Mindfulness and Letting Go

Posted by Sara Carter on June 14, 2024

Sarah Carter“To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them, in the intrinsic stickiness of wanting, of liking and disliking. It’s akin to letting your palm open to unhand something you have been holding on to.” -Jon Kabbat Zinn

At one point or another in our lives we may find ourselves facing something that feels bigger than us. We may feel so stretched and overwhelmed that we want to do anything but be present with and show up for what is happening right now. Showing up truly means sitting with and being present with what we cannot change. It means honoring and allowing our emotions and experiences to be exactly what they are. Leaning in is counterintuitive and goes against our natural instincts to run, hide, numb, or distract.

Surrendering to what we cannot control can be very difficult. It means surrendering what we want and accepting the experiences that we are facing. It can be an incredible empowering process that allows us to accept ourselves and experiences without judgement. We can then meet our circumstances with understanding and compassion.

Mindfulness is a way of responding to our everyday lives with attention, focus, kindness, compassion, and ease. It allows us the opportunity to sink into non-judgmental awareness and cultivate wisdom through each moment that we experience. We can simply breathe into or observe the moments of our life by leaning in, instead of running, avoiding or creating distraction that ultimately may lead to disconnection from ourselves and others.

My path of Mindfulness was life changing for me. As a therapist, I was driven to find more tools to support my clients with moving forward. In 2014, My brother who battled an addiction for a number of years, tragically passed away. The grief and loss that I experienced propelled me forward on a journey of Mindfulness and Yoga Teacher Training. During a meditation practice, my grief was especially heavy and I decided to not practice because it was too “hard”. My wise teacher invited me to befriend my pain. My initial reaction was “No, why would I want to become friends with something that is causing me pain? Yet, as I sat with my grief, it became more manageable and I experienced a sense of connection, empowerment and wholeness.

I love to teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction because it teaches us to bring awareness into our everyday life. It supports our relationships and give us the opportunity to live our lives fully awake. My life experiences before mindfulness felt like running away from myself. Mindfulness brought me to wholeness and non-judgmental awareness. My awakening came from a place of being tired of disowning parts of myself. I choose to experience my human experience: joy, sorrow, fear, acceptance, and that life is too precious to live on auto-pilot.

None of us has to be a helpless victim of what was done to us or what was not done for us in the past, nor do we have to be helpless in the face of what we may be suffering now. We are also what was present before the scarring—our original wholeness, what was born whole. And we can reconnect with that intrinsic wholeness at any time, because its very nature is that it is always present. It is who we truly are.”

We often create our own distress or suffering from fighting with life or resisting the things we don’t want to experience. Our brains are wired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. However, when we continually avoid pain to “escape” emotions, we create a myriad of problems because painful experiences are part of our life experiences. Life can become a beautiful unfolding process that teaches us and expands us if we allow it to create generosity, understanding, empathy and wisdom. Of course, the alternative is disconnecting and or numbing to the experiences that we have labeled as painful. When we take a step back and look at our experiences, we can see the beauty that is cultivated through our painful, joyful, and even neutral experiences. It creates a whole-hearted and rich life and one that is cultivated as we move through our own understanding of life as it unfolds moment-by moment.


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