All posts by angela

Burning Attachment

A couple of years ago I decided that my next personal transformation goal was to master the art of a letting go of  attachment.

Along came the Afrika Burn, I had been wanting to go for ages, and this was the year it was finally on the cards. My burn buddy was all lined up to go with me, and lucky, lucky, her sister and a crowd of her very experienced friends happened to be going that same year. They had an entire themed camp planned, they knew what to do, and the best spot to do it form, and we were invited to join. Perfect, soo exciting!

Then my burn buddy dropped me, family obligations. O..K.. pretty bummed, but I thought I was practicing lack of attachment by just letting it be and forging forward.
In a way, I was. Flexibility, letting go of what I thought it would be, and going with the flow. I would still join the others, though I barely knew them, it would be fine. Ja, nee.

See, I was still very attached to going to the event and to the idea of going with others, having buddies there, even if I had just met them through her sister. My lack of attachment looked OK for a while, and then it all fell over. The whole camp fell off the map, no one could attend after all, and if I wanted to go, it would be alone, which is no fun for me.
I was devastated!

I once went to a talk by a Buddhist monk. She spoke about a virtuous object. At the time, I had no idea what she was going on about, but I believe that it’s all about when something you don’t want, happens, and the virtue of this is the opportunity to practice your spiritual goal.
In this case my goal for the year: lack of attachment
The virtuous object: Afrika Burn plans falling down.

I believed what I though of as a lack of attachment, would mean I was open to the many ways that the generous universe would deliver to me WHAT I WANTED. Useful, certainly. But the virtuous object showed me that it also means begin able to not be attached to what I want AT ALL, which, in that moment, totally sucked.

What is the line between not having a dream or passion, and not being too attached to an outcome? How do we stay excited, motivated and moving towards something, and still be OK if we never get there?  A quandary.

I guess that  it is all about living in the moment. I won’t lie, I can get pretty attached to what I think this moment should look like too for it to be a “good moment”.  And that is the ultimate fine line. Can I live in this moment as it looks now, let go of of whatever I thought it would look like, and suck every possible bit of joy and pleasure from it whatever it turns out to be? To live peacefully in the truth of what is, rather then the longing for what I had hoped it would be?

Mastering a lack of attachment is the biggest of the big girl panties required for a happy life. When I get it right, I get to be in my life, fully present, and having a great time sucking the marrow out of it. Bliss. When I don’t, it’s all crap, disappointment and woe is me.

Does this mean I don’t dream, have exciting ideas, set lofty goals? Not at all. It just means that I don’t have to stress, freak out, live in disappointment if they don’t work out or look exactly as I thought they would at the end of the day, and I get to love the journey.

The secret to instant change

There is a secret to getting instantaneous results. If you want to make a change in the way you do life, there is a secret that you really need to know. If you get this right you have the capacity for instantaneous change, but if you remain misdirected, you will search your whole life for the answers and never find them.

 

Do you own your money of does your money own you?

Money, money, money, must be funny, in a rich mans world. Used to be one of my favorite songs when I was about 8, can’t remember why now.

What I do know, is that money and all it represents to us has a strange power over us, and is often the center of so much of our stressed and unhappy thinking.

I myself spent so much time, and effort striving to solve money issues as part of my own transformation journey. When I say the problem of money, I am talking about a fear of not having enough, of losing what I did have, and of spending UUggghhh. All the while being absolutely financially fine.

Nowadays, I am not what you would call a big spender, but at least I don’t get stressed, unhappy and uncomfortable with spending, I don’t feel icky, head achy and freaked out whenever pull out my purse. I don’t worry about where the next buck is coming from, I have become much more resilient to my own thinking.

You see, it’s not about how much you have, as I had always believed in my 20’s and 30’s. When I have enough then I would feel safe and comfortable. That is an illusion. I regularly work with clients who have vast quantities of money, (and I mean vast, hundreds and hundreds of millions), and it turns out that it really makes no difference how much you have, if you have an issue, a fear, a feeling of not enoughness, or insecurity, that feeling does not go away with wealth. You see money it’s self cannot solve the problem, since the problem was never created from money or a lack thereof. That has been always been an Illusion.

Recently I came across a book called “The Illusion Of Money” by Kyle Cease.  It was only $4.99, so I bought it (haha). I was working with 2 clients at the time, both extremely  well off business men, both with money issues they were looking to solve, and I wondered whether there may be some additional insight in Kyle’s book that I had not considered before.
He speaks about thought and beliefs in the 3 principles way, so he was preaching to the choir as far as I was concerned. Towards the end of the book he proposed an exercise. “don’t go on until you have done this exercise” he wrote, so I sat down and did the work one beautiful December morning, on a stunning deck on a hill overlooking the sea at Hagga Hagga in the Eastern Cape. I mean really, if you are going to sit down and meditate on something, this is the spot!

The exercise was to write down all the things you think you own, and consider whether you own them or in fact, if your grasping attachment to owning and keeping them, means that they own you.

Well now, I thought that I was pretty much done with me own issues around money, but I could still blithely say, oh ja sure, everything owns me, which is what most people say when I suggest they do this exercise for themselves.

When I sat down to do the exercise, something wonderful happened. I started to list all the things that I thought I owned but now realized owned me by my grasping attachment to them, and with each thing on the ever growing list, 2 extraordinary things started to happen.

The first, and this was particularly around stuff, like house, money, car, business, etc, was that as I realized that these things that I hold so tightly for fear of not having or losing them, were creating a restricted feeling of grasping and lack of freedom inside of me. Basically, the thing I am afraid to lose is the thing that keeps me “not free.” in my mental emotional experience of my life.
As I began to recognize this feeling I thought to my self “Oh, well hell! That makes no sense, I definitely don’t want to grasp onto a feeling of not being free!” and with that simple insight, attachment to stuff started to fall away in a most extraordinary manner. I felt immediately  lighter, and freer and less grasping. It felt wonderful.

The second thing that happened,  when I began to explore the idea that I don’t even own my own mental health, or physical health. Don’t think I am exaggerating, last year a woman I know died at age 47, with no previous illness, just sat down and died from an brain aneurysm. This year, my husbands office manager 52 years old fell over dead in the supermarket in, boom! These women were more or less my own age! Yikes. Right now the various parents and aunties are hitting old age and deteriorating fast. One is developing dementia at a hectic pace, one is very wobbly on her pins and never feels quite right with blood pressure and stomach issues, and another has chronic pain, to say nothing of the 2 dead dads and a recently dead uncle. Now Corona virus has hit, will I die? What about my mother, my husband, my brother?
As I considered the fact the not even my metal an physical health, or my life itself is mine to own, a strange outcome started developing.

I slowed down a bit, I started to get more present in the small moments, to really be able to appreciate the things I knew I should appreciate but don’t always take the time to.  Like the other night when I was riding home on the scooter and the sun was setting over Northcliff hill. What a beautiful moment to feast on. I thought to myself, if this was my last sunset that I ever got to see, would I be sorry I hadn’t stopped to watch a few more? Of course the answer was yes.

Now Corona virus is making a big splash and again I am reminded, I don’t even own my health, or my life, I’m definitely looking at where my attention is – bring on those sunsets, I don’t want to waste a moment of this sweet life!