When you are attached to something, for instance a pair of diamond earrings (this is a personal triumph of mine so I will use it as an example) you tend to be overly protective of them to the point where you won’t even take them out of the jewelry box for fear of losing them. You hold these earrings hostage and they never get to sparkle in the sunlight, catch an admiring eye, or make you feel special donning them on your precious earlobes. Their price has actually become more important to you than their value and thus they are wasted as they sit tucked away between tiny rows of felt.
About 7 months ago I decided that I was no longer going to hide these beauties and start wearing them every day. I had realized my attachment to their price tag was ridiculous and if I lost them then at least they got some good use. When I went into the last place I put them I realized they were missing. I didn’t panic. I just became a little confused.
I checked the jewelry box a few times over and then searched the house from top to bottom (talk about a needle in a haystack) Nothing.
They were gone and I was ok. Completely and 100% ok. Sure I would have liked to have found them but stressing about the fact that they were gone didn’t seem necessary nor was it going to make them reappear. If they were in my house I would have found them. I did the best I could. So I just accepted that they were gone and that they may or may not turn up. This appeared to be a more favorable reaction…….to which (surprisingly) came naturally to me. (I must be getting better at this disattachment thing)
Learning to not cling too tightly to materials, places or people is not always an easy thing to do. When we genuinely care about something or someone our natural instinct is to hold on tighter. Yet, when we do this we can sometimes overlook the bigger picture in life by consuming ourselves with just keeping that thing even if it no longer serves a purpose to us, or better yet has become a source of negativity.
In relationships attachment is one of the most detrimental characteristics that one can display. While you’re so busy trying to hold captive your other half you’re blindly missing out on the wants and needs of your partner and yourself. When you feel threatened that he or she may leave, you focus all of your attention on keeping them there with you that you don’t stop to think of the reasoning behind their change of heart. You center in on what you perceive as the problem instead of focusing on what they would prefer….the solution.
This is a selfish act and shows your partner (if only on a subliminal level) that your concern is not with him or her, nor is it with his or her feelings, but with you and only your feelings.
Sometimes things just run their course and we have to accept that a situation is no longer suiting for us. When you grow out of your favorite pair of shoes you don’t keep trying to squish your feet into them. You go out and buy a pair that fits. (Unless you want to severely disfigure your toes 😉)
It’s as simple as that yet really hard at the same time.
Imagine yourself on a vessel floating in the ocean on a clear sunny day, approaching a tiny island that looks glorious from a distance. As you get closer you see that it has trees filled with colorful fruits of all kinds and you’ve been starving for so long.
You dock your boat and come ashore to feast. You lay in the golden sands with a belly full of sweetness and a satisfactory grin across your face; proud of your new discovery. You fall asleep in the warm rays of the sun and dream peacefully and then awake under a star filled sky to the sound of your boat rocking against the gentle current and decide to stay a while on this island. You feel complete and content and see no reason to rush off back into the open sea not knowing again when you will find sustenance.
Days go by, as do weeks and then a month or two has passed. The small island has become a comfortable place for you but the nourishment that it has so generously been offering is no longer replenishing and you realize the trees have grown bare.
You truly cherished every minute that you spent walking or lounging about, the salt water breezes that blew gently through your hair as you dozed off during mid morning naps. The beautiful palms that stood majestically alongside others that leaned right down almost as if offering their goods like a welcoming host. The little berry filled bushes that huddled together like children in a playground telling secrets. It was a magical place and one that you couldn’t bare the thought of leaving. Yet, as the days wore on and your stomach grew loud you knew that as much as you loved this place that it could no longer serve you. For if you stayed you would surely perish. So, with an aching heart and a nostalgic last glance you float back out to sea unsure of your next finding but confident in your decision to leave your last.
You may hit choppy waters or you may sail smooth seas. The fish might be biting one day but not the next. The point is that you have to keep moving when you realize that your growth depends upon it. Even if you’re moving out into uncharted territory.
This is the discipline of non-attachment…….knowing when to let go for the greater good of yourself.