One of the very first philosophies of yoga that really rang true for me all those years ago when I first started practicing Ashtanga in San Diego, was the idea of non-attachment. Not simply non-attachment to material/physical things, but non-attachment to outcomes. Find a way to be present in your life, in a yoga pose, in a particular situation, without clinging to a result. Without needing it all to go a certain way.
As a lifelong builder of businesses, that’s sheer madness. I live to deliver results. I’m really upset when I don’t. And it’s a little funky to think about in every day life, too. How to go about your day, your interactions, your workout, your work, your chosen competitive sport, without placing expectations on outcomes?
This concept of non-attachment is mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita: “Let your concern be with the action alone, and never with the fruits of the action.” It all sounds lovely until you realize that we are wired to do a set amount of actions to get a specific result. Do the work, get the reward. Make the plans, watch them pay off.
As I navigate some tricky bits in life these past many months and find myself frustrated that the outcomes I’m attached to aren’t happening, I’ve been reminded of this tenant of yoga again and again. I know the way through is to surrender my attachments. Surrender, surrender, surrender and simply focus on doing the “action” as well as I can and leave the rest alone. (Ah, but so much easier said than done!)
I have been working so hard on myself for so long now. I’ve also been working hard on big life things like selling my home (it’s not selling rn) and sorting big debt with my ex (a years long thing that feels like it’s crushing my chest). And I’m at my edge of “manifesting” something to happen. I show up every day to my meditation practice and my affirmations. I am doing the work and I keep trusting that things will shift. That light will shine through these clouds – the house will sell, the debt will be paid off – and I’ll finally be out from under some heavy things I’ve carried around for too long. I want that freedom. I’ve envisioned that freedom. I’ve inhabited that freedom in my mind. Measured its floors, its nooks, its dimensions. And still here I am and I’m losing faith.
And so I return to any unconscious beliefs I’m holding as an ACoA. I’m revisiting codependent behaviors. I’m revisiting my people pleasing. Where might I be holding on to unhealthy thoughts? Where might I be self-sabotaging? I’m also reminding myself that we are worthy of pleasure and joy. I’m taking care of myself (and my deeply scared & annoyed & impatient inner child) and doing my best to limit negative self talk. But I don’t feel joyful and connected. It doesn’t feel easy or light. I am moving through mud. With ankle weights.
All I can do is trust. I can find little joys in moments every day. I can exercise, take long walks, spend time in nature. I can find yet more patience and yet more strength. I can continue doing all the human work to move this forward (hiring the experts, listening to their advice, filling out all the things.) I can remain open to possibility. And I am and I will. I share this because I want you to know what healing looks like. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens alongside bills and debt and marriages ended and impatience and worry that this won’t change. It’s not all yoga and light and girl power with a side of evening face-masks. Sending you patience and peace and beautiful surrender to what IS while you are working to create a new IS. I’m humbly offering the same to myself. We will find our way through to the light.
Holidays can be so hard for us. Bad memories. Good ones. No one coming over today. Fear of what may happen if they do. It’s really hard to watch others have the kind of Thanksgivings you wish you could have had. I nearly burst into tears last night watching the stories/posts of someone deeply lovely who was laughing in her pajamas, surrounded by her loving parents, sneaking early pumpkin pie slices. I’ve never had that. It’s not her fault. It’s not mine either. But oh my can that ping of ”what if” come at you unexpectedly.
And so: however your day looks today, whatever you have planned, however it goes or doesn’t go, know that you are not alone. That there are millions of us (really, I looked it up!) fumbling through this day right along with you, our hearts aching but strangely hopeful, doing our best to make something of it that makes us feel good. Makes us feel like what we want and need matter, because it does. Stay steady in your own needs today. Step away if you need to. Leave early if you must. Take care of you today. I will do the same. . . I’m so grateful for each of you and the stories you share with me. Thank you for being brave enough to share here so others may also learn from your strength. We are mighty. We are worthy. We are all doing this together. Sending you so much love.