Be-Do-Have Part 3 (aka, how not to get stuck in your stuff)

So you want to change the way you are, the way you think, the way you show up in life…..  Congratulations!!!  Now the real work starts…..

We talked in Part 2 (be do, be do) about how “challenges” arise when you try to make a change.  Unfortunately, many times we label these as “tests” from some higher power to our will power.  I know I am guilty of claiming that the Universe is really testing me today!  Really?  Do I not believe the Universe has bigger things to accomplish today than to “test” me?

I told you about our going off of sugar and how everywhere we looked, there were ads, promotions and flat out temptations.  But they were there before we changed our eating habits.  The stores and the manufacturers didn’t put them up overnight just to trip us up.  It was us that changed.  Our awareness became acute, and sometimes painful, as we navigated onto the new way of being.

Because this is a making a change in your spiritual outlook, it’s less tangible and seemingly “harder” to keep on track.  What can you do to keep from getting stuck or staying stuck in your own story/excuses/drama?  Such a good question!

Let’s take the intention that you are going to be a kinder person to everyone, and that really means E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E, not just the people you like or get along with.  You can just about guarantee that within the first week, you’re going to get cut-off in traffic, someone is going to make several outrageous demands of your time, someone is not going to understand your side, you’re going to be pushed for time, and you’re going to have to do something you don’t want to do.

Will these things happen to you because you are trying to be kinder?  Nope, the examples happen ALL THE TIME, probably multiple times a week.  So, the fact that you’re changing your mindset didn’t bring more situations to you, it just opened up your awareness to these opportunities to be a better person.

Someone cuts you off in traffic — again.  What’s your first reaction?  Okay, probably not something we can print here.  Is there something else you could do?  I realize that non-reaction would be the best but let’s pretend that we’re not all to that place yet, shall we?  Here’s just one suggestion:  Take a deep breath, hold up your hand – palm to the person who just cut you off, and say “I bless you on your journey.”

The first time I tried this, I negated my blessing with an eye roll.  It’s a process, I tell you!  Not going to tell you that I’m a first class practitioner but I’m much better than I was!  And it relieves my stress to realize that something is going on in their life that is creating an urgency that I don’t want to carry for them.  If I don’t need to add to their burden, then that’s better for them AND for me!  I don’t need their anger, fear, stress.  I have plenty to deal with myself, thank you very much.

Outrageous demand of your time?  I am constantly amazed that when I feel that I don’t have the time to do one more thing, several more, unrelenting things are dumped on me (things that only I can do) — just to prove that not only was there time for the original list, but time to take care of the additional list.  I’m learning to not say “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time” for there is plenty of time to do all that is mine to do.  The first thing to do is to realize that either this is really yours to do or it’s not.  If it’s not yours to do, take a deep breath and firmly relay that belief to the person asking/demanding.  If it is yours to do, freaking out is not going to help anyone.  Take a deep breath, and another one, and realize that  you can do whatever is necessary.  Sometimes when things fall off of our proverbial plate, it helps us realize that maybe it wasn’t as important as we thought it was.

Have you seen a pattern starting to emerge?  That “taking a deep breath” is what is known as a pattern interrupt.  Pattern interrupt is exactly as it sounds, something that helps you break a pattern or habit in your life.  They are as easy as taking a deep breath or as complicated as repeating a mantra (which isn’t very complicated) or moving a plastic bracelet from one wrist to another.

Will Bowen wrote a book A Complaint Free World .  The goal is to go 30 days without complaining and when you catch yourself complaining, you move a purple plastic bracelet from one wrist to the other.  That process raises your awareness of how often you complain or gossip.  One of the points in the book is that our mouths are the buyers of what our brains are manufacturing.  When the mouth stops buying what the brain is manufacturing, the brain will stop manufacturing crap.  It is a fabulous process to work through!  And it’s more difficult than you think.  Most of us complain without conscious thought and gossiping is just out of control.

So, the first step to changing your ways is to be aware of what you are doing and saying.  The second step is to have a check-in with yourself — is this how I want to show up in this situation?  The potential third step (if the answer to the second step is “no”) is a pattern interrupt.  Here are a few examples:

– Deep breath (or three)

– Say  “Cancel-Clear” (I cancel those words and clear my intention)

– Move a bracelet or rubber band from wrist to wrist (I don’t recommend snapping the rubber band)

– Hand to heart, deep breath, connect with breath and heartbeat

– Say “I choose Love in this situation”

– Close your eyes for a moment and imagine water washing away the stress, the disappointments, the worries

Once you’ve interrupted your patterned response, you have a “do-over” to choose a better/higher way.  This isn’t about how the other person will respond, because you can’t control them, this is only about your response.  I tell you from personal experiences — when you change your reactions, people around you seem to change.  Crazy, I know.  When you break bad communication styles and poor-me routines, not only do you feel better, more grounded and centered, but you start creating better relationships and boundaries.

I hope this gives you a few tools to help you on your journey.  Remember, the more you practice your higher way of thinking, the easier it gets — but there may be days when you want to chuck it all in.  That’s okay….. take a deep breath, now another one…… and one more……….  try again.

Be-Do-Have Part 2 (be do, be do)

Okay, so we chatted about how you have to BE something before you can HAVE it.  We received a response requesting some ideas as to how to handle the challenges.  I’m going to go there in a future post but for now, let’s really dissect the trouble, okay?

Sometimes, I think, we make spiritual stuff harder than it needs to be and we get frustrated with it because there’s not an end point we can shoot for.  (Okay, full enlightenment is great, but I would be happy with making it through the day without thinking bad thoughts about someone else.)  It’s really easy to think “my goal is to be nice to everybody, all the time” than it is to live it.  And when it gets too hard or too frustrating to try and think in an enlightened way, we use the guilt and shame as whips against our souls.  Then we affirm that OBVIOUSLY we’re not worthy of the good in our lives, so why try.  Okay, I shortened the process here for the sake of space, but I think you get the gist.

I’m going to liken spiritual learning with something that most of us know a lot about — changing our diet and/or eating habits.pea on fork

When you first decided that you were going to “change your ways” as far as the food you put in your body, do you remember how you felt?  Excited, ready to learn, eager to seek support and more information, and maybe a little apprehensive.  There was so much to read and learn and think about that thinking about food/snacks/can have’s/can’t have’s became all consuming.  It’s all you thought about and all you talked about.  If you’re not eating, you’re thinking about the what and the when of your next snack.

I remember when John and I went off of sugar.  The first days were terrible!  My head hurt, my body hurt and I was just generally cranky.  Going out of the house was a true test.  I remember clearly standing in line at the grocery store shocked by all the walls and shelves lined with brightly colored ads for sugary items.  So, did the grocery chain find out that John and I were off of sugar and put all of those items in front of us to tempt us or to trip us up? (John says, yes, they did.)  No!  Those things were already there.  I just had not ever noticed them to that degree before.

So, let’s go through my analogy a bit more:

My head hurting — Total entrainment with my previous thought pattern.  My human mind was trying to help me to see the error of my ways and convince me that I would feel better if I’d just give up these highfalutin ideas.  Eating had come easy all of the previous years of my life, why give that ease up now?  This new path is hard and I’m tired.

My body hurting — If the mind can’t get you back, the pressure of the many will!  I’m going to equate my body to the tribal teachings (societal agreements) that we’ve all bought into as truth.  My body didn’t agree with the mind’s choices and was willing to take some low blows to make me come back into the pack.  That’s how tribal teachings work — you go against the flow and you pay the price.

And the crankiness, oh, let’s not forget the crankiness —  It’s HARD changing your ways.  It’s hard going against everything you understand.  It’s hard and everyone should understand how hard it is!!!  It’s time consuming and frustrating and …. oh you get the picture.

Now, here’s the part that gives you hope.  While the first few days were horrible, the horribleness didn’t last.  Eventually, the steps became easier to follow and we weren’t fighting against this new way of being.

Here’s where you ask yourself if we’re still off of sugar……….  I’d like to say yes, but I’d be lying.  However, we did learn a lot about ourselves and what to eat and what not to eat during that stint.  Some of the habits we have today stem directly from that particular diet.  So, did we “fail” in our attempt to enlighten ourselves?

I say, no.  Enlightenment can come to some in an instant (or so I’ve read) but I believe it’s more of a journey.  Are we eating better because we went through this diet process?  Yes.  Did we learn a few things that we’ll always remember?  You betcha!  For us, the learning is cumulative.  Each time we change our eating habits, more ideas make sense and are easier to follow.  Spiritual learning is the same way.

The more you study, the more willing you are to look at, practice and TRY to learn a better way, then more sticks with you and makes more sense to you.  One point from a book connects with a talk from a spiritual leader connects with something you hear from an unlikely source.  It starts settling into your understanding and you find that you’re not fighting against this new thought process as much.

So, understand that the challenges don’t come up because there’s a “test” or a lesson from the Universe.  The things we label as challenges were already there — we were either blind to them or we stepped into them without notice.  By deciding that you are going to think in another way and act in a higher way only sheds light on the things in your life that no longer fit in your new mindset.  They must be dealt with and released before the “new” way of thinking becomes easier.

In the meantime, enjoy learning something new, stay in the excitement of possibilities and let go of the apprehension.

Make sense?  Okay, next time — how not to get stuck in your stuff……..

Risk Curiosity, Wonder, and Spontaneous Delight!

“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
― E.E. Cummings

 

We believe in you!  You are valuable!  You are worthy!  And you are sacred!!!

Have a great day!!!gold star

Be-Do-Have vs. Have-Do-Be

Music BasicsBe-Do-Have.  Many have heard this phrase but too often I hear myself, as well as those around me, working on the Have-Do-Be principle.

When I finally HAVE __________ (enough money, enough time, enough energy, a better relationship, a lover, the perfect house, the perfect body) then I will DO ___________ (work out more, work on whatever needs to be corrected, read more, sleep more, clean more, worry less, eat better, love more often, judge less) and I will BE __________(happy, secure, free, peace-filled, loving, healthy, the person I know I should be).

Sound familiar?

This is a trap.  A very familiar, well worn, trap.  You’re never going to HAVE it all.  There’s always going to be something better, greener, thinner, prettier, calmer, and bigger that you’re going to want.  This is the way of the human mind.  And I want to tell you that it has served you and all of humanity well, thus far.  After all, we don’t still live in caves and depend on our hunting and gathering skills to survive, do we?

This longing is why we as a human race have survived and thrived (for the most part) on this planet.

But we are not just substance on this land of substance trying to rise above the next substance.  We are spiritual beings exploring this human experience.  While HAVING has served our human side well, it doesn’t always serve our spiritual side as well.

You must BE what you want to be.  You must BE loving in order to DO loving things in order for you to HAVE love in your world.  You must BE peaceful in order to DO peace-filled actions so that you can HAVE peace in your life.  You don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are!  You can’t fake out the Universe.

Yes, we’ve all seen those people who have money and success and they are just horrible people.  Seems unfair, doesn’t it?  But they obviously are not happy.  They need more and more and more to try to fill the void of who they are not.  They are driven by the HAVE-DO-BE and there’s not enough in this world to have before they can be.  So, they collect and conquer and collect some more.  It’s a trap.

You’ve heard the phrase:  Happiness is not getting what you want but wanting what you have.  (I wish I could find who said that but a lot of people are claiming it and I’m not going to try to figure out who coined it.)  You must choose happiness right now in order to be happy.  You must choose to love no matter what.  (Of course, healthy boundaries should not be forsaken for loving unconditionally.  Different topic.)

When you choose what you are going to be, you will be challenged in that decision.  If you choose to be patience, you will have lots of opportunities to practice patience.  If you choose to be love, you will have lots of opportunities to demonstrate your choice to those who you may not want to love.

I believe part of this challenge is that we have awakened our awareness in this area.  These same challenges have presented themselves many times before but now we’re trying to react in a different manner.  Just like any other new habit you are trying to form, it feels hard to accomplish.  It feels like everything is difficult and that people are coming out of the woodwork just to trip you up!  Do your best.  And realize that when you don’t act the way you wanted to, that at least you were aware that there is a better way available to you.

What qualities of other people do you appreciate?  Those same qualities reside in you.  Claim those.  Breathe those.  Realize that you have a choice to make.  Today, choose to awaken to who you want to be and then put feet to that awareness and BE that.  You will be amazed at what comes your way when first you choose to be your spiritual self!

A Path to Peace – Moving Past the Attachments.

So far in our Path to Peace series we have had a look into what an unhealthy attachment is and how we can spot them. Seems the next logical step is moving past any attachments that lead to suffering and towards a life of peace.

We have all heard the “Go with the flow” attitude and “Let go and let God”, but often we miss the actual letting go part. We toss the issue into the fire only to reach in, grab the hot embers and get burned in the process. We want to let go but just won’t step deeply enough into faith to let that happen fully.  It’s our attachments to the outcome that cripple us from releasing fully into the flow of the Divine. The Loving Spirit of God wants to provide for us all that we need and desire.  God wants us to be at peace and filled with joy!

Great spiritual masters as well as today’s modern mental doctors have professed the benefits quiet contemplation can have on the mind and body.  Master Teacher Jesus tells us in scriptures to enter the inner chamber and from there, pray in quiet.   Something almost magical happens when we enter a space of internal silence. With gentle practice we begin to quiet the mind, calm the body and awaken the  Perfect Consciousness that resides with in us and is patiently waiting for us to allow it to reveal. This is a place of consciousness where we commune with God, the Divine, Spirit, Allah, Jehovah…

From this place we learn  it is safe to ask the tough questions and get the answers that can move us into the next level of our being. It is from this space of silence that we can look deep within, and with an intention of being honest with ourselves, find our attachments and seek the answers to letting go.

Many of our attachments are deeply programmed because we have hauled them around with us for decades and they have become automatic responses and they originate from all areas of life

  • From our parents who yelled and threw anger in our direction when we did not meet their expectations and so we have learned to do the same.
  • Lack of approval from those who we viewed as authoritarian such as teachers or care-givers so we do improper things to get approval.
  • Mainstream media such as commercials that insist we must look a certain way to be beautiful and movies that show us how tough a man should be.
  • Songs we might hear teach us that we must feel suffering when we lose a valued relationship and that it is okay to take revenge when it happens.
  • Some musical expressions try to teach us to hate authority and the law.
  • The examples of friends  and family who showed us that they hated their ex-spouse so we assume we should do the same.
  • Some are so deeply permeated in tribal thought that we may be challenged daily or hourly to avoid regressing into our old ways.   “My religion is the only right religion” or the condition of Political Hypochondria that has infected our world are both good examples.

 

Day 1. Taking the first step – discovery: Here is an exercise I use. When a situation brings up stress in my life (in whatever form that might be)  I go inside and look for where in my being the stress was triggered, what kind of stress is it – fear, anger, resentment, disappointment, disgust? With clarity on the emotion, I am better prepared to drill into the root attachments.

Day 2 – 3 Investigation: The goal here is to take your awareness of the emotion and allow it to guide you to find what you are attaching to.  Being complex individuals, we each respond to our attachments in our own way, so you will have to use your own life experiences to help you in the process.

Some tips that may help:

  • Recall similar situations where the same emotional response surfaced.  What is common between them? 
  • Fear is sometimes masked as anger.  For instance the fear of losing something might result in anger surfacing. It looks like anger, might even feel like anger but something in the pit of your stomach tells you it’s fear.   Fear of judgement can manifest as anger when a person lashes out from a comment or remark they find demeaning.
  • If your anger is a fight or flight response, there is a good chance it’s based in ego.  Something in the ego feels the need to defend or protect itself so it does so with a show of superiority through aggression.
  • Sadness can be a sign of grief and grief can be an indication of loss. Look for what you “lost” in the situation and this will lead to finding the attachment.
  • Fear of loss may bring jealousy – an example of multi-layered attachments.  Fear and loss are two separate yet connected issues.  Each can exist without the other, but one can trigger the other.  Loss issues arise from attachment to some “thing” in your world and fear is based in a perceived lack of safety or security.  A jealous lover may be attached to control (security) in the relationship (the “thing”)

When I first began healing attachments it took some time to get my head fully into the action of investigation. After practice, when the emotion is discovered, the attachment often reveals itself right away but sometimes it ,might be a little stubborn and I’ll have to “sit” with it for a while. My method is to hold the “intention” to discover and heal the attachment, but I won’t actively pursue it. In its own perfect time it reveals itself.  So if the attachment does not come to you, that’s perfectly fine. Don’t let yourself get attached to finding the attachment!  Let go of any feeling of need to find it. In time it will reveal itself.  Plant the right seed, nurture it and it will come to bear fruit.

 

Day 4 and on. Once the attachment is uncovered, the release work begins.

Giving yourself permission to heal is critical.  The suffering may be so deeply integrated into your life that you have resistance to to letting it go. You may feel like you don’t know any other way to live than the way you are living now.  In other words, you are attached to the suffering that comes from attachment!

  • Can you allow yourself to be okay with not being okay? This is to say that you give yourself permission to accept that you have room for healing. Without this, you will experience persistent resistance to change.

For some it may have to begin with forgiveness work.

  • Forgiveness is for the benefit of self first. Carrying resentments and pain towards others does nothing to the other person, but instead toxifies our own life. Refusing to forgive is denying yourself the power to make a positive change – it is much like drinking a poison and expecting the other person to suffer. Give yourself permission to put down the burdens and move on.
  • A lost friendship from misunderstandings may require forgiving yourself for your part in the exchange. This is not to say you should dwell on your being “right”, but coming to a realization of how you may have handled it better and forgiving yourself for your past actions.  Once you clearly see your part in the matter, you are far more prepared to forgive your friend.  Look for the log in your eye before trying to remove the splinter from theirs.
  • Childhood related issues such as abuse, bullying and neglect may have serious effects on adulthood.  One of the joys of attachment work is the freedom to live in the moment rather than dragging around the past.  Our past prepares us, it does not define us. As our own best guides on our paths, we are free to change our minds and make the choice to live in the now, free from the illusionary bondage of our past.

You may work through the grief process when releasing long held attachments that were falsely associated with their personal view of their identity.

  • Brea the Beekeeper:  “I am a beekeeper and was fired”  –  Brea, is not realizing that the truth of who she truly is as a loving expression of the divine – a spiritual being having a human experience. Beekeeper is a job, not her true identity. Releasing the attachment to the job as her identity might be difficult for Brea as she deeply feels she has lost a part of herself.  By freeing from the attachments of the job title as identity, she is now freed to discover greater truths and higher possibilities in her next career.  The divine never closes a door without leaving another one open. Attachments can blind us from seeing the open doors that are right there in front of us.
  • My mother was an addict and I was withheld affection and stability as a child. When sober, she was engrossed in her distractions and as the day progressed so did her state of intoxication. I and a few of my siblings were born with physical defects as a result of the daily toxins she ingested during her pregnancies.  My upbringing was filled with family anger and resentment. While my father and my siblings did their best to be a stable presence in my life it didn’t overcome the repercussions of the anger.  I used to identify myself with being the child of an alcoholic. In school it served me in an unhealthy way.  Counselors first,  then teachers would give me a break when homework was late because “you know… poor little John’s mom is a drinker.”  I learned very early on that this would get me out of certain things at school. In my mind, it was the perfect excuse! Unfortunately, I fully bought into the story and gradually identified with it.  With my attachment to it, I fell further into self-pity, self-doubt and low self-esteem.  Eventually, I grew to understand that this past did not have to define me. I remember, as I began the release work, I would go through typical stages of grief – the sadness, the bargaining with God, emotional swings, and more. While I have come a great distance, over two decades later, from time to time I still get opportunities to work with this.

Like any skill, practice makes better. The great joy in this practice is that you reap amazing rewards in the quality of your life. You blossom, your relationships sweeten and peace emerges where once there was suffering.  Embrace your past for it has brought you to where you are today and prepared you for your new, fresh and exciting life that is unfolding before your very eyes right here, right now.

Blessings

 

 

 

 

 

A Path to Peace – Spotting Attachments

It is fairly easy to spot attachments once their symptoms are in your awareness.

Some spiritual teachings offer that the ego is the enemy. I see the ego as potential master or potential servant. The ego can serve us if we are willing to keep vigilant awareness to its attachments. The ego is not just the base survival instinct that can pit us against each other, but it also can be the driving force that will move us out of suffering and into a better space.  When anger arises out of ego as a result of an unmet expectation or from a word or two that offended you, or from someone cutting you off in traffic, you have an opportunity to seek what it is that you feel the need to protect.

Attachments lead to lack of compassion and understanding in other’s situations. When things become all about “me,” this is a solid sign that an unhealthy attachment is at work. We are all one with the Divine and with each other. There is no me and you, only us. We are here to work together in each other’s best interests.  My way or the highway mentalities create limitations in our lives that would not exist if we were fully co-creative with those we share life with.

Closed-mindedness from selfish attachments manifest actions that damages us, and puts others at risk for harm.  Closed-minded attachment to religious beliefs, dogmas and philosophies have been at the root of violent psychotic behaviors for millennium. These “I am right and you are wrong” attachments have caused immeasurable death, destruction and suffering.   From the basic back-yard childhood brawl, to all-out genocide, unhealthy attachments are at the root of the behavior.

Part one of this series briefly mentions the sneaky and hard to spot nature of some attachments, so here I offer a few places that I have discovered sneaky attachments in myself and others.

Argumentative or aggressive listening: Are you actively listening with the intention of hearing and valuing what the other person has to say with the same level of respect you deserve, or are you formulating your rebuttal, your argument or your disagreement?  If you are not listening properly then an unhealthy attachment to your point of view may be at work. It’s perfectly okay to have an opinion of your own, but when you are closing down to the thoughts and opinions of others, you may be limiting yourself and them from discovering together a better way to a higher end result.

Being too agreeable: In almost stark contradiction to what you just read, constant agreement could be a sign of attachment to being accepted by others, or it may manifest from an attachment to avoid conflict.  If you have something valuable to contribute that may go against the opinions of the status-quo, refusing to add it to the mix could easily be a disservice to the highest and best outcome for all involved. The key is to present it from a point of view that is helpful and constructive to the conversation, and avoid dismissing other views as being incorrect, invalid or simply wrong.  Focus on communicating in a way that lifts up conversations and those involved rather than tearing things down.

Loyalty to a brand or style of music:  Seems crazy doesn’t it? After all, when you like something, you just simply like it. What could possibly be unhealthy about that?  Liking something is just fine, but when it comes to a point that you like it so much you dismiss other options simply because they don’t fit the mold, then you have crossed the line into attachment.  We like things such as a type of music or a specific brand of ice cream because it brings us some form of pleasure or maybe we trust a brand of car for it’s dependability.  It’s perfectly fine to like something, just don’t close your mind to other alternatives. When we refuse to see or experience other options, and sometimes  we do so with great disdain, we limit our possibilities for something greater to unfold.

And the extra sneaky: Attachments may have layers. One or more attachments may be the symptom of a deeper attachment at work.

Some example standout symptoms of attachment to watch for are:

  • Anger
  • Jealousy
  • Envy
  • Fear
  • Frustration
  • Sadness
  • Grief

Any of those may be an outward expression of an unhealthy attachment to something tangible, such as a relationship or material possession, or something less tangible such as an unmet expectation  – like a son or daughter not cleaning their room.  While having a clean room is a good thing, your response to the child not following your direction will help guide you to discovery of any attachments. Is your ego under attack because they failed to honor your parental authority, or can you respond to the situation without fear, anger or resentment?  There is little we can actually do to “control” another human being. Even at a very young age we have our own capacity for thought and decision making.  Having attachment to being “right” and “in-charge” as a parent can reach an unhealthy level.  Control is an illusion anyway.  Teach right thinking and right choices get made. Try to control someone, even a child, and they will seek to express their own control over the situation and resistance ensues.  We can always try to use fear, but is that what we want to teach our future leaders; that ruling with fear is better than careful listening, proper thinking and proper action?  Pick your attachments carefully and thoughtfully.

Feel free to chime-in with any attachment symptoms you have uncovered in the comments below.

Next up: Moving past the attachments.

 

What does your heart know?

colored heartsI remember when I was a kid, awake in the middle of the night, I would lay on my side and feel my heart beat in my body.  Last night was like that, the rhythmic motion soothing and hypnotic.

Just as I was starting to drift off to sleep, I thought about my heart.  What does my heart know?  What story does it tell me?

In the silence, it kept its secrets, gently rocking me back to sleep.

Hearts are like that.  They don’t share their story.  They rejoice with you, break with you, flutter in a moment of recognition but they don’t share.

Hearts are very in the moment, very in the Now.  You can’t conjure up that same feeling of heartbreak.  You can’t make it leap with joy.  And yet, we know it will break in the future just as it will jump with joy.

There are whole sciences around the heart.  The experiments being done on heart energy alone are staggering and mind boggling.  But I don’t really need to know any of that to know that my heart soothes me, carries me and provides for me more than just pushing fluid through my body.

My heart knows my story.  My heart recognizes another’s pain and happiness.  And in the middle of the night, when I’m still, I simply allow the resonance of my heartbeat to carry me back to sleep.

A Path to Peace – Are You Bound by Your Attachments>

Imagine an individual who was self-absorbed to the point of being narcissistic, prone to outbursts and fits at modest provocations sometimes leading to self-destructive or outwardly abusive behavior. This person will swing wildly from rational to irrational with accompanied mood swings and personality shifts at the mere mention of certain words or names.
Does this person strike you as someone who could benefit from some clinical help?  Would you label them a little crazy?

Certainly sounds like someone who could use some help, but these are the outward manifestations we experience from attachments.  They are like a greedy little bully inside of us who absolutely must get it’s way or it lashes out in some harmful manner then burdens us with the consequences.  It may manifest internally as disappointment, depression, anger, resentment, disdain, disgust, or other ugly darkness. Outwardly, attachment might show up as tears, tantrums, aggression, verbal abuse, physical abuse and more.  Like a two year old screaming “mine mine mine!” unhealthy attachments open the door to acts of complete irrational behavior. Our responses to unmet attachments lead to physical and emotional stress that we could avoid if we could lose the attachment.  Detaching from unhealthy fixations in our lives is our path to peace.

Attachments show up in many ways, some obvious and some so are so sneaky it takes practice to spot them. Not all attachments are unhealthy as some serve us rightly. But even those can become harmful if not properly tempered with wise discernment. As the old saying goes: “There are two sides to every coin” and our attachments are no different. As with all things in life, there exists a balance between the dark and the light, the Yin and the Yang, the additive and reductive, the progressive and regressive… you get the point. Too much of a good thing can be harmful.

Basic human needs drive some of our attachments. The need for nutrition and sustenance can drive our attachment to food, which we might label as a healthy attachment but using food as a substitute for actually addressing some sense of lack in our lives can be harmful. For example, if we connect food with happiness and joy, we may tend to reach out for food anytime we feel less than happy and perhaps overindulge or consume items that are not in our highest and best interest.  Buying material goods can certainly serve us properly in life to meet basic needs. Shelter, safety, personal growth, etc, but spending with the expectation that an object will fill an internal void or fix an internal issue. This “Shopping Therapy” may lead to a temporary distraction from the pains in life, but this neither solves root issues within us that could be addressed, nor bring us actual peace.

Understanding when an attachment is healthy and when it is unhealthy is in my opinion the most important factor towards inner and outer peace. My benchmark for determining the healthiness of an attachment is this question: Does the attachment do myself or another individual any harm? If the answer is yes, then I take that opportunity to look within and drill down for the actual motivation for the attachment and when it is discovered, it is noted and work can begin to heal it.

Next up: Spotting Attachments so you can release towards peace.