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Improve Your Life with These Lessons From Netflix’s Dark

It is relevant to everyone whether you watched the series or not

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Decluttering My Way To Minimalism (A girl can dream!)

This week I decided to start getting rid of things in my apartment. I have this dream of one day immersing myself into minimalism, but not…

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A Story to Remember

An unforgettable story about letting go

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

Two words which do not exist in our dictionary anymore — Let Go.

From the memories of our ex-flames to our doltish past mistakes, we carry so much of our past into our present. More often than not, we do not leave any space or scope for really living our present moments, let alone building experiences or memories for our future. We have taken the practice of “mindfulness” quite literally, haven’t we?

As we move forward, this mammoth baggage of our past only keeps getting heavier. This reminds me of one of the most insightful Zen stories about two monks and a woman.

Two monks were travelling together when they came across a river with a strong current. There, they beheld a young helpless woman attempting to cross the river. On seeing the monks, the beautiful woman approached them, and sought help to reach the other side.

The monks, befuddled, looked at each other and remembered the vow they had taken to never touch a woman.

It was a real Sophie’s choice for the monk — do they help the woman or do they revere their sacred vow?

Without any ado, the senior monk picked the woman, crossed the river while carrying her, and put her down gently upon reaching the other side. The younger monk, albeit startled, did not say anything and quietly joined them in crossing the river.

As the monks moved on in their journey, hours passed and there was no sign of any communication between them. But then suddenly, the junior monk could not hold it anymore.

“Why did you carry that woman when you know as monks, we are under a vow to never touch women?”, he asked in distress.

To this, the senior monk replied, “Well, it has been hours since I put her down, why are you still carrying her?”

I keep reminding myself of this beautiful story whenever I am stuck in the labyrinth of my past. If I hold on to my past guilt, anger, resentment, or other negative emotions, I will only hurt myself and nobody else.

Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. — Carrie Fisher

The present is the only tense that exists. There is a reason why it is called ‘present’, it is no less than a gift.

NOW is all we’ve got
You can either sulk
Or let go of your fraught
Let’s give this a thought
And let our minds shift
To the present, our precious gift.

Photo by Joanna Nix-Walkup on Unsplash

A Story to Remember was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Transcendental Forests: The Trail — An Invitation to Let Go

It’s June. Follow the Trail. All the Way to the Moon!

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Hiding In The Shadows

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I Can’t Let You Go, George

I can’t close my eyes anymore
Because every time I try
I see the hard grey concrete under me
Reaching up to smash my face

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Why We Should ‘Let It Go’

How I learned to stop obsessing over life, love and work

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Why is it difficult to let go?

A discussion — our attachment to the past.

view outside a window at a parking lot and the sky
photo by the author

If you have watched the TV show How I Met Your Mother, you might be able to recall this quote from Ted Mosby:

‘We are going to get older whether we like it or not, so the only question is whether we get on with our lives, or desperately cling to the past.’

Learning to let go of the past seems to be a problem for a lot of people (myself included), and it appears that many of us are desperate to know how to do so…

screenshot by the author

…and these are just a few of the numerous articles online telling us ‘how to let go’. Now, I know this might seem like one of those articles as well. However, I will not be giving you any solutions to solve the problem of clinging to the past, because (in all honesty) part of me is also trying to figure this out. What I will be giving you, though, is some information about why it is difficult to let go in hopes of the possibility that it could help you (or someone you know who is struggling with this) to better understand the cause of this reluctance to move on — I believe that to truly fix a problem, you need to identify the root cause and target that first before you can truly improve.

At this point, I have to clarify a two things. Firstly, when I mention ‘the past’, I am referring to either a past period of time in a person’s life, a person an individual associates with their past, or an event from their past experiences. Secondly, I am not a professional in psychology or any of the related fields — I am merely expressing my own thoughts and theories on this topic (which I have spent too many days pondering on). However, I hope that this will provoke some thought and consideration, and perhaps provide you with more ideas and insight on this topic.

With that being said, let’s “move on” and begin to look into this, shall we?

An Attachment With The Past

Ask yourself this: Who do I not want to let go from my life? Perhaps it’s a family member or a friend or a partner. One reason to explain why we want these people in our lives is because we have an attachment to them — we enjoy their presence or have created close bonds with them, which is usually something that we would like to hold onto. Childhood attachment is the ‘enduring emotional closeness which binds families in order to prepare’ them for ‘independence and parenthood’. So as humans, ever since childhood, we are inclined to form attachment with others. We can also form an attachment to particular objects or places. And, I believe, that we can have an attachment to the past as well — especially if it makes us feel comfortable.

For whoever the person or people you thought of just now, I assume that you would feel quite comfortable and safe being around them, right? Well, this too is a feeling that many of us feel about the parts of our past we cling to. This leads me to my next point…

The Fear Of The Unknown

There is a proposed theory in psychology which is ‘the fear of the unknown may be a, or possible the, fundamental fear’ — the ‘fear to rule them all’. What this means is that all of our fears — for instance fear of heights, fear of the dark, fear of being alone, and so on — stem from the ‘the fear of the unknown’.

As mentioned earlier, we have an attachment with our past because it is familiar to us, which brings senses of comfort and safety. If people have to let go of ‘the past’, which they have become so familiar or accustomed to, it deprives them of the ‘safety’ and ‘comfort’ they once had. When moving on from the past — and being forced to face with a future in the absence of what they once possessed — it puts people in a position of unfamiliarity, or the unknown.

And thus, clinging on to the past could be a coping mechanism which we use in order for us to avoid the ‘unknown’ — to avoid the fear of the unknown.

Maybe you want to go back to a job you recently quit, or you want to rekindle a past relationship, or maybe you want to reconnect with that “friend” who deeply hurt you, or maybe you are dwelling on a certain a moment in your life that you can’t withstand your own mind from thinking of. Whatever it is, it might be a good idea to question your thoughts: do I truly want to keep these things in my life? Or am I just afraid of the unknown?

Letting go can be difficult, but questioning yourself and your feelings can help you to find a reason for your thinking and to give you a direction of what actions to take next. Is this reluctance to let go because you subconsciously know that you are meant to recover these aspects of your past? Or are they doing you more harm than good, and you are scared to let go?

Therefore, to those struggling to let go of the past, I would like to leave you with another Ted Mosby quote:

‘You can’t cling to the past, because no matter how tightly you hold on, it’s already gone.’

More by marz20k in ILLUMINATION

Why is it difficult to let go? was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Letting Go — A Haiku

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