Letting go of attachments was one of the most powerful processes I’ve ever done in my life, in the sense that it has created the most impactful, positive changes.
In fact, I’d go as far as saying that even if you have never listened to any episode before this and never listen to any episode after this, you will still walk away with the secret to happiness and fulfillment in life. You can’t say that about too many things.
(The following podcast transcript has been modified for easier readability and to benefit the Deaf and hard of hearing)
However, what I talk about may also be the hardest step for most people to take because it involves letting go. We just love to hang on to things. We love nostalgia. We love looking at old photographs. We love visiting our old home town to see what’s changed, and what hasn’t. And we love bringing up the past in every conversation. Most of us are attached to almost everything that happened to us in life. From the time when we were children, to just a few minutes ago.
We’re always thinking about what we said to someone, and what they said to us. We tend to re-experience emotions that happened long ago, good and bad. We base future decisions on our past results.
Almost everything we do relies on some sort of reference to our past. Approach a door, you look for the doorknob. You know to look for a doorknob, because in your past, you learned that a doorknob opens doors. Unless you’re at a sliding door, then it’s different, but you have a reference for how that opens too.
But imagine you were part of a science experiment where you lived in a house where all the doors were set up to open only by yelling at them. If you needed to open the bathroom door, you’d yell and the door would open. After a couple of months, you’d get to go home and live a normal life again. But what do you think would happen every time you went to open a door at home? I mean, you just came back from a place where the only way to open doors was to yell.
So getting out of that place to return home and try to live a normal life again, when it came to doors, you’d either scream, or you’d have the urge to scream. After all, you were conditioned for two months to scream every time you wanted to open a door. This behavior, although not very effective in the real world, was what worked in the experiment, and what you adopted as normal behavior after a while.
This type of conditioning is happening all the time. Some of the behavior we’ve brought from childhood into the adult world is no longer useful. Sometimes it’s completely counterproductive… like screaming at a door!
This is why it’s important to embrace and master the art of letting go. I realize that a lot of old hurt and pain is not so easy to let go of, but it doesn’t have to start there. It can start with the material world first. It can start with stuff.
You know: things.
Letting go at the most basic level first, then working your way up from there.
By the end of today’s episode, maybe you’ll have taken a small step toward some huge changes in your life. Letting go is all about what we are attached to, and why we are attached to it. It is the value we place on things both outside of us, and inside.
Will you commit to letting something go right after this episode? Something you’ve been hanging onto for months, years, or even your entire life? It doesn’t have to be deep. It can be as simple as the stuff in your junk drawer you only use once a year if that. It can be that dress or those pants you keep promising yourself you’ll fit into again one day.
What is something you can let go of today? Keep that in mind as we go forward into today’s episode.
I’ve already shared the story of my ‘letting go moment’ on previous episodes, but I feel it’s important enough to repeat it here because of the major shift I went through. It changed my life profoundly.
Before the event that changed my life, which I’ll share in a moment, everything I owned filled a large cargo truck. Every time I moved, I spent a day or two filling up that truck. Now, I get kind of bummed out when I own too much to fill up the back of a pickup truck!
Over the last few years, I’ve let go of almost everything that didn’t provide some continuous function in my life. When I left Portland, Oregon to drive 3100 miles to New Hampshire a couple of months ago, I left behind a giant storage bin full of tools simply because I hadn’t used those things in about four years. And I love tools.
And over the years, as I come across something I own, if I haven’t used it in a while, I sell it or give it away. Ever since 2009, I’ve systematically reduced my attachment to attachments. It has been a completely liberating and stress-relieving experience.
The story I have to share started in Sedona, Arizona. I was leaving a two-week training I took and heading towards the Flagstaff area. My car started making some bad noises, so I pulled into a gas station to check things out (even though I didn’t really know what to look for). I couldn’t see anything blatantly obvious, so I started it back up and it seemed to be running well again.
My thought was I don’t have any cash, and I’m using my debit card to use up what I have left in the bank for gas and a tiny bit of food for the return home. If my car breaks down, I’m going to be stranded here!
So, I drove off and noticed that the car was running great once again. But two minutes later, it was going slower and slower, and the noises came back even louder now. I knew something was very wrong this time. I pulled off the highway and into a service station. This was just a service station, no gas. I figured of all places to break down, an auto mechanic would be the perfect spot.
I walked in, found the mechanic, and told him what was going on. He said he could look at it in about four days, and it would cost about $600 just to take it apart to determine if it could be repaired or not. Beyond that, the cost to repair, then put it back together would be added to the already unattainable total he’d quoted me.
Four days… $600…just to start.
My mind started racing trying to figure out what I could do. Could I sleep in my car at the mechanic for four days with no food and the only water source a bathroom sink at a service station? No! That’s absurd. Even if I could wait, how was I going to come up with that kind of money? I didn’t have it, and neither did my girlfriend at the time who was at home in Texas. I was a thousand miles from home, realizing that I was about to be stranded in the desert. I felt panic starting to kick in. I felt anxiety starting to creep up on me.
I thought some more… “There’s got to be a way out of this. Something always happens, and the way out always shows itself.”
But there was no way out. Nothing was presenting itself. My thoughts in that moment were, “I have thousands of dollars of audio equipment and tools in my car, let alone my car itself which was a huge investment just a few years back. How am I going to get my car and all my stuff back home?”
My only thought was that no matter what, I needed to get my car and all my possessions in the car, back home. But I couldn’t think of a way to do it, not without a lot of money. I called my girlfriend and told her what happened. She reminded me that it was more important to think about myself first, and how I was going to get home.
I thought, ‘well yeah, that makes sense.’, but I immediately went back to all the stuff I owned sitting right in front of me. I couldn’t drive it home. I couldn’t afford to tow it home. There was simply no solution to get these things to my final destination. I was sinking into a deep panic attack, probably my first one ever. I started shaking and felt like the world was closing in on me. For the first time in my life, I was facing the nightmare of losing my car, my tools, and everything I packed. I wasn’t even worrying about how I was going to get home. My priority was my “stuff”! I was sweating, and there was no light at the end of the tunnel.
I called my girlfriend again to ask what I should do. Maybe ask our friends for several thousand dollars to get a flatbed to bring my car back to Texas. Or get a loan of some sort, even though we had no credit at the time. The walls of the world were closing in on me even more. She managed to tell me that she found a bus ticket that cost $166. But since that didn’t include getting my stuff home, I didn’t even consider it.
I hung up with her again, and this time I almost burst into tears. I was scared, and the inevitable was upon me. The first thought finally seeped in that I could actually lose thousands of dollars of stuff and my car.
Suddenly, a tow truck driver arrived. I looked into the sky and said, “This is it, isn’t it? This is the way out. This is the universe sending the solution in to save the day. He’s going to have a cousin going to Texas, and he’ll be happy to throw my car on the flatbed. I just know this is the guy that was sent to get me out of this mess. Hallelujah!”
Feeling a bit confident now, I walked in and talked to the driver. He asked me what was wrong with my car. I gladly brought him over to my car so that maybe he could find a loose hose or bad sensor and fix it in 2 minutes. After all, he was my escape from this nightmare. I suddenly started feeling better.
We walked over as I was talking with him, giving him all the details of what was happening with the car. I was thinking, “Here it comes! He’s going to say, ‘Oh, that’s just the confibulator wire attached to the wonton souperator. That’s an easy fix.’”
But when he opened his mouth to reveal this amazing answer, all that came out was, “oh” as in, “Oh, that’s bad. You won’t be going anywhere for a while.”
Suddenly, my stress came back. My anxiety and panic kicked in, and I started to return to my original state. However, I had a thought. What if he was willing to buy some tools? What if I can just turn my car into a yard sale and sell everything in it, right here and now? So I asked him, “You wouldn’t want to buy some tools, would you?”
He asked, “Whattaya got?”
I opened my trunk, his eyes got really wide. I was like, “What is it? What do you see?”
Then I followed his gaze and found out that he was staring at the big speakers I had in the trunk. At the time, I used to enjoy loud music. I’ve changed a lot since then. But apparently, my taste for loud music at this time was a really good thing, as he immediately asked, “Would you sell those?”
My logic kicked in. I started thinking, ‘If I sell my audio equipment, I can always replace it. I have about three grand in equipment, I could probably make all the money I need right now to get me and my car home, with money left to spare.’ But I wanted to start small, just to see where he was at. So I asked him, “You like the speakers?”
And he said, “Yeah…” as if he just struck gold. But he said, “I only have $200 though.
And I started getting those feelings of anxiety and panic back, but something happened. Something shifted inside me that I still can’t explain to this day. It was like the solution appeared in my head like magic, and it was the complete opposite of what I would have ever done if I chose to continue following what I thought I should do.
In other words, all the fear, stress, anxiety, and panic over this situation was being brought on by everything I couldn’t do. And because I could think of nothing I could do, I had an internal conflict that led to all these bad feelings.
My conflict was that I would either go home with all my stuff or stay here until I figured out how to get everything home. I never once considered going home without my stuff. It was because I chose to not consider this option that kept me in panic mode.
But my panic seemed to come to a boiling point, and it felt like I died. It felt like there was absolutely nothing left to panic about because the worst-case scenario just arrived. I was about to lose everything because all I could do was sell some speakers for a couple of hundred dollars for a bus ticket home.
But something magical, almost mystical happened inside me. My entire perspective shifted. I became detached from that which brought so much fear and panic.
I came to an acceptance of losing everything. I was attached to everything I owned, and suddenly, I realized that my life, me, was the only important thing that mattered anymore. Everything I was worried about, suddenly disappeared. I was no longer worried. I felt all the stress, anxiety, panic, and fear wash away. Because the worst thing happened: Reality.
Reality set in. There was no fantasy anymore. This time, the answer was not going to appear, it was never going to appear. But the truth set in, and I suddenly realized it was time to let it all go now.
I had gotten so worked up, that when the truth appeared, and I accepted it, I felt a total peace fill my body. I was happy. I felt liberated. The one question I asked myself, which I don’t remember entirely, was something like this: “If you didn’t own any of this stuff, would you be panicking right now?”
And I popped. Or, something inside me popped. I answered, “No.”
This is when all the negativity washed away and I felt peaceful.
This all happened in a matter of a few seconds because there I was standing next to the tow truck driver after he just told me that all he had was $200. And in those few seconds of transformation, a question came out of me that even I didn’t expect: “Would you buy the car, and everything in it, for $200?”
He was very surprised, to say the least, and he opened his mouth and said, “Yeah!”
And for $200, I let go of my attachments that day. Not only that, I let go of my attachment to attachments too. And it was a moment that forever changed my life.
What are you attached to? If you listened to the mini show I used to do called Minutes to Momentum, I planted a seed in your mind asking you to think of something important to you. Not a person, but something material. And when you had it in mind, I wanted you to ask yourself:
Could I let this go and be OK with it?
What is your answer to that question? Could you let something material go, and be OK with it? Perhaps an outfit you want to wear someday, or a quilt your grandmother made. What about an expensive wide-screen TV that you use all the time? What about a car?
How about a house?
This is actually something else I did as well. When the mortgage crisis hit, I was in the same boat as a lot of people. I had just done a refinance a year earlier, and now I was upside down by about $180,000. It was a total loss, and I had to let it go. To be free of it freed me of the all stress surrounding it.
There are probably very few people that have experienced such massive shifts in their lives, where they reached a point where they were able to let things go easily. But the ones that did, probably live a pretty stress-free life right about now. After all, think about something we can almost all relate to. Something we’ve all probably done at least once in our lives: Move.
When you move, you usually have to move lots of furniture, and lots of boxes. After all, you have a house full of stuff and need to take all this stuff with you.
Have you heard the old George Carlin skit where he talks about how a house is just a place to keep your stuff? He says we eventually move into a bigger house just to fill it with more stuff!
It does feel that way sometimes, doesn’t it? Before 2009, every time I moved, I had more stuff than the last time. I kept accumulating it. It was almost like a badge of honor. I was thinking, ‘Look at all this stuff I have! I have everything I need whenever I need it, and everything I want so that I can decorate my home or have something to do with my time.’
But after the shift I experienced in the desert, I got rid of almost everything that wasn’t essential. I got rid of a box of cables that I’d kept for years just in case I ever needed one. I got rid of nostalgic things. I got rid of decorative things that served no function, just because I wanted to minimize as much as possible. The stuff I had collected over the years was just a collection of emotions. Every time I picked something up, I would get a good feeling. I would say things like, “Ooh, I remember when I bought this. It was around the time I was dating such and such, and we just moved in together.” Or I’d pick something else up and say, “Oh, I might need this someday. I like to be prepared, so I better keep it.”
My girlfriend at the time called me a packrat. I guess that’s not so much a hoarder, as I kept things organized and out of sight. But I did like to collect things. The more I collected, the better prepared I felt.
But what was I preparing for? It’s possible I could bring a video player home that needed a specific cable but did I really need to keep that cable until that day happened? Or, could I get that cable somewhere else? There was a point where I said, ‘I can get any cable I need from the store, or online, or even a thrift store. Why should I bear the burden of storing a cable I may or may not ever need when I can just as easily acquire it somewhere else?’
This was the beginning of my letting go of attachments. What we own that’s “functional” but not vital, is usually much easier to let go of. After all, we can likely replace it or get another one if we really needed to. We may use the excuse of money like, “What? Sell or give this away? It’s a $50 cable!”, but we bought it once and never used it, so why don’t we just buy it again when it’s time to use it? If we ever even need it!
The letting go of functional things is how I started when I got home from Arizona. After I broke down in the desert and took the bus home, I started systematically dealing with the rest of my possessions. The functional stuff came up: Tools, cables, equipment, and other various things. And I asked myself:
Can I get another one if I ever need it?
When the answer was “yes”, I let it go. When it wasn’t, I hung onto it. But, I did make the decision to keep a lot of the tools I needed regularly. After all, there’s no need to let things go that are useful multiple times a year. But the tools and equipment I hardly ever used, if ever, were not needed. And I found those easy to release.
I remember specifically that box of cable. It must have weighed 30 pounds. But to this day I’ve never once uttered, “Darn, I wish I hadn’t given away that box of cable.” Not having it was a relief because I never had to move it again or have it take up unnecessary space in my life.
You really notice how heavy and numerous a lot of your stuff is when you have to move to a new place. Box after box, and sometimes stair after stair, climbing up and down, just to move more and more boxes and furniture.
Believe me, after leaving behind a bunch of tools in one of the places I lived, I never once said, I wish I was still hauling that giant toolbox full of heavy equipment wherever I moved. That thought never crossed my mind, because not only did most of those tools no longer serve a function in my life, but the time and energy it took to lug them around did not equate to the amount of time I actually used them.
And somehow, with many of the tools I once had now gone, I still manage to get by with what I have. This adjustment is what most people don’t think they can make because they never get past the part of themselves that says, “But what if I need it!?”
The attachments I’m talking about today are just those physical, functional attachments. Things in our lives serve a function but aren’t necessarily sentimental. I’m just talking about material stuff right now. The deeper, emotional attachments in part two. But just letting go of material objects can be a world of challenge for some people.
Imagine if you could learn to let go of all of your attachments in just one sitting? Without some sort of crisis, or practice, it can be overwhelming for some people. But maybe you can do it. Maybe you are the person that can look at that boxes of things that fill your closets or garage and say to yourself, “If I didn’t have these things, I’d be okay.”
Or maybe you are already free of attachments and it’s easy for you to allow things to come into your life, and allow them to leave just as easily. As if you synchronized with the ebb and flow of life, knowing that nothing is permanent, and everything is always changing anyway.
And that is a big lesson in letting go of attachments. In fact, if you’re going to be attached to anything, be attached to change. Be attached to the never-ending variety that life will offer.
If you are attached to change, you will never be disappointed.
Change is inevitable. It is how growth and progress happen. The person who chooses not to embrace change is the one who remains unhappy. I’m not saying that every day there needs to be something different in your life in order to experience fulfillment, I’m saying that when change does happen if you embrace it as part of the process of life, you will be a happier person overall.
Bad stuff is going to happen, yes. And change is going to be forced down our throat sometimes, but accepting that change happens whether we like it or not will keep us growing and not stagnant.
Being attached to materialism, and “stuff” helps keep you from going internal. Having lots of stuff around you is the ideal method of keeping yourself so busy in the outside world that, as long as you have more stuff, you have reasons to not think about what you don’t want to deal with in life.
If you were in a room, with nothing but a blank notebook and a pen. You would likely get creative. You may write, or draw, or turn the paper into flying objects. But soon, you would put those items down, and just go inward. You might close your eyes and think about the past, or the future. You might remember your favorite movie, or your first, or maybe second, kiss.
After a while, some deeper stuff would rise up to be looked at. You might find some childhood pain. You may remember things that you forgot about that still bother you today.
And if you were in that room long enough, you may eventually come to terms with everything that ever bothered you in life. Soon, you’d be at peace, because you allowed whatever was inside of you to be addressed and dealt with. You had little to nothing in the outside world to distract you.
This is what happens when you start letting go of attachments. The outside world becomes less distracting. When you have 100 things around you, you have 100 excuses not to think about the bad stuff in your life. They’re great distractions because they help you avoid thinking about painful things. Bad memories get repeatedly repressed because there’s something else to distract us.
Does this remind you of anything? The first thing that comes to my mind is TV. TV is a great distractor, there’s always something different on every channel at different times of the day. We get lost in fantasy. The distraction is a wonderful tool to help us avoid working through emotional issues in life.
Then came the internet, and whatever distractions you had before were suddenly replaced by the ultimate, infinite distraction: The web.
It’s not that any of these are necessarily bad. It’s that when they are used in a way to avoid having to think about bad things, they help keep the bad things inside us, so that, in a sense, we become addicted to the distractions. The more distractions, the less pain, so you want more distractions.
Letting go of material items starts the process of eliminating distractions. Remember I said in the beginning that this may be the hardest step to take for a lot of people? I wasn’t joking. This is hard.
Don’t think that you have to give up anything though. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m talking about that which takes you away from yourself so that you don’t have to deal with what’s going on in your head.
Well, there are two reasons that embracing ‘letting go’ of material items is good for us:
- The less you have, the less you have to worry about
- The less you have, the less that will distract you
There’s a strange process that takes place when you are using “stuff” to distract you from looking inward and working on your negative emotions. The process is that one will tend to get more stuff so they don’t have to feel bad, but by having more stuff, it creates more emotional stress.
This is how it turns into an addiction sometimes. Collecting distractions gives an immediate high, but there will never be enough distractions to keep the unconscious mind quiet. Let me say that again:
There will never be enough distractions to keep the unconscious mind quiet
This means that no matter what you own, no matter how much stuff you buy, and how many distractions you add to your life, whatever is inside you that hasn’t been addressed that needs to be addressed will never, ever go away until you face it head-on. The emotional pain that we bring with us from childhood on is always there, and we try to find temporary solutions by keeping ourselves distracted. But if you never address these things, then life just seems to have a way of bringing us down.
When this happens, we feel like a victim. We say things like, “Why do things always happen to me?” When in reality, by us not addressing our repressed negative emotions and using distractions in hopes that we’ll feel better, we’ll really just be repressing more, causing those emotions to eat away at us day after day, and year after year.
Which brings us full circle to letting go of attachments. Distractions, at least the way I’ve been using that term today, are attachments. We can get attached to that which distracts. And when we cannot let those attachments go, we are, for lack of a better term, enslaved by them.
Who wants to be enslaved by material things? But a lot of us are. We come home to find our $1000 couch shred up by the dog. And instead of laughing and saying to ourselves, well, guess we gotta figure out what the dog needs when we’re gone for the day. We find the dog and punish him. We place the value of stuff over our own pets, or relatives and friends.
We stick an emotional value on a monetary item. This is the key to understanding your own attachments. How much emotional value do you place on monetary items? This is the great barrier that holds many of us back from moving into a new realm of letting go. And there’s a whole lot more to this topic, I could, and should, write a book about it. Except, Eckhart Tolle does a pretty good job of it already so I may not need to cover it.
Otherwise, when our focus changes, and we start valuing connection over materialism, and love and understanding, over a ding in our new car, we start enjoying life more. We start valuing deeper connections and start having more meaningful relationships. There’s a new world that opens up, and an old, unneeded belief that disappears.
We’re close to the end of part 1 of Letting Go of Attachments. But I want to make sure that you understand that you don’t have to let go of anything, and you certainly don’t have to let go of everything. This episode is all about teaching you when you can let things go, you can have a happier and less stressful life.
I still enjoy having a vehicle. I enjoy living in a home. I enjoy having the equipment to record this show. I enjoy a widescreen computer monitor. I even enjoy distractions. After all, sometimes I just need to unplug and be distracted.
None of the things I’m talking about are necessarily bad for you. They only become a problem when these distractions, or attachments, are there mainly to make sure you aren’t going inward to handle and process unexpressed emotions and past hurts. It can also be a problem when you feel so devastated about breaking something or losing something that you become depressed because it’s no longer in your life. Believe me, I lost an antique glass that I loved, and every time I thought of it, I got sad. After a couple of years, I finally realized that I was sad for all the wrong reasons.
I was sad because the person who gave it to me did it out of love. They thought of me when they found it, paid quite a lot of money for it, and gave it to me as a gift. It was unique and rare. It was a true treasure. So when it broke during one of my moves, I was devastated. But after I learned to let things go, I thought about that glass again, and I did become sad at first, but I soon realized that I wasn’t sad because I didn’t have the glass. I was sad because of what the glass represented. The love from someone special. I wrapped that up in a glass. And now that glass was broken.
How I turned that around was to take my focus off the material item, and just remember how special it was that someone was thinking of me. The thought they put into a gift for me, and the love they showed, was really all I needed to remember. Glass or no glass, all of it still happened.
I chose to become attached to the person and what they did for me, instead of what the item represented. That’s not always easy, but it can be a relief. And when you can look past the material and into what you can’t see, a true detachment from the material world can happen.
After I broke down in the desert of Arizona, then sold my car and thousands of dollars worth of tools and equipment for a mere $200 to a tow truck driver, I called my girlfriend. As soon as she answered, she was on high alert. The last time she heard from me, I was in a complete panic, and was so scared and stressed, that I could barely talk. So before I said anything, she was trying to give me more options. Her goal was to still find a way to get me home, but she was also acting as a therapist, and empathizing with me to the point of being just as scared for me as I was.
However, during this call, I was calm. I was at peace. And while she was talking fast, telling me everything she could possibly do to get me home, believing I was in a highly stressed and panicked state, I spoke. I said, “It’s okay now. I’ve got everything under control.”
She was like, “What? What do you mean? What happened?” She had no clue how I could go from panic to peace in a matter of minutes. I spoke up again and calmly said, “Everything’s fine. I sold my car and everything in it for $200, which will pay for my bus ride home. The tow truck driver is going to give me a ride to the bus station, and I’m taking one suitcase full of clothes. I’m leaving all that other stuff behind.”
She said, “I don’t understand? Why are you so calm?” to which I responded, “I let it go. And as soon as I did, the panic went away. Don’t worry about anything now. I’m coming home.”
And the tow truck driver drove me to the bus station where I bought a bus ticket, and within a couple of hours, I was on a ride that would last 22 hours, but eventually drop me off at my final destination.
That was the longest bus ride I’d ever taken, and also the most peaceful and worry-free journey I’d ever experienced. And I don’t know why, but there was an American Indian in the back of the bus who was singing, and everyone was enjoying it. It just seemed too perfect for some reason, as if it was closure to something mystical that just happened.
Again, I don’t know how exactly the shift took place in me that day in Flagstaff, Arizona, but I do know I became more enlightened and more at peace with everything in my life from that point forward. Even a year later when my girlfriend and I ended up standing in line at a soup kitchen for a few months, everything was alright, and I was still at peace.
After a few months of doing that however, I experienced another shift which set me on a new path to pull us out of the rut we were in, and into a condo overlooking the city of Portland, Oregon, and a lot of trees and water. But I’ve told that story before too, so perhaps we’ll touch on that another day.
The reason I told you that story about my breakdown in Arizona is because we all go through things like this in our lives. Things so scary and awful, that we think it couldn’t possibly get any worse. But sometimes, the worse things in life turn out to be the best things that could ever happen.
For me, letting go of attachments, help me let go of so much more. It’s not about having too much stuff and just driving it all to the thrift store to get rid of it. It’s about a shift inside you that tells you that it doesn’t matter if you have stuff or not. You can have it and enjoy life, or you can not have it and enjoy life just the same.
When you can adopt a mindset that it isn’t the stuff that you have that defines your purpose and meaning in life, but your ability to let things go easily when you need to, then your life will have no choice but to improve. You won’t be stuck on stuff, you’ll be enriched by experiences. You’ll be attached to change and variety. You’ll enjoy the feeling you get when you are easily able to walk up to a friend or stranger and say, “I want you to have this”, and you hand them something that they would never expect.
Letting go brings you rewards beyond material items. And when it doesn’t matter if you drive a nicer car than your neighbor or own wider and wider screen TVs throughout the years, you find out what really does matter in life. You can still enjoy distractions, but they will no longer rule your life. You can still have attachments, but you can easily detach and move on.
It’s a continuous journey, and I always appreciate it when the next challenge comes my way. Giving is so much more fun than receiving for me. And when you embrace letting go as a part of who you are, you really are just giving yourself freedom.
Click here for part 2 of this topic where I go over emotional attachments. Those are the attachments that involve a deeper emotional connection. Emotions tie us to things and people that may or may not be healthy for us.
I love the exercise to think of something that I am attached to and to picture if I would be OK with out it. I am not a sentimental person and don’t really get attached to too many things. However, I am attached to my cell phone and the ability to be in constant contact with anyone and especially my children. I do hate my level of attachment to it and we do have some rules such as no phones at the table or during any meals. I am going have to try to do some additional exercises to reduce my attachment. Thanks for making me think!!
Thank you so much for your comment! I like to think of attachments as functional or non-functional. When the attachment I have is functional (something I use a lot), then I won’t get rid of it. If it’s something I hardly, if ever, use, I’ll let it go.
My cell phone is something I’ve gotten attached to as well, so I understand. But I could get used to not having it! 😉
Thank you so much for taking the time comment and share.
I just went through this. I moved to another state, and being that I moved from a fairly inexpensive state to a much more pricey one, I had to downsize. I let go of so much. It was really tough. Then, I got here, and I realized I had to let go of even more! In the end, it felt good, but I know I need to still do another sweep. There are things that just aren’t serving me and I can always get items back if I need them later on. It is funny, some things that I thought I just HAD to keep, ended up being things I didn’t even miss once out of site. Thanks for the great episode!!
Wow, you definitely experienced the challenge of letting go, then the freedom afterwards. That’s just it… we don’t realize just how unattached we are to things until they’re gone. It’s tough at first, but when we finally let go, we suddenly wonder why it was so hard in the first place!
I very much appreciate you sharing your story here. Thank you!
Thanks Paul! “Attachments aren’t necessarily bad, assuming you can let them go just as easily as you attach to them” So true!
Thank you Frank! I appreciate you taking the time to comment.
“If you are attached to change, you will never be disappointed.” — This is so right, Paul! I guess it’s normal to resist change at first because it’s uncomfortable BUT you’ll thank yourself one day if you surrender to the change as you’ll see a better version of yourself after a breakthrough.
Love that Justin, great way to word that. Thanks so much for your input!
Paul, what a fantastic episode! As always, I love the amazing, personal stories you tell. Lately, I’ve been on a “super-duper-zen-simplifying my life in many ways” roll – your episode is so timely for me! Love it and you!
Awww! Thank you so much Maritza! I appreciate that a lot. So fun how you word things. Love you too! 🙂
“Attachment to change is a healthy attachment.” What a fantastic point of view, that had never occurred to me before. I now look forward to getting attached – as you say, if I look forward to change I’ll never be disappointed!
Ha ha, you got it! I’ll admit, change is tough sometimes. But it always leads to growth if you let it. Thank you so much for your amazing comment!
Love the freeing yourself from material attachments. I would like to do that more, though it is certainly easier said than done.
I think the first step is the hardest. I did not want to start either! But after you experience the liberation from attachments, the feeling will last forever. Thank you so much for your comment!
Hi Paul, great episode! You’re right we love to hold on to things… whether it’s the past, material things, and re-experience old emotions. “The Past Does Not Equal the Future” – Tony Robbins
Great quote! Thanks so much for your comment Anthony!
Though it can get very hard to let go of attachments but hey, you need to give more room for something even more awesome! Thanks for this great reminder, Paul!
Totally! Every void that gets created will be filled eventually. Thanks so much for your comment!
I have some much to get rid, ha! Great perspective.
And there’s probably even more after you get rid of that stuff! 😉 Thanks for your comment.
A very fine article. Thanks.
Thank you for your comment Arvind!
Where is part two? Cant find it Thanks
Here you go!
Thank you 🙂
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