Wordcount: 907 - Category: Self-development
Diane Wing, M.A. © All Rights Reserved
I take lots of walks in the woods with my Shih Tzu, Chrissy. Chrissy has an amazing ability to spot chipmunks in the piles of leaves.
She resists her leash as she tries to go after the chipmunk, eyes locked on the spot where she saw it. The tiny creature has since darted away and is long gone, yet Chrissy is not willing to give up. She refuses to let go, attached to that one desire - to catch the chipmunk that has already scampered to safety. Even with so much more ground to cover and more chipmunks to spot, she digs into the deep dead leaves and refuses to continue the walk until I pick her up and put her back on the path.
Many conversations with clients and folks in general have focused on the idea of letting go, how hard it is, and the detriment of holding on tightly to ideas, people, and things. Like Chrissy, they focus on the elusive chipmunk and dig themselves into deep piles of outmoded behaviors and beliefs, unable to move forward.
Attachment is a form of resistance that can be debilitating, creating dense energy that leads to anger, resentment, and unhappiness. Yet the pattern is so deeply ingrained from years of reinforcement and desire that it is difficult to shift out of this way of being. This article focuses on the ways to detach from the chipmunk that keeps you mesmerized and to move forward on the path of life.
You've heard the word, "detachment," but haven't found a way to apply this important concept. Let's start by defining it and discovering the way its antithesis, "attachment," can manifest in your life. Detachment gives power; attachment gives away power. It takes a lot of energy to maintain an attachment; detachment is effortless.
Detachment simply means to remove emotionality regarding an outcome, to unplug the drama and the attachment to a particular person or circumstance. While the definition is simple, the ability to accomplish this is not.
Attachment, on the other hand, is commonplace. The desire or need to connect and control creates attachments. Deeply ingrained beliefs drive attachment and result in a perspective that seeks to validate that belief.
For example, the victim mindset manifests in anger and resentment as the individual holding this belief sees herself taken advantage of. Victim-hood is a choice, and to shift this notion from suffering to boundary setting allows a sense of control. Other-blaming serves to give away one's power. Responsibility enables one to stand in her power.
Attachment coincides with the idea of caring. If you're mad, worried, or frustrated, then it demonstrates a sense of caring about the relationship or situation. Detachment is falsely associated with lack of concern. Caring does not equal suffering. Detachment with an open heart allows for caring with attachment to outcomes. Associating detachment with trust that everything works out for the best allows a release of suffering over outcomes.
Release creates a wonderful space for new energy to come in. Yet the fear of what the old feeling might be replaced with is what prevents relinquishment in the first place. What would life be like without the distress that has become an integral part of life? It becomes lighter, freer, and happier; it allows for giving up control and all the tension that goes along with it; it promotes inner peace and external harmony.
And despite these benefits, detachment still eludes the majority of folks. To get started on the path of detachment and stop chasing the chipmunk:
1. Select a relationship or situation.
2. Jot down the primary fear/anger/frustration associated with it, such as [insert name of family member or significant other here] doesn't love/respect/care about me.
3. Then ask yourself what drives these feelings. Is it that the person asks for favors without concern for the way you feel or how it impacts your life?
4. Now identify the role you play in the scenario. Do you say yes when you want to say no? Do you play the part of the victim who is always put upon? Do you place blame on others for how you are feeling?
5. Then ask yourself what the reward is in maintaining this feeling. Do you seek sympathy, acknowledgement, or approval? Any behavior that persists is reinforced by a reward of some type, even though the ultimate result is emotional pain. Pinpoint the reward and it will be easier to identify the source of the attachment.
6. Decide if the reward causes discomfort or joy. If discomfort, determine what beliefs or behaviors of YOURS, not the other person, need to change.
7. Practice new behaviors in accordance with the situation. If you say yes when you want to say no, then learn strategies to say no diplomatically, and set appropriate boundaries.
The above examples are ones that I've seen played out over and over among hundreds of people. The real threat to your happiness and inner peace is unique to you and needs to be identified and shifted if you want to achieve harmony in your life. It requires a combination of changes in behavior, beliefs, and desires to create lasting change in relationships and circumstances.
Decide that you're ready for your life to be different and in what way, embody joyful detachment, and see what it feels like to allow your life to unfold easily as you give up the pain and drama of attachment.
Diane Wing, M.A. is the founder of Wing Academy of Unfoldment, host of Wing Academy Radio, author of five books, and an experienced guide for those ready to see things differently. When it comes to getting unstuck and feeling great about life, her 9-word philosophy is: Let go. Be grateful. Stay open. See the magick. Find out more at www.WingAcademy.com