" to check out—sometimes we need to! (I'm not giving up my wine and hoppy ale anytime soon 😉
    However, in this place in time, it seems to me that there are so many ways to check out (Facebook, iPhones, texting, etc) that we need to be more conscientious of when and how we're staying present within our lives.

    Thanks for the feedback!