Letting Go Of Attachment
We take it hard. We pour ourselves into these things and then have a void within us when it doesn't work out. We even take it hard when it does work out, just not quite the same way we pictured it would. If I hadn't of completed a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, I would have been devastated. All that I put into it. All the preparation, all the physical labor, all for naught. I can't even imagine what I would have felt. Thankfully, I finished. Still, I didn't do it in the way I had planned. At the end, as we all walked through the 100 Mile Wilderness, a great sadness came about me. Somewhere in the boring stretches of the Mid-Atlantic states, there was a pine tree covered part of trail that I hadn't walked. It was eating away at me. I had walked over 2,000+ miles and I was worried about 80 I had't walked. My trail family had totally forgotten all about this. All they remembered was that I had made my way back to them. When I voiced this sadness, they didn't understand. It was so minute. It was trivial in comparison to all of the miles I had walked. But to me, these little miles of flat land and corn fields mattered. I finished, but even though I did, I was attached to the way I thought I should have finished. It took me weeks to feel proud. Weeks wasted feeling negatively towards myself.
Even worse than beating ourselves up over things not going our way, is when we live our present lives in fear of it not working out. Our attachment can foster negative feelings of insecurity and fear and worry before anything has even happened! We know something is coming down the pipeline and we sit there and fret about it instead of enjoying the moment we are in. How stupid of us! But we are so good at it and we all do it so much that it doesn't even seem like a silly thing. It's normal. I know I am a professional at doing this and I have seen the destruction of it in my own life. (I have recently spent a staggering amount of money on my car and it has all come straight from my PCT thru hike fund making me realize that I have to accept the potential possibility that I may not have the money to hike once April comes.)
But how do we engage in completing a goal or following a dream or building a relationship without becoming attached to it? How do we pour all we have into these things without it becoming unhealthy? Practice. Constantly reminding ourselves that attachment is unfair to all and bad for us will help us avoid it. Its something we have to practice in our lives on a daily basis. I have been struggling on many fronts of attachment lately but I think I am gaining a bit of control over it, just by recognizing it and remembering that I cannot control these things. So there is no use in letting them squaller my positivity in life.
Life has a way of working things out for us. We may not get what we want but often times we get what we need. We just have to take a close look and get a clear view of where the line denoting selfishness is drawn. Our plans are often fantastical to an extent. I mean think about it. Who really ever factors in road blocks to their grand plan of things? No one! You just deal with them as they come. You accept the task in front of you and trudge on. With time, we begin to see that the way we wanted things to be, the way we thought that person should have acted, are not as crucial as we believed they were. What is important is how we reacted or responded to what was presented to us and a healthy response is one that is devoid to excessive attachment.