Are Your Attachments Showing?

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Fuzzy-Handcuffs

The open-minded see the truth in different things: the narrow-minded see only the differences. – Author Unknown

Attachments matter.

What are you truly attached to?

You will find that a lot of trouble ensues when you get overly attached to

  • a thing, like a house or car
  • a person
  • your identity through your career or special interest
  • a location
  • or an idea
  • outcomes (makes it tough to distinguish between intuition and ego hopes)

One day I woke up with someone from my dream still shouting,”It’s just a roof!”

You know it when your spirit guides have visited you in a dream, and this was one of those times.

With the statement came a change in the way I felt about my house situation.  That was truth – my actual house is not important except that it provides a roof over my family’s head.  Not wanting to live in a tent or from the car in 90 degree heat with a family of four, three dogs, three cats, two turtles, and a goat is certainly a reasonable expectation.  Did it have to be this roof, though?

No, not really.

Then why was I so committed to keeping this particular one?

Sure it would be easier to keep this roof – no moving costs or effort, no change of business address, no change in schools.  There are lots of things that I don’t even like about it, though.  Why was I so intent on things staying the same, when things were not even that great?

I was attached to the money that had already been invested and would be lost.  I was attached to my credit score.  I was attached to the idea that putting 50% down on a house and keeping a year’s worth of income should have been enough.  It wasn’t.

It is one heck of a financial blow to take for people who always prided themselves on an 800 credit score.

Uh oh, can you find the bad word in that statement? Pride.

With pride comes attachment.  When you take pride in something, it can be your downfall if you don’t know when to cut and run, or you find yourself stuck and you can’t get out of your commitment.

When you find yourself stuck, what is the best thing to do?

Detach.

The situation resolved itself only after we became ambivalent.  Yes, we needed a house, period.

Attachments are emotional debts.  There’s a lot going on under the surface energetically and pattern-wise.

You might feel that way about your car, your job, your family, or the outcome to any one situation.

How would you feel if today you lost your career and you had no possibility of ever going back to it?  If you had to start from scratch, figure out what your soul was calling you to do next, and then begin?  Would you feel that you had lost your identity?  Your sense of purpose?  Or would you look upon it as a grand adventure into the unknown?

Or a little of both?

If someone told you that you had to leave the area where you live and move half way around the world to some place you’ve never heard of let alone had any desire to go to, what does the pit of your stomach do?

Do you first think of loss?  I’ll miss my friends, home, familiar places, climate, family, favorite hangout, restaurant and bookstore?

Or do you first think of the adventure of discovery that is waiting for you in the new world and wonder why you are being sent there?

Just how attached are you to your location?

When you hear someone else announce that they are leaving or trying something new, changing careers or having a baby or leaving a marriage, it makes you feel something, doesn’t it?  Even if it doesn’t directly impact you, you may feel the impact.  If it’s your spouse, partner, child, parent, good friend or boss, that can really shake up your world.

If your best friend moves away, you can be simultaneously happy for them and sad for yourself.

Take some time to examine what you are attached to, especially the initial feeling you get in your gut, and you know what areas of learning might be coming up next for you on your spiritual path.

Sometimes we have paths set out for us that we are going to go on, no matter what.  If we throw a kink in the works by saying,”Oh that sounds great but it has to be done my way, in this place, with those people, at this cost,” then prepare for potential trouble.  Those are all your attachments showing.

Your expectations and limitations are what can gum up the works.

Truth can be a dangerous thing. It is quite patient and relentless.  —  R. Scott Richards

Suppose you are on a mission to become a writer and deliver your message to the world.  Do you have to be the next great American author of a best selling novel?  Or might you do it as a writer of the greatest ad ever, seen millions of times on the internet?  Or could it be through an innocent comment you make to a doctor at an appointment that gets him thinking and eventually, through a bunch of other people, changes the course of medicine and saves lives?

What channel does it have to come through?  Does it have to be your mouthpiece, or could you be a contributor?  Do you feel the need to receive the credit?  Or is what’s important that the world gets changed?  Maybe no one but you ever knows of your contribution.  Maybe you never even find out that it was your idea, thought, or comment that generated the whole thing in the first place.  Does that change its value in any way?

The Wedding Album Story – Detachment To Outcome

A wedding photographer didn’t ever deliver the photo album that had been paid for.  On top of that, he had said and done something to the family that the bride did not like one bit.  He was deeply dishonest.  She took him to small claims court.  Imagine the look on the photographer’s face when the bride told the judge that the photographer could keep the album.  She didn’t care about it.

Doesn’t everyone care about their wedding photos?  Wouldn’t it be reasonable for the photographer to assume that he wouldn’t have to put out any money for damages in a broken contract, he could just deliver the wedding album?

Not when the people who got married were already in the process of divorce.

That’s the degree of detachment you want to have to outcome.

She just didn’t care.  She only took him to court because of the insult to the family.  She felt she could not let that one slide.  She had to see it through – but she didn’t care what the outcome was.  The cards were all with her.  She didn’t fear any outcome.  Win or lose, she did what she came to do.

You can be present, and doing everything you should or can, without attachment.

On that day in court, she thought of the phrase, “He who cares least, wins.”  I’ve also heard that stated,”He who cares least holds the power.”

It’s true.  It’s remarkable how different a fight looks when you don’t care about being the victor and you have nothing at stake.

Eventually you find that that power is irrelevant, too.

Imagine yourself in pursuit of your highest goals and mission.  Not caring about power.  Not concerned with any one particular battle.  Not seeking out nor shying away from any confrontation.

You will know when to step forward.  You will know when to commit.  You will know when to be brave and take a stand…and it may not even feel like bravery anymore.

When you know the universe has your back…

When you know you are supported no matter what…

When you have a sense of your purpose and what role you are here to play today…

When you understand that things that look bad are not bad, they just are

When you aren’t attached to outcome

That is when you can really get things done.

What are your attachments?

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Comments

  1. Hi Julie

    Wow! I just finished writing my post a few minutes ago. It seemed absolutely perfect to now read yours.

    I have been learning to detach myself from what is, as there really is nothing I can do about the outcome, other than live each day. What will be with what is, well I will just have to accept if I can’t change it. Not giving in or up, but sometimes you have no control over somethings.

    I agree with the fact you never really know how you can affect others and all the more reason to react with the world. I have a list and am beginning to see why I am being directed in a different direction. Actually, you just confirmed what I had been thinking, so I shall have to continue on the journey.

    Things are not always clear to us and I think it gets a little foggy at times. We want to be the master of our own ship and the wind will tell us where we need to go or we will constantly be fighting against it and getting nowhere.

    Thanks for the post.

    Mary
    Mary Stephenson recently posted..Contemplating The Power of FearMy Profile

    • Hi Mary, I love the ship analogy – that’s it. We are the captain but we must follow Gaia if we want to arrive at a destination all in one piece 🙂 We work together with the universe, right? To me it was such a relief when I realized I was not in this thing alone…we always have guidance, protection, and assistance. Always.

  2. Hmm… are we hearing a bit more of the massive upheaval going on in your life beautifully presented in a way that we’re going to learn something great tonight too? Maybe so… 😉
    I still remember so much of Mike Dooley’s book, Infinite Possibilities. He talked about something along this line also–about not being attached to the Cursed “How” because that part of it was best handled by the Universe. I guess for the most part as long as someone didn’t have to suffer in the process, I wouldn’t mind how I’d win the lottery (or whatever, that’s probably a bad allegory since I don’t even play). I’d just be grateful for the end result which is what I wanted all along–to be really and truly happy, and for my family to be also. We get attached to things, to beliefs, to habits, and to outcomes, and it can give us a sort of tunnel vision. This can be dangerous when using visualization techniques too. I imagine a situation playing itself out script-style, thus I sometimes get attached to how it might play out and at times can be disappointed when it doesn’t go that way. But in hindsight, I find the lesson in it. If what I really wanted to accomplish has happened, well, I’m just happy it did. Whew!
    More so though, I find myself attached to something because of the time, energy, and effort I’ve put into it. I think “Well, I’m not getting any younger here, and I just spent the last X-amount of years heading in this direction–if it was all for nothing then I’m gonna feel like a huge fool!” This is a dilemma that people often face in situations such as a marriage that didn’t work out or going to college for a major and then realizing they really don’t want to do whatever it was they’ve studied so hard for. It can really mess a person up for a while. If he or she gets too hung up on that it can sort of cripple them from starting over because they don’t want to screw up. Society’s limited belief system up until recently has convinced many of us that there’s a time limit or an age limit, but I’m seeing more and more people saying “Screw that–I want to do this, I feel led to do this, and I’m going to.” And great things happen because these people quit listening to the ego-speak and began listening to the voice of their heart and spirit, and whomever else is helping them along the way.
    Some say it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Yes, good point. But by the same turn, it’s not how you get there, just that you eventually do, when you let yourself enjoy the adventure along the way, it’s probably a lot more satisfying and fun. Now to figure out what fits into the small stuff category so I don’t sweat it. Sounds like you’ve got that figured out just fine. Bless you.

    • Hi Ayla, This was tricky to write. Some people may just take it as “don’t care” when in fact, it’s just the opposite “care very deeply from a very broad perspective.” You have to work at things quite relentlessly while still remaining open and vigilant to how ELSE the dream may be arriving. Other times you are in a predesigned holding pattern, and if you get hung up on why your thing isn’t happening you can completely miss that this was supposed to be a time of reflection…so the thing takes far longer to get here then was necessary.

      You know how sometimes people say,”Oh well, I guess the stars weren’t aligned this time!”? We should really pay more attention to what comes out of our own mouths because it can be very telling. Maybe now isn’t the right time – but there will eventually be a right time. If you put a ton of time, energy and effort into something and it burns within you like 1000 suns…then keep following the passion. Mistakes in marriages and college majors are part of the journey, not something to beat yourself up for or feel like a fool about. What would be foolish is to know they were a mistake and stay in them. If you get out, then you’re smart 🙂

  3. Hi Julie,

    Love this message! As much as I can, I practice letting go. And, after a night of struggling with a particular attachment to an outcome, I remember “let go” and am so relieved!

    Sending this on, may everyone which can benefit read this post 🙂

    Robin

  4. Candyce says:

    Another amazing post! You are *so* wise and talented. Thank you! Lots to think about …

  5. Predesigned holding pattern… hmmm, I think I’m still sitting there in that “time of reflection” you mentioned. I’ve been working on the detaching part… what happens is what happens sort of attitude. It does make life less stressful, but I wonder does that leave us just being reactive to life instead of being active? Maybe that just depends on the situation or the passion the person is pursuing. Very good post, good stuff to think on!
    Stacie recently posted..Visual Quest – Painting Course GiveawayMy Profile

    • Stacie, Well I sat with mine for thre years, so I guess it depends on the extent of what has to happen! There is so much more involved than just our own work, but trust that if you move through it the best you can, the sun will come to shine again another day.

  6. Hi Julie

    Thanks for this, I always enjoy your posts because it seomehow sems like I’m experiencing something similar at the same time!

    I’ve just moved to another part of the country for an amazing job opportunity through my current one, I was resistant, I grew up here, I swore of never move back…but here I am. When I thought about what had just presented itself I was more excited about the prospect of something new and adventurous than I was worried about leaving my beautiful city for three months. Having to detach myself from my life was hard, but I couldn’t pass up on something new just because I was scared to let go of the comfortable life I was living. Who knows what’s next but I’m flowing with it and moving forward 🙂

    Andrea
    Andrea recently posted..Making Changes To Your BodyMy Profile

  7. I used to have a few attachments, might even have one or two still.

    But life has a way of turning things upside down sometimes and you find that when push comes to shove you really don’t care as much as you thought.
    Josh recently posted..Great Writing Is Never EasyMy Profile

    • Hi Josh, Push coming to shove sure makes a whole lot of things we might have thought were important fall away. I still have no idea how it will all turn out but it sure has been an interesting ride.

  8. MonicaMonica says:

    ”He who cares least holds the power.” I think this one came at the right time for me. Glad you wrote this. I have been having attachments to a situation of seeing the outcome. It’s been six months and I feel that I don’t care anymore. That I have finally detached myself for the outcome to be my way. Even though the outcome still hasn’t come out to play yet, I don’t care what happens because I know I have the power now. I got nothing to lose when the time comes. Thanks Julie!

    • Hi Monica, You are welcome. It is very difficult to learn when we need to let go and just trust that the universe has our back. I guess we just play out each situation as it arises.

  9. Catriona says:

    A brave post from a brave woman – thank you Julie! And congratulations on all your life changes – wow!! Much love, Catriona xx

  10. I do agree in principle, and this is a very Buddhist idea, the way you put it. But I’ve had some difficulties in my life from not being attached enough, or fearing attachment due to the fear of loss. I even have trouble attaching to my body in some aspects, which then leads to me not being able to do important things like, you know, eat and stuff.

    So I think there needs to be a balance, and maybe it’s important to consider whether something is a *healthy* attachment or not. In the case of a relationship, that might mean that you have the other person’s interests in mind as much as your own, rather than attaching with clingy neediness, etc.

    Oh, and you already know my biggest attachment, which may be at the root of the issues about NOT attaching to other things. But I’m working on that, and it’s gotten much better lately. I’ve always been one to live in a small and self-sufficient way, because oddly it makes me feel safer to have less. Less attachment means less to lose and be sad about. But we do need a certain level of attachment, or we won’t make the connections we need to learn and love while we’re here.
    Jennifer Lynne Flint recently posted..False ProphetsMy Profile

    • Hi Jenny, I must be a closet Buddhist, people tell me that all the time 🙂

      You are in a unique situation, and I am guessing that there is a degree of evolvement going on there that is way beyond what a typical person experiences. Many (most? all?) of us have those things we fear, and we won’t attach. We might have a hard time looking someone in the eye, if we have that shyness that comes with,”Oh God I really want this but I am terrified of it at the same time.”

      I’m not suggesting that we find everything unimportant – much the opposite. Like obviously I have a great love for an attachment to my family, so I don’t want to detach from them, and let’s assume the relationships are healthy ones. What I want to do is not give up my life for them on a daily basis, or disappear into them. I want to have healthy boundaries, impose discipline with the kids, but in the end be completely opens to whatever happens or whatever they choose, and assume that what is in everyone’s highest good is what is most likely to evolve. It’s like an “open to what needs to happen” mindset, instead of a “my way or the highway” one. Not sure I explained that sufficiently, but hopefully you see what I am trying to say.

  11. I think for the most part Julie I’ve been pretty good with this. As you probably know, I did lose my job back in 2007 but made the decision to not go back to corporate America but to find something else to do. At my age and no husband to support me was just stupid but it was something I felt so strongly that I had to do.

    Now I own my home and have for years so my overhead isn’t much. I don’t have much debt at all, very little, and own my car as well. I’m not what I do and I know that.

    All the same I do love my little home and would be upset if I lost it but it’s just a house. It’s a roof over my head and I don’t even have nice things. Okay, compared to most I don’t but they’re all I need. I’m not materialistic in that way, I don’t really care about things.

    Bravo to the girl about her wedding album. Although I would be upset about not having it I get where she’s coming from. To me it’s the principle of the matter and some people just need to be taught a lesson.

    Thanks for sharing this Julie, you’re always so spot on.

    Have a great weekend.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..Thankful Thursday: SEO, Security, Pinging, Google Penalty & Social MediaMy Profile

    • Hi Adrienne, You followed your instinct (heart? gut?) right into the perfect path for you. That is fantastic! I am so glad it is working for you.

      It takes a couple of bucks to raise a family of four these days, I am telling you! I am sure there are ways to do it more cost effectively. At some point something has to give or you just have to earn more. And then eventually, things change and we can find that we’re not in such a crunch anymore for one reason or another (hopefully, only good ones!)

      Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

  12. Julie, Fantastic post. I used to have pride in my credit score, but when my crappy house was suddenly $150k under water PLUS needed another $100k or so to make it saleable I took stock of my thinking.

    I came to the decision that a mortgage is not a moral document it is a legal document. Then I realized that the credit industry traps us with their continuous barrage of credit worthiness vs shame. All the while raking in larger and larger profits every year.

    I also learned to let go of the fear of being fired. I can control that only to a certain point and beyond that point I will not go. What freedom that change of mind gave me!

    Kay sera sera!

    Wicked good post!

    • Hi Darrell, It’s funny, when we finally sold our house I felt a lot of relief but that was not the reaction of everyone in my household! It’s so funny the things we think we will never have to do. It’s like a sign that you’re holding up saying,”Hit me with this!” Shame is something we could all do with eradicating from our lives and vocabulary 🙂

  13. So very true July. Letting go fo wanting something to be a particular way is the best path to imperturbability I know. And with imperturbability comes peace. Aaah. Talking a good talk here I know, and there are times when I’m still overly attached. Working on it. 🙂
    Elle recently posted..Why Awareness Should Be Your New Best FriendMy Profile

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