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Releasing Attachments

March 28, 2012 7 Comments

In order to stay on the path to “living in the light“, I knew there were going to be some things I would have to let go of.  I spent some time, while on my personal retreat, writing down everything I was attached to in any way.  During this exercise, I was reminded of the Buddhist quote that states “the root of ALL suffering is attachment”.  As I looked down at the long list of things, people, stories, habits, thought patterns, outcomes, and dreams that I had listed on the page I felt anxiety rising up in me again.  On that sheet of paper laid my whole identity and vision for my life!  I know the anxious feeling in my gut stemmed from not wanting to fully release my attachment to each of them.  I started rationalizing why certain things were impossible not to be attached to, but then I asked myself an important question – “do you want peace of mind more than you want  these things?”…absolutely.

I certainly can’t say I have fully let go of my attachment to everything, but I am practicing releasing on an almost daily basis through my prayer and meditation.  Even just the awareness that I’m attached shifted my perspective in a big way on some of the items on my list.  One of those items was my attachment to having well-behaved children (which I think is tied to my attachment to “having it all together”).  My son (2 at the time) was going through “terrible twos” and I was so embarrased and frustrated when he would have tantrums in public.  Yes, I knew it was a phase that kids go through, but it was incredibly annoying to me and made me feel like an inadequate parent.  I was stressing myself trying to get him to “act right” and it was making me tired of dealing with him (which in turn made him act out more to try to get my attention).  I decided in that moment to release that attachment and replace it with the following affirmations (shout out to my therapist who helped me replace negative thoughts with affirmative ones):

It is okay to ask for help – you are not the first one to have a hard time with parenting

I will enjoy myself, even when life is hard

I am doing the best that I can, and that’s okay

Other people’s opinions have no control over my peace of mind

One of the ashram members, who had lived there for over 30 years, was listening as I shared some frustrations with her about what was going on in my life and she said something I’ll never forget, “whatever has to come will come, and whatever will not come will not come”.  Simple, but powerful.  What use is worrying or doubting when you know it’s all going to work out eventually?  Has there been anything in my life that didn’t turn out to be good for me even though it didn’t live up to the outcome that I was attached to?  No, definitely not.

This morning, I had an enlightening conversation with my husband.  He is very attuned to energy and mentioned that he could literally feel the sense of calm in my body.  It was a calm he hadn’t felt in me since we met in Spain 9 years ago.  That reminded me of another attachment I had – I was attached to the idea that living abroad would make me happier.  Our time traveling the world together was so incredibly peaceful and I was convinced that it was impossible to live in America and have real peace of mind.  I used to say all the time “people in Spain [or insert whatever other country] know how to slow down and enjoy life”.  We always talked about living abroad again, and I envisioned that “one day” we would get overseas and I would get to live my peaceful life, but first I had to hustle and save money so that we could make that move and be truly at peace.  What I “got” in that moment was that I don’t have to go anywhere or get anything else in order to feel better – the peace and sense of calm I was seeking is my innate nature.  I can tap into it through making time for contemplation, meditation, prayer, and just being with myself.  Letting go of my attachments to my negative thought patterns truly freed my mind – right here and now…not based on anything outside of myself.  Wow.  Now, I can consciously make decisions about next steps (even living abroad), but I will not be attached to how I think they will make me feel.  Now THAT is “living in the light”!

The quote that appears in the picture above really resonates with me – “Giving up is sacrificing what was rightfully yours…letting go is forgetting what was never yours” – as children of God, our attachments are not rightfully ours.  Our nature (and what is rightfully ours) is peace, love, kindness, joy, etc.

What is it that you’re attached to?  Be honest with yourself.  Being in the know?  Being right? Perfection? Outcomes?  Impressing people?  Attention?  Food? Looking good?  Clothes? Negative thought patterns? Facebook? Entertainment?  Saving your happiness for later? Alcohol?  Your attitude?  Waking up late?  Caffeine? Giving all of yourself to others and leaving none for yourself?…I could go on and on, but you get the picture – we ALL have so many attachments that don’t contribute to our well being and keep us distracted from really getting in touch with our true nature.  Are you willing to let it all go to regain your peace of mind?  I know I am!  Until next time…

Keep shining!


About the Author:

I used to live life shackled by fear, doubt, and worry. I put on a happy face while navigating my day-to-day duties, but I was emotionally drained, stressed, and unhappy. When I hit rock bottom, and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I was determined to live life differently. I knew there had to be another way. Out of that determination, and guidance from Spirit, the "Living in the Light" blog was born. It documents my spiritual journey out of the darkness and into the Light. After nine months of publicly sharing my journey, and consciously releasing my attachment to the ego, I experienced a powerful spiritual awakening. I went from living in fear, doubt, worry, and stress to complete inner peace. My greatest passion has become assisting others on their own journey to inner peace. My spiritual memoir, From Stress to Peace: An Intimate Journal on the Journey from Living in Darkness to Living in the Light, is available now on Amazon and Click the tabs at the top of the page to learn more about the From Stress to Peace 21-Day Challenge, Living in the Light Retreats, 1:1 sessions, and the Living in the Light Community - all of which are designed to support your journey to inner peace. I appreciate you taking the time to visit the blog and look forward to supporting you in any way I can!