Thoughts On: Attachment

I’ve been really good at adding stuff to my life. Whether it be vinyl records, friends, businesses, hobbies or habits. I have assembled a pretty large gathering of objects and experiences. So much so that I often find myself overwhelmed by it all. They can weigh me down.

I’ve taken the past two Julys off from work. This time away has had interesting impacts on me. Not necessarily what I was expecting. I was thinking I would be able to come back to my work and retain the somewhat Zen state I achieved during the month off. Not really. The realities of work and life soon crash back in. But I have been able to use that month off to begin letting go. I’m getting better at quitting things.

Over this past July I quit drinking. It happened during my week alone at a cabin in northern Michigan. I was cooking dinner one night and as usual I poured myself a glass of wine while I cooked. I noticed my body became very flush from the wine. I also recalled that alcohol often made me feel flushed and tired. It appeared to be causing inflammation, something I struggle with in general. That night I corked up the bottle of wine and decided I would take a break from drinking for a while to see how it goes. That was about 6 weeks ago and I haven’t felt this good in years. It was also surprised at how easy it was to stop drinking. Maybe I was ready for it. I’ve tried in the past and only made it through a week or two with willpower. This has been relatively easy, it feels like I’m cheating somehow. Sure, maybe I’ll come back to it someday and I’m ok with that. But if I do I want to come back less attached.

Now I am looking at what else I can quit. I really struggle with attachment. I feel the gravitational pull of sugar, caffeine, sex, fear and ideas every day. They tug at my consciousness and I fall into their orbit and the attachment begins. Just as mass attracts mass I must become emotionally and spiritually lighter to reduce the gravitational pull of interesting objects and experiences. But I must also balance this with being human, present and committed to those I love. This is a tension I struggle with every day.

note: this blog is the first in a series of “Thoughts On” posts where I ramble somewhat coherently about things I am thinking about or working on in my life.