Perhaps as we end one year and begin another, seeing the world did not end on December 21, we should take a minute to check on our emotional attachments. And by “we” I suppose I mean “I”. Should not put this burden on others. But then again, and I am not trying to be judgemental, I suspect there are others that could use a gentle reminder to assess and reassess certain attachments.
To most of us the word attachment refers to something positive. However, we must be aware that just as often as not our attachments can be negative. We have certain “emotional attachments” in life. Far too often, and I refer again to my stinking thinking, our attachments create negative energy. We are consumed. And the more we are consumed the more our worries, our resentments, our ruminations, control our lives. They ruin relationships. They ruin our health, our wellbeing. We need to gain an awareness of these thoughts that are controlling us. Not always easy.
I recall, a little too vividly, that my parents had a strong attachment to the church and all that that brought with it. It controlled their lives. Everything in life, work or socially, was done in the context of their faith. Many of the farm families I deal with have an attachment to their farm. It may be a farm that has been passed on from generation to generation. It may be an attachment to the soil, to livestock. An attachment that many do not understand. My wife and kids would likely suggest that one of my attachments is golf. At times I seem to be consumed with the sport. I spend many hours in playing the game. And now, in the winter, I spend many an hour watching golf on TV. My son and daughter in law have shown an amazing attachment to their new born son. Everything they do is based on the wants and needs of the little boy.
The attachments I have just mentioned would be considered positive attachments. They are ones that help in shaping our lives, our future, our very being. But some of us, and again I refer to myself, have certain attachments that bring negativity to our lives. We are so consumed by certain events in our lives that they become attachments. Perhaps we often don’t recognize this. We carry them with us not realizing the impact they have on our lives. They may deal with financial issues, ways in which people wronged us, diseases I “may” have, things I have said or done, the “what ifs” in life. These would seem to be based on perception, rather than reality. There are real ones. Actual health challenges, true financial difficulties, broken relationships, etc. Don’t get me wrong. I am not minimizing any attachments we may have, real or perceived. It becomes a matter of doing an inventory. It is a matter of recognizing ones that we can deal with and ones that are perception only and can be tossed aside.
I find that recognizing what brings about many of these negative thoughts and feelings becomes an interesting exercise. When I follow the string I realize that the issue most upsetting me today is not really the root of my problems. Sometimes the string I follow leads me through areas I would just as soon forget. The problem is, I have not forgotten them. They keep popping up. I need to deal with them.
There are ways to detach. It takes recognition and practice. It means a shift in our thinking. As I suggested earlier, the first step is recognition. A self diagnosis. Then it becomes a matter of emptying ourselves of this negative attachment. Easier said than done, right? Absolutely. It takes practice. And lots of it. I have learned a valuable lesson. When I hold my grandson all of life’s worries and cares, all of my negative emotional attachments disappear. You know why? For that fleeting moment I have brought my thinking to the present. It really is a form of mindfulness. My wish, go ahead, call it a New Year resolution, is to practice being in the present. Fill my thoughts with positive attachments. Out with the old, in with the positive. Make it a good one.