If you want to let go of something, first you have to hold it. Unless you truly hold, you will never let go.
If you want to let go of the rope, first you have to hold onto it. Same thing with a baby, a steering wheel, a pot that is hot, or a coffee cup. In order to let go of our pain, our addiction, or the behavior (or relationship) that holds us back, first we must hold it.
Before you can let go of your addiction, your pain, or whatever holds you back, you have to hold onto it. Hold it… closely. How do you hold something closely, the thing that makes you want to numb-out-tune-out-walk-out… the thing that reminds you of helplessness, that brings back ghostly or ghastly memories?
Hold onto something that has a hold on you???
I don’t know about you, but as I read this my mind is shouting: “Hold on, before I let go, I have to hold it? That’s just stupid!”
Letting go is radical. First you have to grab onto the thing that you want to leave behind. We all want to quit the stuff that harms, but holding it deeply so that we feel and touch the exciting-allure and the sad-hate-revulsion-life-narrowing-prison?
To let go of what could-have-been, we have to hold onto the could-have-been.
It’s harsh. It’s blunt. It’s sobering. And it should be…
I want to heal
I want to feel
What I thought was never real
I want to let go of the pain I felt so long
Holding… is saying goodbye. And goodbye is also holding on. In every hold, every hug, every embrace, is a slight sadness that one day, this too will end.
Recovery may be something you want to be done with: drugs, alcohol, porn, pain, sadness, memories, shame. Before you are able to finish/let go/be done with something, you have to hold it, you have to see it, you have to be aware of it, you have to accept it.
One of the difficult parts of moving on is holding on. It has taken me most of my life to learn this. And I hope that this is one thing that I never let go. I have invested too much energy pushing my pain away, fighting it, trying to avoid it and ignore it. But it just came back and back and back.
When you learn to hold on, only then are you able to let go.
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Keep it Real
Photo by Phil Roeder