For a while after my last relationship ended, I gave this whole non-attachment thing a go.
On the one hand, I get it. Imagine being so attached to the outcome of getting into a full split that you literally split your hamstring at the seams, or me being so attached to the number of ‘likes’ I get to my blog that it loses all essence of me. On a larger scale it could be getting so attached to the idea of “success” that you shut down your conscience. Then there is the classic – changing who you are for the outcome of making a relationship last (been there, done that, still learning).
There is the other side of it though. In order to become a monk, one must let go of all attachments. This is not limited to iPods, apartments and cars. These amazing individuals renounce EVERYTHING – their names, their families, and the thought of ever building a home with someone. Even outside the monastery, there are people who have adopted this philosophy of non- attachment – moving fluidly from place to place and relationship to relationship. Hey, if it suits them, why not?
However, after trying it out, I wonder if it isn’t, in essence, a cop out. What is falling in love if not allowing yourself to get attached to some degree? Allowing yourself to want another in your life for a certain period of time? This is not just limited to romantic love. It could be love for anything or anyone. Some people feel things like this strongly. When they put their roots down, it grounds so deep into the earth that replanting would mean snipping off some parts of themselves. When they love, they love fully, no holding back. For such people, perhaps not getting attached in the first place is more a matter of self preservation.
Imagine falling in love with no holding back. One moment you would be this solid entity and the next you would dissolve into the relationship you were in. Or finding a book you love, letting yourself just dive in, characters becoming real for you and for a few days, just disappearing into the story. Fabulous isn’t it?
Unfortunately, being this also means that when you cry it is with abandon. Yours are not the pretty tears that can come and go in a second. In fact, you often need to make sure that you are alone when you are sad as it takes over you and you need a few days to get through it.
Compared to all that, non-attachment is the much safer option.
Then I remember what it was like to fall in love, and what it was like to even think about building a future with someone, dreaming, imagining. The connections I made to friends and families. And I think about the end of the relationships I had in my life – The sadness, the anger, the tears that flowed for days. How everything broke open and left me a gaping wound.
And you know what?
I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Sure I am working on how to preserve myself a little more than I used to. My mentor Mel keeps reminding me to hold my heart in a little bit because if I don’t I’ll end up breaking my back, both physically and energetically. This is especially as a yoga teacher where putting my heart out there would just leave me an exhausted mess, no good for anyone in the long run.
However, it was the range of emotions that I have gone through that have given my life meaning. It is the beautiful sunshine, radiance of light, heavy storms, winter cold and everything in between that has made me grow. Even though severing roots hurt like hell, every time I rooted down, I was touching someone and making a connection that in turn, made my life more. Total non-attachment to me is like living in a safe greenhouse while being connected is like being out in the elements, living life to its full range.
Although some of the people in my past were not worth it, my own growth was worth every bit of pain. Every tear cried, every time my heart shattered into a million pieces, they made me more of me as much as the happy laughter and hugs. So although I will continue working on holding on to my personal space, I do so with intention to allow myself the space for healthy attachment and connection because otherwise, what use would teaching and touching be?
What will you choose?