Attachment is a basic human emotion. Think of the way a newborn becomes attached to her mother and those who love, feed, and care for her while she is unable or how our children become attached to their blankies or stuffed animals. Even as adults, we tend to become attached to our identities, insecurities, habits, ideals, fears, and beliefs.
So, here is the question I have for you today: Are your attachments serving you?
I am writing this from a spa retreat in Mexico, and with the space to rest, breathe, and think clearly. With this perspective, I am realizing how attached I had become to the ideal of being a married woman. I find myself looking down at my left hand, lamenting the loss of the beautiful sparkly ring that indicated that I was a successfully married woman and somehow a more responsible adult. My bare left hand now tells me that I've failed.
I was proud to be the wife of a handsome fighter pilot and mother to his three beautiful children. I have written about becoming attached to titles and identities - all of which become rocked when you go through major life changes such as having a baby, losing a job, or divorce - but never tackled this aspect of attachment. It had not occurred to be until now. I am realizing that I wasn't sure if I was still worthy of love or admiration as a single mom.
A similar release of attachment occurred when I left my job in environmental engineering. I found myself wondering if people would respect me as an unproven author and entrepreneur. I had to release those negative thoughts so I would not carry self-doubt into my new venture; so I could be authentically me.
Now, I find myself attached to the success of my burgeoning business and every time I take the risk of putting my heart's work out to share with you. It makes me feel vulnerable...but I do it anyway. I am learning to release attachment to the outcome of my endeavors. Today, I'm releasing my attachment to my ideals of being a married woman. It's a vulnerable feeling but something I know is necessary.
My failures do not define me.
Your failures do not define you.
Failing means you were brave enough to try and put yourself out there.
Releasing attachment to the outcome is the key to genuine happiness, when you are no longer held captive to expectation. It is true freedom and gives you the ability to try new things, take risks, put yourself out there, and follow your dreams.
In closing, I will leave you with wise words from Buddha:
Praise and blame,
gain and loss,
pleasure and pain,
fame and disrepute
are the eight worldly winds.
They ceaselessly change.
As a mountain is
unshaken by the wind,
so the heart of a wise person
by all the changes on this earth.
Who are you without your attachments? Share with me. I love to hear from you.