Our Attachments

I had an interesting conversation with a cousin of mine quite a few years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. I have to admit that she was on the right track. She insisted that often our attachments deflect our happiness. She is a very tactful person so she made sure she enunciated well that being attached is by no means negative, rather it is an aspect of life. She said simply that often we hold on to things that may be misdirecting us.

I went home and thought deeply about it. I did not understand the full meaning of the statement she made but I could see its value. The next question I asked myself was if the statement was directed at me and if there were things I held onto that were destructive to me or did not assist me in achieving happiness.

Often when people make such comments to us, unless we are ready to listen and to make a change in our life we just let them go through one ear and exit out of the other. There is really nothing wrong with that attitude. We must be ready for changes before they are ready to be made. The thought always precede the action. Was I ready to take a deep look at my life in order to make viable changes? I knew I wasn’t, so after that night I never thought about it. It only was of the moment.

Years later, every time I opted to let go of something in order to reach a measure of peace, I thought of my cousin. When I made the decision to become a vegetarian, it was under duress but I was ready. Letting go of those wonderful drinks, that tasty cup of coffee and so many other things, did not really bring me much happiness at first. Withdrawal symptoms go hand in hand with every loss. We feel something is missing in our life even though it was causing us much headache. I have had to let go of a lot of stuff that were causing me frustration, pain, despair, anxiety and strain. The list is too long to mention but I can say that  some items are harder to discard than others.

As time goes by, when you realize that the choice you have made was the right one, you become conscious of your strength. There are so many things in life that make us miserable and yet we hold on to them. Some examples come to mind and by no means are we judging anyone. I have been there myself. We hold on to the luxury car for the prestige it gives us even though it is near repossession when we are late for payment. The big house that everyone compliments us for, is exactly the one that gives us panic attacks because we can’t afford it anymore. The abusive partner that we no longer love, we are not willing to say goodbye to, for fear of being alone. The smoky nightclub that we go to may be causing us breathing problems but we are attached to that kind of lifestyle. The friends that cause us a lot of headaches are the same ones we hang out with because we don’t want to go search for new ones.

A good assessment of our life is the harbinger of change. It is important to know what is important to us at this particular juncture. Are we after prestige? Are we after peace? Is love what we are after? Is happiness a desirable outcome?  What about knowledge? Is it a key component in our life? Are we willing to sacrifice what we have in order to obtain serenity? Can we face our neighbors and friends? Are we strong enough to weather the storm? Every time, I watch the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” I once again concur that letting go of unnecessary attachments can bring love and peace into one’s life.

Everything in life has a price, be it constructive, destructive or neutral. It is up to us to decide what is necessary and what is superfluous. After all, our attachments are personal and they are relevant only to us!!!