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.