Last week I was speaking with a dear friend about an ongoing issue that had really been upsetting me.
Like a lot.
However I should mention that even though in this small moment I was feeling hurt, judged, frustrated, powerless and extremely misunderstood…
In the big picture, I knew that everything was going to work out.
I could see the ultimate forest, but I couldn’t deal with the immediate trees.
My dear friend directly delivered to me some much-needed truth:
“You’re completely attached to this situation. You need to detach. Remember, you’re partnered with the universe and you need to trust that this situation is for you.”
I love a friend who can lovingly and courageously point out a blind spot.
“Really?” I replied. “I don’t feel I am. I know it’s going to work out. I trust that it will and that this is happening for some reason. It just hurts right now.”
“Yes, because you’re attached. You need to let go of how this is going to work out and how other people are responding or handling the situation. You need to let go of all of it.”
I let this soak in.
And I thought of the millions of little kids joyously and unabashedly belting out “Let It Go” from Frozen across the globe at this very moment.
I think those kids are on to something!
I am familiar with the concept of detachment, having been first introduced to it when I read Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success twenty years ago.
I thought I knew what it meant to “detach” from a situation.
I always took it to mean that we were supposed to just trust in a positive outcome and release attachment to our desired result.
But my friend pointed out was that I wasn’t actually detached at all.
I was in fact attached because I was clinging to the story I was telling myself about the situation and its various players and feeling like it was terribly unfair.
After this pivotal conversation, I meditated on my upset feelings.
I could feel how intensely I was glommed onto the situation and my perceived pain.
I was emotionally white-knuckling the whole kit and kaboodle.
I quickly realized how that when you’re gripping something so tightly, either out of fear or grief or anger (or all three)…
There is no space left for grace to step in.
And if grace can’t get in, then our pain and fear are less likely to be healed.
Many times our problems aren’t problems at all. Instead, it’s our responses to situations which are responsible for citing something as a problem.
Moreover, the white-knuckling can block solutions, goodness, abundance, flow, and other benevolent energies.
Since my deeper reintroduction to detachment, I have been actively working to let go of everything that causes me consternation, even the tiniest things that bother me.
Oh my gosh. I’m shocked by how much stuff — most of it not important! — that I’ve been allowing to take up space in my energetic life.
What do you mean we’re already out of milk? I just bought some!
I’m learning that detaching is a conscious practice and takes effort, but everything worth doing does.
The other morning I was woken up at some ungodly hour and couldn’t get back to sleep.
Normally this would be stressful because I need an inordinate amount of sleep (9 hours) just to function.
I lay in the dark thinking, “This is just an opportunity to practice detachment. This is just a chance to practice…”
I didn’t get agitated about how my impending day would be ruined, but instead I felt relaxed while I thought about how funny Ben Stiller is (he was on Jimmy Fallon that night) and I fell back to sleep.
Before you think that I might be at risk for becoming some superior individual about to be “above it all…”
I will say that I feel this tendency can be a blind spot for some individuals who actively practice detachment. They’re so detached, they emit a frequency of indifference.
This can also be kind of patronizing (though I’m no longer going to be attached to this notion ;).
To my way of thinking, practicing detachment is an individual sport and not intended to be practiced in the round.
In other words, I need to be detached from my own negative feelings so that I can create space for healing and positive shifts in my life, or “success” as Dr. Chopra calls it.
HOWEVER, I have complete compassion for your stuff.
We need the balance of personal detachment married with whole-hearted compassion for everyone else, or we run the risk of becoming spiritually haughty.
My friend happily validated my feelings, while holding up a mirror in which I needed to see.
I now feel a greater sense of peace. I also feel a greater sense of trust, because I fully understand that by detaching, I am embracing uncertainty, which is the nature of life.
Uncertainty is the only certainty.
Living the Law of Detachment is like the ultimate trust fall at Life’s Big Fat Corporate Retreat.
Several days ago, I stumbled upon a long forgotten web page in my bookmarks and wouldn’t you know it?
It’s from The Chopra Center about The Law of Detachment.
I will continue to practice detachment as I continue to learn about the parts of my cranky unconscious self that have been hiding under the bed of my psyche…
And I will — SING IT KIDS! — Let!! It!! Go!!!! LET!! IT!! GOOOOOOOO!!!!!!