Attachment, or rather non-attachment has been a theme lately, so I thought I would take the hint and make it today’s topic.
Whenever I talk to someone about letting go of their attachments to outcomes, to things, etc., the first idea that comes into people’s minds is that to exercise this non-attachment, they must be detached, not emotional, passionless. The second thing that comes to mind for most people is to focus on letting go of only the negative things in life. But neither is quite right.
The idea behind non-attachment is to release all the excess stuff in our lives and be able to fully experience the moment we are in. It’s important, so I will say it again. By releasing your attachment to something, you are able to experience what you are doing more fully.
My favorite example of this is Mythbusters. Why? Because when they experiment, they offer up what they think the outcome will be, and then accept the result no matter what happens; whether the myth is confirmed or denied, the results either meet their expectations or come out vastly different. And how does non-attachment come in to play? It is relevant because they are excited whether they are right or wrong. They get into the myth wholeheartedly and run with it until they come to a conclusion (and generally blow something up – boom).
What can be taken from their example? First: Lessons can come from anyone anywhere. Second (and more on topic): Do what you are passionate about without staking your happiness on an outcome. If you love to bike, bike for as long or as little as you like without worrying about how far or fast you went this time in relation to last time or whether or not others are going faster or further.
Adding those attachments (comparisons) to the outcome puts pressure on us. And this pressure robs us of the enjoyment of what we’re doing. It takes our focus off our present experience and puts our focus on others, the future or our performance. I find my enjoyment of things starts to diminish when that happens. My interest in that activity likewise starts to dwindle.
However, when I’m doing things for fun, for right there in the moment, I’m free to explore and enjoy what I’m doing to the fullest; with passion.
It sounds simple enough to just let go and have fun. So give it a try. Pick your favorite activity. Give yourself all the time you need (don’t schedule anything after the activity) and give yourself time to transition into it from whatever you were doing before. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll just finish putting the laundry away before you start, but rather allow some time to move away from the laundry and into this gently.
Now have fun. Whether it is the best time you have ever had or it is a total train wreck! Remove all expectations of what you think you should experience and just go with what is happening now. And if you do find yourself chasing the shoulda-coulda-woulda’s, take a step back…breathe… don’t judge, and let go.