Clinging to the good times is an expression of resistance and fear.
What is clinging? Not wanting the current moment to end. Holding on to it tightly while worrying it will soon go away.
It could be the weekend, the holidays, or our children’s childhood. It could be our current job, business success, or relationship.
Everything is moving. Like the waves of the sea, life has ebbs and flows. The tighter you try to hold the water in your hand, the quicker it slips away.
Awareness of the finite nature of things can make us enjoy them more, or it can ruin our pleasure.
Knowing that a sunset only lasts a few minutes can help you be more present in the moment and treasure it.
Or you can taint the moment with worry it will soon be over.
Every experience is fleeting. By resisting change, we cause unnecessary suffering.
Can we enjoy something amazing happening right now without worrying about its transitory nature?
I wanted to share four strategies I have found effective for dealing with clinging. Let’s get started.
1. Create an exciting vision of the future
Humans want to grow, and we live in a universe that expands. You want to believe that your future is more exciting than your past.
You are not living your peak. There are many peaks to experience in the time ahead. The way to create this belief is to build an exciting vision.
The biggest paradox in creating a vision is that you need to make your future bigger than your present without making the now not good enough.
The present moment is the only thing that is real; we never want to sacrifice it for an imaginary future that exists only in our thoughts.
But we want to have the belief that everything keeps getting better and better. This way, we can be fully in the moment without clinging to it.
2. Use clinging to clarify what you want
When you find yourself clinging, use that information to clarify what you want.
Take my current house in Costa Rica, for example. I love it. I can feel worried that we have only signed a one-year lease. Or, I can write down everything I love about this house and clarify the non-negotiable characteristics I want my homes to have from now on.
When you find yourself holding too tightly to your weekend or your holidays, there may be some things you need to change in your work life. Take clinging as your sign to start clarifying what you want and making some changes.
3. Embrace change as an opportunity for adventure and growth
Change is inevitable, but it does not have to be a bad thing.
Yes, our kids will get older, and our relationship with them will change. But that does not mean it will become worse. It is up to us to make it better.
Clinging hides fear, and fear will always hold us back.
Think about life as levels on a video game. There is always a higher level. It comes with its own challenges and fun. It would be boring to keep replaying the same level, no?
You cannot avoid change, but you can embrace it as an opportunity for adventure and growth. Trust yourself to extract pleasure or learning from every moment.
4. Experience each moment without comparison
Whether we resist the present moment or its fleeting nature, we do not accept reality. We use our thinking to create suffering instead of being fully present in our experience.
Clinging to the present means we compare the moment with the past and the future, and we find it superior. Like finding being in a Sabbatical better than the before or after.
It is like having a favourite amongst our kids or employees; it never works well.
A solution is to embrace each moment for what it is, with no judgment.
When you want to release judgment about your experience, pretend you are a scientist or a documentary creator.
Scientists or documentary creators want to capture reality in its most accurate form. They do not resist it. They do not judge it. They accept it.
Stop clinging to the past
Often, we cling not to our present but to our past. To the good old times. It happened to me with yoga. I learned yoga in Thailand, and it was incredible.
Listening to the sounds of the jungle. Seeing butterflies. With teachers who approached yoga as a spiritual act.
When I came back to London, I did not like the yoga studios with their walls. I did not like the noise of the cars. The teachers appeared too transactional and technical.
So, I gave up yoga.
Only years later did I realize that by clinging to my Thai yoga experience, I had disconnected myself from yoga entirely. I committed to signing up for yoga again and stop comparing everything to yoga in Thailand.
Perhaps not surprisingly, when I let go of expectations and opened myself to experience what is, it was so much fun.
My neighbourhood studio had changed venue, a bit further away from the noise of the cars. And my new yoga instructor was terrific.
Once I let go of comparisons, I could enjoy the moment for what it was.
What good things from your past are you clinging to? How is that holding you back from fully experiencing the present?
Every sunset, every wave, and every fleeting moment is a reminder that life is transitory.
But within this transience lies the profound beauty of now. When we surrender our tight grip and allow life to flow naturally, we make space for newer, even more beautiful experiences to unfold.
By constantly yearning for the past or fearing the end of the present, we rob ourselves of the full experience of the current moment.
The call to action is clear. Recognize when you are clinging and use it as a compass to clarify your vision and experience the moment without tainting it with worry about its end.
Do you recognise yourself clinging to a current or past moment? Reply and let me know.
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