Last week I shared with you my JOY about hosting a Sweet Retreat in Tulum this Fall to continue encouraging you to find what brings you JOY and then to go for it!
This week I want to speak about a topic many of us (myself included!) wrestle with that often makes us feel anything but JOY. The topic is attachment.
As humans with needs, wants, and desires, sometimes we get caught in a cycle of suffering that results from not getting these needs, wants, and desires met. This often happens in relationships we hold dear. For example, maybe our spouse/lover/partner/beloved is totally overwhelmed and therefore not present for us. As a result, they are unavailable to meet our needs. Suddenly we find ourselves in a mind trap that causes us to attach even more to our need. It's so primal. And so potentially destructive to us and to the one we love if we are unable to see how to meet our need.
This attachment is usually a result of 3 behaviors/feelings we repeatedly engage in, often without even knowing:
1. Expectation: We have trained ourselves to expect that our needs will be met by others.
2. Judgment: When that doesn't happen, we fall into judgment- of self (Am I being needy?) - and of other - (What is wrong with them!! Don't they care!!)
3. Disappointment: When we judge, we feel let down, resentful...anything but joy.
What do we do?
Some of us close our heart. We protect our self to prevent any further hurt. The paradox here is that this won't work. It may be a temporary fix. The truth is, what we most need to do is to keep our heart open. In fact, we need to open our heart even more-- to ourselves and in turn to those we love.
How do we do it?
By practicing non-attachment to our needs, wants and desires.
It's totally healthy and normal to have needs, wants, and desires and to express them. And it's beautiful when our loved ones fulfill them. However, when we come to "expect" it, we set ourselves up for potential suffering.
When we practice non-attachment, we find ways to nurture our needs when our loved ones won't or simply can't. We learn how to be creative in our pursuit. If we long to be touched, we get a nourishing massage. If we long to be heard, we connect with a dear friend or mentor who will simply listen. If we long to be loved, we practice loving ourselves more deeply by allowing our-self to be enough exactly as we are.
My friends, to experience JOY, we must learn how to practice non-attachment. When do we: we free ourselves and therefore others from the burden of expectation; we show up without judgment; we allow disappointment to grow us into deeper love for all.
In my experience, practicing non-attachment is the only way forward to live as JOY.
Having said this, please understand practicing non-attachment does not mean we continue to stay in relationships or situations that are one sided and will never meet our needs. Rather, as we learn non-attachment, we deepen our self-love enough to speak our voice with clarity and compassion. When we do this, those who want to meet our needs will begin to show up...or not. From here we get to choose what to do, and we do it from a place of non-attachment...peace...clarity...love.
Finally, as we begin to live as JOY, we realize that in the process we have also learned the 2 magic ingredients which make all of it possible: gratitude and love.