“Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.” ~ Simone Weil
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about attachments (and yes, the song by EnVogue that inspired the title has been running thru my mind all week!) I’ve examined them in my own life and have discussed a few with friends. In considering the topic, I’m finding a number of common threads in all of my blog posts, most notably: freedom. I talk a lot about freedom in the form of freeing ourselves from our worries, negative thought patterns, destructive relationships and other forms of attachment that hold us back from reaching our true potential.
What are your attachments? That’s quite a loaded question indeed. In the true Power, Strength, Grace fashion, I think the best way to examine attachments is to break the task down into smaller parts; simplicity is key. Working from the quote above, start by examining your illusions and reality, and then find a way to detach.
1. Identify Your Illusions. This is no Wikipedia connection, but let’s say that illusions and perceptions are interchangeable. Do you hold any illusions? Do you perceive your life, yourself, current situation differently from reality? Do your friends and family tell you this? Some of us are blessed with blessedly honest friends and family members who point these things out to us. Try to ask yourself some questions, such as: Do I fixate on negative events? Do I see my life as messed-up? Do I hold on to some idea of what should be rather than what is?
Think about one or two attachments you would like to change. For example: “I repeat patterns in work situations, and hold myself back from my own success” or, “I am consumed with getting rich” or, “I have two closets full of clothes I never wear, yet don’t/won’t get rid of anything.” Whatever your attachment is, give it some thought, put it into words and try not to obsess. Once you have identified it, put it on the back burner for a while and move to the next task, looking at and defining your reality
2. Define your Reality. You’ve examined your illusions, have named a couple of attachments you want to work on, so what is your reality? What does your life really look like? To help you view yours, I’ll share mine. My reality, I believe, is that my life is coming together, the path continually unfolds, and I am learning, growing and sometimes struggling. I have a good life that is not always easy, but it is fulfilling. I am happy, mostly balanced and have the distinct pleasure and honor of being a mother to two wonderful children who amaze and challenge me daily.
Can you write out your reality? For some, this is a monumental task, and understandably so. If it’s overwhelming, break it down to get to the finished product. First, write a list of positive things in your life (good job/career, supportive partner, comfortable home.) Next, make a list of the “real” attributes (sometimes hard, challenging relationships, struggling financially, etc.) Finally, write it out similar to how I wrote above. This is a note to self, so make sure you are honest and open with yourself. Nobody has a perfect life that is full of sunshine and lollipops, but try to write with positive a positive spin, even the things that are difficult that you’d like to change. Write this in a journal, or on a dated piece of paper you tuck away somewhere you will be able to find it again
3. Detach: change the message you play. Start by telling yourself something positive. It doesn’t have to be related to any attachment you have. Just be positive, loving and nurturing toward yourself. If you are struggling, write down a few things that you think you are good at and create an affirmation from what you have. One example: “I am very good at gardening.”
Break it down a little more. Besides garden tools and the outdoors, what else is needed for gardening? Passion, creativity, commitment (to your home, outdoor space, environment) and endurance/strength. Now can you create a positive message? Perhaps a positive affirmation: “I am passionate, creative, committed and strong.”
Before moving on to the finished product, notice that I did not have you write down your attachments and patterns. I want you to stay focused on the positive. You know that you want to change something in your life, and you do not need to be reminded, in writing, of where you are struggling. You have written down a positive message in the form of an affirmation.
Repeat this affirmation to yourself several times a day, create the mantra password, as I shared in my post on empowerment and keep this going every day for a week. At the end of the week, give your reality some thought. Is it different? Keep going for another week, and think about your reality again. Is it different? Continue until a month has passed and you’ve gotten to the point where you hardly think about the words in the affirmation (behavioral experts agree it takes about two weeks to a month to create a new habit, so positive thinking takes time if negativity has been your habit.)
After one month has passed, write down your reality as you see it that day. Dig out the original paper, or refer back to the journal where you wrote your reality a month ago and see if it has changed. Do you feel differently now about your reality?
By changing the message you tell yourself, you can change your entire perspective, and begin to free yourself from attachments. As you begin to detach from perceptions, illusions and expectations, you will begin to see yourself differently, and on seeing yourself differently, you may begin to view each situation as an opportunity for growth, learning and creating forward momentum.
Remember that life is one big process and changing everything at once is unrealistic. You are always growing, learning and moving forward. You are creating a positive and healthy existence by being thoughtful, and by treating the “glitches” you encounter not as obstacles, but as opportunities.
I wish you the best as you continue in this wonderful adventure of life. Some days are harder than others, but if you look for the potential in each situation, your day might be a little sweeter, a little more manageable; that is a beautiful thing.
Blessings. Gratitude. Love.