Objects & Attachment: Embracing the Ephemeral
We don’t need to own things in order to connect with them. I am living in someone else’s home. I have a private room with some of my personal belongings, but everything else is not mine - from the plates and mugs I eat and drink from to the old dresser I pulled out of the closet to put in my room that I deeply cherish - it’s all temporary. I can accept the ephemeral nature and see that these objects are serving me now, for an indefinite amount of time, knowing that they will leave my life at some point. This is a beautiful way to practice non-attachment.
Objects - whether ours, borrowed, etc. - can help us to sit with ourselves, to pause, and to pay attention. An object can be sacred without ownership. A ritual can be sacred without permanence of practice. While I work with my clients on setting up rituals based on their needs, as we grow and change, our needs also change. We may have to work on other areas and introduce new ways of doing things and/or modify previous practices. Therefore, the most significant way to do this work is to check-in with yourself in regards to where you are night now, in this moment.
The last thing I want is for people to feel that they need to go out and acquire new things to practice this work. You can do this work sitting on the sidewalk with piece of gravel or walking in nature with a stone from the dirt. The more we recognize that we don’t ‘have’ anything, and the more we see that our deep, personal truth is what guides us, the less we will rely on our stuff and instead shift the focus to rely on our inner selves. We practice with the physical in order to access the metaphysical. If you can learn to allow your cup of tea to help you to pause, to breathe, and to ground into your body, you can learn to do this anywhere with anything (or even absent of that ‘thing’). When you stop to notice the sensation you feel when sliding your favorite ring on your finger or your comfy winter socks on your feet, you connect to the innate wisdom of your body. The ring and the socks won’t give you power or self assurance, but the action of connecting to yourself will.
I realize that we typically don’t purchase rings and socks to practice self-connection. I am all for surrounding yourself with beautiful items. Beauty is a driving force in my life. Walking in nature and seeing the sun set over the mountains is a prime example of observing and experiencing beauty. Putting on an outfit that makes me feel amazing in my skin is also an example of this. Here is a quote I’ve previously written on my perspective of beauty: “To me, beauty without intention really isn’t beautiful. It feels empty. We can emphasize the marriage of beauty and intention by realizing that they are the same. That beauty comes from mindfulness, from nature, from slowing down, from our hearts. Beauty looks like truth.”
Yes, it’s obvious that we can find beauty in nature and in our beloved objects, but can we also find beauty in disorder? Not so long ago, my life was a complete fucking mess. I was living in tremendous chaos everyday. Everything I was experiencing, no matter how messy and no matter how much I hated it, was bringing me closer to my truth. I was being cracked open to look at all of my shadowy parts in order to embrace them. This work saved me. I learned to ground in the midst of groundlessness. I was able to find beauty in small moments and in overlooked objects. Most importantly, I was able to find the beauty within myself. To accept myself, flaws and all. This is an ongoing process that I am always working on. I am not a perfect ball of sunshine devoid of insecurities. However, I am committed to continue to tear down conditioning in order to connect to the roots of who I am. You, too, can do this.