How do you know when you are “attached” to something or someone? When you have an expectation and are attached to a certain outcome and it doesn’t happen, you can experience disappointment, anger, hurt, sadness, confusion, etc. When you are “attached” to an outcome or a person, you tend to worry, obsess, ruminate, and try to fix, advise or rescue. Your mind is like a blender and you can’t shut it off. You want to control what’s going on because you think it needs to be changed and you have the answers. Can you relate?
When you “detach” from someone or something, you may experience disappointment at first when things don’t turn out the way you hoped or wanted. You know you have detached when you feel peaceful, a sense of lightness and rightness that things will turn out the way they are meant to. There is a freedom to own what’s yours and allow others to own theirs. When you practice detaching, there is an element of trust, surrender, and acceptance.
Detachment is not easy or for the faint of heart! It’s taken me years to learn and practice. It doesn’t mean I’m disinterested, not caring or that I don’t love the person or situation I’m detaching from. It’s not about caring less; it’s caring more about my own serenity. Detaching means I’m choosing to take care of myself and not willing to risk my own well-being. It means I stop giving my power away and depend on what others do, say, feel or act to determine my peace and well-being. When I detach and don’t give advice, fix or rescue a loved one, I’m communicating to them that I trust their decisions and journey. It’s also respecting the person that their answers are inside of them.
Here is an example of detachment and a closed door.
Last year our friend, Kerry, nominated us to be interviewed and have our story and picture on the cover of a monthly magazine called Neighbors of Wailea and Makena. Every month they feature a person or family to share their story of how they got to Maui and how they support the community.
We were really excited when they contacted us to tell us that they were interested in writing our story, but we never heard from them again. We saw it as a closed door. Of course, we were disappointed that they didn’t follow up and choose us. Because we were both “detached” from the outcome, we let it go and assumed it wasn’t meant to be. If we had been “attached” to the outcome, we would have been angry and tried to push to have it written.
Last week, out of the blue, I received an email from the publisher of the magazine stating that we were nominated to be featured in the magazine and they wanted to write our story. They asked, “Will you accept the nomination?” We were very surprised to hear from them a year later. At first, we were reluctant and thought, “What do we have to offer that would be of interest to our community?” We are retired and live a contemplative, peaceful life.
As Larry and I went within to ask for guidance, it was clear that Spirit was inviting us to share our story of love, so we accepted the nomination. Although we are excited about this adventure, we are detached from the outcome and feel peaceful that whoever is meant to read it will read it. If our story can inspire one person to not give up on finding true love, it will be worth it. God’s timing is always perfect. It was a closed door a year ago and now the door was open for us to share our story in the magazine. I have had many open and closed doors on my path. It’s always reassuring to know that Spirit will close the door if it’s not for my highest good or the right timing.
Over 45 years ago, this little book called, “How God Guides Us by Don Basham came into my hands and changed my life. My spirituality is based on the principles of open and closed doors. When I don’t know if something is God’s will or my will, I pray, “God, open or close the door.” The author writes, “Closed doors are a valid part of guidance, when God closes a door, it’s because there is another plan, a better plan. If He closes one door, He’ll open another-according to His timing, not mine. I keep moving in faith, even in the face of closed doors.”
I may be guided to do one thing and then when I get there, God has something else in mind. He doesn’t tell me his full plan ahead of time, which is probably good. Guidance comes when I move in faith, not when I sit in doubt. I step out in faith, trusting that if I make a mistake, God will correct it and get me back on the right track for my life.
Here is an example of a closed door many years ago at the very last minute:
I could no longer afford the high monthly mortgage payments because of my impending divorce. If I re-mortgaged, I could get a lower interest rate and could then afford to stay living in my home. My soon-to-be ex-husband agreed to sign the necessary papers for me to re-mortgage.
On the morning of the closing, my ex called and said, “Sorry, but I changed my mind and will not sign the papers.” I couldn’t speak at first and was in shock. Then I screamed, “You have to sign them. I won’t be able to keep the house if I don’t re-mortgage now.”
I couldn’t talk him out of it, no matter what I said. I called the bank and asked if I could sign the papers without my husband’s signature. The answer was NO because his name was still on the house. Much to my dismay, the closing was canceled.
I was devastated and said to God, “I don’t understand, I trusted you were guiding me. Did I hear you wrong? Why did you allow me to go through all of this to close the door at the last minute? I want to believe you closed the door for a reason, but I’m having a hard time trusting now.”
A week later, to my surprise, I received a letter from the mortgage company informing me that the interest rate had gone down (on its own) because it was an adjustable mortgage. The payment was now the same as if I had re-mortgaged. I even saved a few thousand dollars in the process. God closed the door (through my ex-husband’s, last-minute postponement) to save me money.
When I walk in faith and trust, God always provides in His way and His timing. My faith is strengthened each and every time when I’m willing to wait, trust Spirit and His perfect timing. Nothing is impossible with God. Better yet, EVERYTHING is possible with God.
My friend and I met for our morning swim and chat on the beach. When I asked her, “How are you doing?” She replied, “Not very well. I’m worried about my brother who divorced his wife after 45 years of marriage.” I shared, “I’m concerned about my brother too. He fell several months ago and hurt his back. He’s not doing well.”
My brother has been in recovery for alcohol and drugs for almost 30 years. He was prescribed Percocet for the pain. As a therapist for 20 years treating addicts, I know how addictive this medication can be. I saw the devastation this drug caused for patients when they were prescribed it for their pain. My brother, up until now, wouldn’t go near this because he also knew how addictive it was.
I recently spoke to my brother, who lives 5000 miles away and I haven’t seen him in 10 years. I felt uneasy when I got off the phone as he didn’t seem himself. I didn’t know if he was abusing the Percocet and he didn’t appear open to discuss it. Of course, I’m concerned about my brother and if he will be ok.
I’m allowing myself to feel my feelings and process them. I’m angry at this disease that has robbed my family for years. I’m sad that after 30 years of staying sober, he may be struggling with addiction.
As my friend and I shared, I said, “I refuse to allow anyone or anything to rob me of my peace. I have worked hard to get to this place in my life that I have co-created with God and I’m not willing to focus on something or someone that I have no control over.”
Instead of worrying, feeling fear, and trying to fix, I choose to pray and send love and light. I choose to trust Spirit that it is my brother’s journey and he has lessons he needs to learn. I wonder why we think we know what’s best for our friends and family? Worrying is an illusion and doesn’t do any good. When we worry, we think we have some kind of control.
I know what it’s like to have my mind feel like a blender that I can’t shut off. I know what it’s like to be awake at night ruminating about a problem that I have no control over. I’ve been there and done that and don’t want to do it anymore. It doesn’t work for me and never has.
Instead, I have learned to detach with love. I detach emotionally and don’t allow myself to get sucked into the moods and behaviors of those I love. When my mind is racing, I repeat DETACH until I feel calm and peaceful. There were times that I had to say it many times before my mind shut off. Detachment doesn’t mean disinterest. It truly is respecting another person’s journey and choices.
My time is sacred to waste living in the future or worrying about something I have no power over. I continue to focus on myself and what’s important to me. I have learned to let go of other people’s problems instead to trying to fix them.
I can detach and still love and still feel. I have learned to take care of my own problems while allowing others to take care of theirs. Today I detach with loving compassion. When I detach with love, I offer support by freeing those I care about to experience both the disappointments and successes in life.
Are you concerned or worried about a loved one? I encourage you to practice detaching emotionally and trusting it is their journey and lessons to learn.
“I refuse to allow anyone or anything to rob me of my peace and well-being. I have worked hard to get to this place in my life that I have co-created with God and I’m not willing to focus on something or someone that I have no control over.”
It is my belief that I attract everything into my life for my highest good. I love it when I attract miracles and it all flows with peace, ease and grace. It is not easy when I attract challenges or opportunities that I don’t like and would rather not have in my life. It may be difficult to understand the “lessons” I need to learn or to discover some truths about myself.
It is “lessons” that I’ve attracted into my life so my soul can grow. My soul knows what it needs for me to reach my highest potential and what it needs to release behaviors and beliefs that no longer serve me.
This has been a challenging week of “lessons” and practicing healthy behaviors. Here is what I practiced:
- I spoke up and asked for what I wanted
- I set boundaries
- I forgave
- I detached from the outcome
- I let go of control
- I felt all of my feelings including anger and sadness
- I was honest and spoke my truth
- I didn’t fix or try to rescue another
I would like to share what detachment means to me and my experience of detaching with love from the outcome.
Detaching with love means that I stop depending upon what others do, say or feel to determine my own well-being or to make my decisions. What other people do or don’t do is none of my business.
Detachment is not caring less; it’s caring more for my own serenity. Detachment brings freedom and attachment brings suffering.
How do I know when I need to detach and let go?
- When my mind is like a blender and I can’t shut it off.
- When I’m frustrated and angry at the behavior of a loved one.
- When I can’t control another’s behavior
- When I don’t feel heard and it appears my words fall on deaf ears.
- When I think I’m right about a situation and the other person is wrong.
I need to practice detachment for my own peace of mind. It is a loving gift I give to myself and others. It is the freedom to own what is mine and to allow others to own what is theirs. I can detach and still be compassionate. I need to detach so I don’t take everything personally because I can’t control others reactions or behaviors. Detachment is not isolation or a wall. It’s about letting go of obsessing about another’s behavior and trusting what is happening is for our highest good.
Do you need to detach from someone you love or a situation that you are obsessing about? Give yourself the gift of detachment for your own sanity and the sanity of your loved one.
Author Kute Blackson writes, “The root of misery is control. Control is the master addiction, the hardest one to give up. Control is an illusion, as there is so much in life that we cannot control. When you try to control what you cannot, then suffering is your guaranteed result.”
Control is about CONSTRICTION and CONTRACTION. It’s been my experience that I tend to want to control when I feel threatened or afraid that I’m going to lose something or I’m not going to get what I want. The opposite of control is EXPANSION. It’s about being in the flow, trusting, being, surrendering to “what is” and letting go.
All I can change is ME, plain and simple. I cannot change my spouse, my children, my friends or the world. None of us have that kind of power. We may observe things that are harmful that our loved ones are doing to themselves i.e., not taking care of their bodies, eating poorly, not exercising, staying in stressful situations, holding onto resentments, being unwilling to forgive, caught up in addictions, not leaving a marriage or job that is not for their highest good. The list could go on and on. Can you relate? Is there someone in your life who you would like to change or control?
It is difficult to not want to CONTROL someone you love when you think they are hurting themselves and can’t see it or don’t want to see what they are doing. Of course, we love them and want the best for them. You may be thinking now, “Shouldn’t I share my thoughts and concerns with them?” Of course, you share your concerns about what they are doing or not doing. After you have shared your concerns, the key is to then LET GO, DETACH and PRAY and SEND LOVE. I invite you to ask yourself some questions:
- Do I think I am God and know what’s best for someone I love?
- Why don’t I trust that it is their journey to walk and when they are ready to change something in their lives, they will?
- Is it my egoic thinking that I think I know best and have the answers for their lives?
When I have been “awakened” to something that needs changing in my own life, it is natural for me to want to share it with those I love and want them to get on board. But when I try to push it down their throats, nag, preach, guilt them or leave books around to educate them, it is about trying to control another, no matter how well- meaning I am. My loved ones may never choose to change and it is not my responsibility to change them or judge them
It is disrespectful when I try to control another. So often we are not even aware of how controlling we are and just think we are being helpful to those we love. Thankfully, I am learning that trying to control another’s destiny just doesn’t work.
What comes to mind is a situation that I had with my son many years ago. It was like a light bulb went off when I realized I was trying to control him because I wanted him to UNDERSTAND how I was feeling. I shared with him that I felt hurt about something he had done. He didn’t get it and defended himself. I tried everything I could to make him understand what I was feeling and felt frustrated and angry that he wasn’t getting it and I wasn’t willing to let it go.
All of a sudden (after a long time of trying to get him to see it my way) Spirit showed me that it was my control issues that I needed to look at. I was trying to control his reaction to me because I needed or wanted him to understand what I was feeling. It was a lesson that I will never forget and hopefully never do it again.
I am grateful I have the tools and know how to detach and stay out of another’s business. I have learned to love them just as they are and trust they will change if and when they want to. My responsibility is to focus on myself and what I need to do in my own life and love others just as they are because we are all doing the best we can.
I recently had an experience with a family member that I had to practice what I preach. Unfortunately, I was into the “Blame Game.” I know better, right?
I dug into my “spiritual tool box” and searched for the tool I needed to feel better and bring myself back to center. I clearly needed to practice DETACHMENT. How did I know I needed to detach? Easy, my mind was like a blender and I couldn’t stop thinking about what my family member said and did. It felt like I was about to explode and of course, I thought I was right! I took a walk to clear my head and breathe. I kept repeating to myself detach, detach, detach over and over again. I didn’t know what else to do to bring myself back to peace. It worked and relief came.
When I judge and make someone else wrong (and me right) I am in trouble because I am living in victim consciousness.When I am in victim consciousness, I’m not willing to take responsibility that my soul attracted this situation or person that I’m blaming and judging, so that I can heal limiting beliefs I have that are not true about who I am. Through God’s grace, I became willing to see the perfection in what I had attracted into my life and was willing to stop blaming and judging my family member. Rather than coming from a place of anger, blame and judgment, I was able to come from a place of love. I was then able to forgive myself and my family member for what I had “perceived” as their wrong doing.
Detachment is a powerful tool that I practice when I get out of balance and lose my peace. I choose to love and not live in victim consciousness. It is a choice. What are you choosing today? Are you living in victim consciousness or are you coming from a place of love?
Have you been affected by someone else’s drinking or drugging? Do you stay up at night worrying about someone you love? Are you frustrated that your efforts of trying to control haven’t worked?
What does Spirituality have to do with addiction? It has everything to do with it. Addiction is a family disease that affects the person abusing as well as family members. It is a Spiritual disease and the way to recover is through developing Spirituality. This disease has been likened to as having a “hole in the soul.”
Spirituality is the life of the spirit and an awareness of a presence sometimes alone in stillness and sometimes with others. It is a “connectedness” with self, others and a Power greater than yourself. That Power may be referred to as Higher Power, God, Source, Universe – whatever is comfortable for you. It’s important to understand Spirituality is not religion. Unfortunately, many people have been turned off by organized religion and think Spirituality is religion. You can be religious and not spiritual and spiritual and not religious
When someone is actively drinking or drugging, they are disconnected from themselves, from others and from their Source. They are lonely, scared and confused. Often their lives are out of control and they’ve lost family members, jobs, homes due to their addiction. It is devastating for the person who is addicted as well as for family members.
Family members often blame themselves, try to control their loved one and in the end lose themselves. Being involved with an addicted person for any length of time and trying to reason with them can be discouraging. Children suffer because they think that if the parent really loved them, they would stop using. Many have turned to Al-anon and Al-ateen to cope with this devastating and life threatening disease. In Al-anon you learn the three C’s. You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it.
The stress of living with someone who is addicted can have numerous effects:
Physical: You may develop health problems, such as headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, upset stomach, colitis, or heart problems
Emotional: You may feel angry, resentful, irritable, lonely, guilty or depressed
Social: In relating to others, you may be withdrawn, aloof, isolated, embarrassed, aggressive, or controlling
Spiritual: Your outlook on life may become bitter, despairing, helpless, hopeless or lacking in faith
As family members, we learn we can’t “fix” the addicted person. We need to allow addicts the dignity to recover at their own pace. Learning to detach with love is a skill that must be learned and practiced on a daily basis.
Detachment is regaining your identity and taking responsibility for your own life – and admitting you cannot control the life of another person. Detaching does not mean that you stop caring. It means that you stop trying to control someone else. You need to focus on yourself and make changes in you.
Tips on how to develop Spirituality and live in peace
- Detach and stop enabling – the chemically dependent person must be responsible for their behavior. You can no longer step in and pick up the pieces. It’s important to stop lying, making excuses and covering up for the person’s actions.
- Accept – that changes you make may cause others to be angry and resentful. Expect that. Expect them to react to the healthy changes you are making.
- Do not threaten – Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.
- Focus on yourself and what you can change – Discover what you like to do and what gives you pleasure. Do little things for yourself each day that you enjoy; going for a walk, listening to music, starting a hobby, going out to lunch with a friend.
- “Show up” everyday and develop a spiritual practice of sitting down for 5 minutes and being quiet. Journal and meditating are wonderful tools to incorporate.
- Identify your feelings and share them with someone you trust.
- Practice an attitude of gratitude by focusing on what you do have, rather than what’s missing.
- Have faith that you have everything you need and you are in the presence of a loving presence and you are not alone.
- Change your thinking and your life will change.
- Join a recovery group.
- Work with a Spiritual Counselor/Coach
What is Spiritual Counseling/Coaching and how it can help you
The purpose of spiritual counseling/coaching is to assist you in finding God in the midst of life events, and to prayerfully support you during life changes. It is designed to inspire and awaken you to all possibilities of spiritual growth in your life. It is to help you focus on the solution as your build your conscious awareness of God’s presence and activity in your life. Spiritual counseling/coaching will help you meet life’s challenges from a new consciousness of connection with God.
For more information about Spiritual Coaching contact Pat @ 401-521-6783 or Pat@SimplyaWomanofFaith.com
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