The Importance of Detachment

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Have you ever experienced a sense of imminent collapse?

I have… One day I came to realize a lot of the things that mattered to me most were collapsing, and down I went with them. I’m sure I’m not alone… in fact most people nowadays are experience serious crashes – mental fatigue and burnouts are being reported more than ever!

How did we get here? Aren’t we all just being super passionate about our work, our relationships, ourselves? Yes – and that’s the problem in a sense. We are attaching our happiness, our self worth, our confidence to things like our work, our relationships, our actual material things. Attachment – therein lies the problem- attachment comes with a strong urge to want to control situations, people, micro-manage ourselves into making everything FIT into an ideal.

While you can exercise some amount of control over what happens in your life it doesn’t mean that you can eliminate external circumstances or things not turning quite like you pictured them. We do not control external situations like – other people’s behavior, thoughts or actions, for example.  This is where we put ourselves at risk–  we are attaching ourselves to things that in the end may or may not end up working for us just like we initially planned.

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Is passion bad? Absolutely not-  it’s necessary in order to develop strong risk-taking capabilities and bask in the subsequent achievements. But like everything else in this world – anything in excess is bad and too much passion can sometimes skew our reality and our perception. 

It can make us ignore the the possibility of things going wrong.  It can make us unwilling to see flaws in our plan, oblivious to the truth that may be right in front of us. And that is our human nature, whether in relationships or anything else in life that we care deeply about, passion can give us a skewed perception.

At this point you’re probably thinking, OK smarty-pants… then should we just go about our lives not caring enough for shit? The answer is NO... you should love people you care about whole heartedly, you should be passionate about your ideals and making a difference in this world… whatever rows your boat. The key lies in having a detached sense of self from them, the key is to practice the art of detachment.

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Ok.. so I should care about stuff but at the same time not care about them or how exactly does detachment work? Detachment is being able to remove your desire from things, and just letting them be, releasing what is not in your control and focusing on your power to use this in benefit of yourself. 

Here are 5 ways you can practice the art of detachment in your everyday life.

Detachment from material goals:  This one I can tell you from personal experience…Too many people are too attached to the things they own and have become addicted to buying and hoarding more and more things without asking this one simple question — “Is it important enough?”  

Marie Kondo the fuck out of your living space, if it doesn’t bring you joy, toss it, donate it, repurpose it, etc. And this means also releasing the need to buy things to make yourself feel better, WARNING: PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT IS TRIGGERING THESE COMPULSIONS and work on yourself to remove these habits.

By decluttering your life you can make space for things you really know add value to your life, and you will also detach yourself from the perception that you should own things just for the sake of owning them – THIS IS CALLED HOARDING.

” It’s not about owning nothing, but about letting nothing own you.”

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Detachment in relationships: … I can sense all of you shifting uncomfortably wherever you’re sitting. We’ve ALL been there, if you haven’t then you’re probably reading this from that one-man island you’re in. CONGRATULATIONS.. Most of us have struggled with this at some point and it’s completely natural.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that love is about holding on to another person, caring for them in every way, neglecting our needs for their needs because love is sacrifice… etc. Whether it’s relationships with your parents, your friends, your significant other or anyone who has has a big influence in your life-  you need to practice detachment.

Detachment will teach you that love is about acceptance and not about control, that you alone are master of your own life and that boundaries need to be drawn in relationships so that others don’t control you (even if it’s not their intention.) Boundaries, space.. distance is NECESSARY for growth.

“But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” – Khalil Gibran

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Detachment from work: Yeah I’m talking to you workaholics! In the study “Losing Your Job, Losing Your Identity,” done by The Globe and Mail in 2009 out of 12,000 interviews, 30% of them revealed that they defined their personal lives based on their career. NEWSFLASH – this is not good for your mental or physical health.

Detachment from work means that you do not define your personal worth too closely to your performance at your workplace or to the validation that you receive at work. Detachment from work means that you do not rely on work alone to give you a feeling of completeness and to provide a meaning to your life. LET THAT SINK IN.

“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world. ” – Fight Club

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Detachment from experiences: Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by your past experiences? Do you tend to over-analyze things that have happened to you? Why, how, what if? If those little gears in your head are spinning over-analyzing, recounting and re-living experiences, specially those unpleasant ones  … you are carrying what is called emotional baggage.

Let it go, check that shit on a one way ticket to – NEVER LOOKING BACK LAND and be gone! Learn from your experiences, understand that they are here to teach you, learn from them, thank them and move on. 

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Detachment from your own thoughts: Boy does this take a LOT of self discipline. Only a few of us, with practice, can take a step back and exercise control over our thoughts. Our thoughts tend to be confused with our feelings, we act upon our thoughts without processing them.

Every thought does not need to be acted upon, TRUST ME, impulsiveness is not a good quality too have. There are many practices you can use to cultivate detachment here, meditation, mindfulness, awareness will help you filter your thoughts, letting them come and go without forcing yourself to act upon each one of them. The term free your mind doesn’t come from letting your mind go blank, it comes from not being a slave to your thoughts.  You need to understand that your thoughts are just thoughts. They are not the ultimate truth or reality.

By practicing detachment you enter a state of mind in which you witness, clearly and calmly, with good will, whatever you are seeing, hearing, thinking, enjoying, or suffering. You watch your problems, fears, and challenges as if you are not bound or preoccupied by them but viewing them calmly —you are merely  a witness. With practice, your anxious thoughts and negative emotions will lose their control on your mind. They will not be able to drive you or distort your inner well being.

I hope that you are able to put these into practice. It’s not easy but the reward alone is worth it, inner peace is the ultimate goal. 

Good vibes all around.

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