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Month: September 2013

Lessons In Attachment

Posted in Heal Relationships, and Trust The Universe

Earlier this week our garden shed blew away in a storm.

Oh dear, the shed has left the yard.
Oh dear, the shed has left the yard.

Last week I left my yoga mat behind in the community centre and didn’t realise for two days.

“The wise are so totally detached,
Pain is for those who are attached.”
― Mohit.K.Misra

I’ve been playing around with the spiritual teaching of non-attachment or if you like, detachment.  And as these things usually pan out, I’m getting to experience my attachments in full, vibrant technicolour and turned up a notch or ten.

I’ll admit from the outset, I find the idea of detachment being a key pathway to spiritual awakening and a blissful existence pretty confronting.  I feel strong resistance to the idea that letting go of my attachment to people, things, beliefs, knowledge, roles, dreams and goals would pave the way to my enlightenment. And yet another part of me sees that this is true.

We are all so very attached to our children, partners, families, friends, pets, homes and jobs.  But then there are also the roles we play; daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, wife, friend, the list goes on.

When you think about it, most of us feel a sense of attachment to pretty much everything we see, wear, touch, use and buy. Do you have a favourite tea cup, chair, lamp, pair of jeans, scarf, book, photo? How do you feel about your mobile phone? And don’t get me started on our warped attachments to our physical appearance.

Heck, I didn’t even realise I was attached to my yoga mat until I didn’t have it.  The relief and pleasure I felt when I found it in the yoga room today was sort of funny, sort of childish and sort of odd. It’s a yoga MAT! And attachments can be rather fickle because although losing our garden shed is pretty inconvenient, it hasn’t really bothered me at all because I felt no real attachment to it.

So, this is what I know about attachment:

Attachment is not love. Attachment is mainly about control and the illusion of security. When we are overly attached to anything or anyone, we often fail to truly appreciate the real meaning of that thing or person in our lives. Plus being overly attached to bad or even good memories, spiritual rituals, knowledge, beliefs and concepts of who we think we are, can really slow down or completely stall our spiritual development.

When playing with this idea a few years ago I noticed that when my daughter was throwing a tantrum or crying dramatically over a minor mishap, if I consciously detached myself from her reaction and observed her rather than being immersed in the moment with her, I was able to comfort and calm her down more effectively.

It’s all about creating a sense of space between ourselves and those close to us. They are themselves and we are ourselves.  Simple.  My daughter was really upset and I was her mother noticing her reaction and allowing her to be in it without feeling I needed to be in it with her.

Holding everything a little more lightly is what is called for here.  Playing the observer rather than the judge.  Allowing what is unfolding before us to just ‘be’. Letting go of our habits of feeling responsible and needing to rescue, fix or change. Realising we are not defined by our relationships, roles, possessions, dress size or bank balance.

I am not defined by my special purple yoga mat with the lotus flower print. There, I’ve said it.

But I’m still glad I got it back, cause it’s mine and I like it. The journey continues…



Banishing Shoulds

Posted in Self-Care and Self-Healing

I received the inspiration for this article at my women’s meditation and sharing circle last night. Thank you lovely friends!

We were talking about how difficult it can sometimes be to commit to the practices and habits in our lives that we know really serve us.  You know how it is, you discover something that makes you feel happy, healthier, more relaxed or more consciously aware.  You want to do more of it and yet…..

We make excuses, we don’t make the time, we tell ourselves we’ll try again tomorrow, we slip back into old patterns.

Yoga and meditation were like this for me through my twenties and into my early thirties.  Then something changed.  It didn’t happen overnight, but ever so gradually I began to honour the urgings of my inner self and I took charge of making that weekly yoga class and a daily meditation practice high priorities in my life.

image courtesy
image courtesy

Since then, these activities have become a part of who I am and it feels more natural to be doing them than to not.

One big key to my success in this aspect of my life was realising the negative impact the word ‘should’ was having on my behaviour and eliminating it from my vocabulary.

“I should go to a yoga class” became, “I’m going to yoga this week”.  “I should make time to meditate more often” became, “I could use the time when the children are having their afternoon sleep to meditate”.

I believe that for most of us, the word, should, carries a bucket-load of negative energy and unpleasant associations.  Did anyone grow up and not hear a parent use this word multiple times a day to get us to do the tasks we dreaded or change an aspect of ourselves they disapproved of?

“You should tidy your room”, “You should do more homework”, “You should be nicer to your sister”, “You should go and visit your grandma” etcetera, etcetera.

So how do you think your inner child feels when you use ‘should’ to encourage yourself to do something that you like and you know is good for you?  I reckon that inner 12 year-old who hates hearing should, turns into a rebellious little devil and tries her darndest to sabotage your plan.  And it usually works doesn’t it.

So get rid of should and use other words like; could, will, would like to.  You get the drift, I’m sure.

Start right now.  Think of something you have been wanting to make a habit of doing in your life but have been struggling to commit to.  Then say to yourself out loud; “I should do _________ more often.”. Notice how that feels in your mind and body.

Now say to yourself; “I enjoy doing ________ and I would like to do it more often”. Notice how these words carry a lighter, more uplifting energy.

The bottom line here is that changing your vocabulary is just the beginning.  The natural getting of wisdom that comes with age, combined with a gigantic dose of self love and connection to the true self is what’s needed to combat this inner saboteur.

As you release the need to speak to yourself from the voice of a disapproving parent, the way you live will more closely mirror what your soul yearns for and your whole life will feel more free and more joyful.

Dance, sing, stretch, paint, write, speak, pray, meditate, eat and play!  Enjoy it all, for you are a child of the universe.