Posts tagged objects and attachment
Objects & Attachment: Embracing the Ephemeral
Paige Geffen_New Mexico Home_Krista Peters
Paige Geffen_New Mexico Home_Krista Peters

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.

Objects & Attachment: True to Form
John Baldessari, True to Form (from Goya Series), 1997

John Baldessari, True to Form (from Goya Series), 1997

Part of why I’m drawn to objects is because we can count on them.  They’re reliable.  We don’t have to wonder what mood they’ll be in or how they’ll receive us.  We get to receive them.   This is why they can help us to ground so well - because they aren’t projecting anything onto us.  Whatever you’re getting from an object has to do with you, and if it’s not “you,” it’s your conditioning, societal programming, etc.  We can let go of the attachment of the object being a symbol of identity or status, and instead, simply true to form.  We can focus on the lines, the texture, the material and see it for what it is - an inanimate object. Letting go of attachment does not translate to detaching from warmth. It’s about detaching from the needing. We are whole as we are, and we don’t need any person, place, thing, or object to complete us. So when we let an object be true to form, without a story of how it should fill us, we leave room for us to be true to form as well.  That’s why this series is focused on attachment.  I’s about letting go - of how we think things should be, should look, should feel.  

We often assign meaning to the experiences we go through.  This is a very human thing to do and can sometimes help us to make connections in our lives in order to grow.  However, if we attach to the meaning,  we can miss the reality in front of us.  So we can find meaning in our experiences while simultaneously honoring them in the most stripped, literal way.  Because when we let go (of our agendas, motives, dreams), we see things as they are.   For instance, you can feel an intense connection with another person and then realize that the relationship has no place to go.  Perhaps the other person does not honor the connection, or perhaps they simply are not showing up in an honest way.  You don’t have to denounce the connection.  You can still honor it.  You can hold space for it.  So long as you realize that you don’t need it.  So if it doesn’t pan out the way you hoped, or if the other person doesn’t show up in a healthy way,  you can let go of the person, the story.  But the connection remains - it will always exist.  

By letting go of the stories and expectations of our objects, we are actually strengthening our connection to them.  We are seeing them in their purity, and in this space we can see ourselves more clearly.  We can honor ourselves as we are.  In a physical sense, we can honor the shape of our bodies, the curves and crevices and marks (just as we do with our objects), and then we can honor ourselves in the metaphysical sense - in our wholeness.  When we go to the metaphysical without first grounding in reality, we can get ourselves in spaces of delusion and fantasy, where things become skewed.  The point of going into the metaphysical is to be in our truth, where sometimes things just are without logical explanation or evidence.  When we enter this place while grounded in the present, we can access our inner knowing without the noise of confusion.  

So when we work with our objects, we can rely on their concrete nature.  This structure is what actually helps us to live with more ease and fluidity.  We can be here, now.  Free of our stories and past experiences.  Free of what others may think of us.  We forget about all of that.  We can be present.

If you’re looking for personalized guidance and/or to dive deeper into the work, feel free to contact me or to book a private session.

Objects & Attachment: The Illusion of Security
Paige Geffen_Kaare Klint

We all grab on for security.  It’s a very human thing to do.  If we look to our spaces and objects, we find that they make us feel secure.  But our physical world doesn’t actually provide us security.  Yes, physical things can keep us safe and comfortable - shelter, blankets, etc.  But even so, there is no guarantee that our roof won’t collapse or that we won’t feel cold. 

Attachment is an illusion.  When we let go of attachment - to our identity, to our stuff, to people, to how we feel things should be - we are simply letting go of a false sense of security.  What does that leave?  The truth.  And the truth here is that security is an illusion as well.  Everything is constantly in flux, and there is no guarantee that you will stay exactly where you are right now.  I can actually promise that you will never be exactly where you are right now again.  Even if your current home, relationship, or job does not change, your perspective will.  Tomorrow you may wake up in the same bed with the same sheets in your same body, but you will most likely feel differently than you did when you woke up today.  What roofs and blankets cannot do, is keep us safe and comfortable in our internal world.  Only we can do that.    

In our attempt to feel secure, we try to control our external environment.  But in this place, there is no room for the unknown, for freedom, for magic.  We are never actually in control, as we are powerless over other people, places, and situations.  So when we let go of the need for security, we let go of control.  And when we do this, we may at first feel uneasy or uncomfortable because we are pointing the focus inward.  We will continue to feel discomfort until we learn to be totally okay without security.  We feel liberated when we realize that security does not lie in anything we can touch or see.  It lies within. 

Where do you feel insecure?  Self conscious?  Uncertain?  Look there.  What objects give you the illusion of filling these voids or push you to grasp for concrete answers?  Tear your relationship down with those objects.  Let go of your attachments to them.  You don't have to get rid of them, but instead, form new relationships with them.  What can they provide you with when you realize they cannot keep you secure?  How can they serve you in navigating the deepest parts of your inner self?  If answering this feels heavy, start by activating your senses.  Whatever you’re working with - what does it feel like, smell like?  Run you hands over it, take note of the material, shape, and texture.  You’ll start to ground into your body, and the physicality will awaken connection with yourself, so that you can dive into the inner most depths with some genuine comfort.  

Photo by Lauren Moore of my previous home. 


Dive deeper into the work:

Objects & Attachment:  Experiencing Joy through Maitri 
John Baldessari, Of What Use (from Goya Series), 1997

John Baldessari, Of What Use (from Goya Series), 1997

Last week I wrote about the need for space, and as I was writing, I was brought to my final point - that the ultimate way to “get” space is to create it by surrendering.  To let go to allow room for the magic.  I’ve been reading Pema Chodron’s “When Things Fall Apart,” and as I read the chapter on maitri this week, I had many "aha" moments.  I love when the topics I’m exploring show up in many places - books, films, people’s words, etc.  It allows for the studying to become almost intoxicating.  

Maitri is Sanskrit for loving-kindness.  In our culture, sometimes loving-kindness is seen as this grand act of being overly sweet, yet in truth, there is a neutrality to maitri.  In this except from the book, Pema explores the concept of maitri through surrender:

“What makes maitri such a different approach is that we are not trying to solve a problem.  We are not striving to make pain go away or to become a better person.  In fact, we are giving up control altogether and letting concepts and ideas fall apart.

Here's more of her beautiful writing:

“The way to dissolve our resistance to life is to meet it face to face.  When we feel resentment because the room is too hot, we could meet the heat and feel its fieriness and its heaviness.  When we feel resentment because the room is too cold, we could meet the cold and feel its iciness and its bite.  When we want to complain about the rain, we would feel its wetness instead.  When we worry because the wind is shaking our windows, we could meet the wind and hear its sound.  Cutting our experiences for a cure is a gift we can give ourselves.  There is no cure for hot and cold.  They will go on forever.  After we have died, the ebb and flow will still continue.  Like the tides of the sea, like day and night — this is the nature of things.  Being able to appreciate, being able to look closely, being able to open our minds — this is the core of maitri.”

The core of maitri is also the core of this work.  When we see our objects as symbols - they become just that, symbols.  This creates disconnection - the exact opposite of what we are after.  When we are searching for answers in our things, we are in a sense starving ourselves.  Of freedom.  Of joy.  I write about this a lot.  There is no cure for our dissatisfaction.  The key is to meet whatever is there, and in this meeting, we leave room for the joy.  We cry tears of joy because the feelings of overwhelming sadness and overwhelming joy are so similar.  We can experience the joy by observing the pain.  There is beauty in this meeting.

There is also beauty in the meeting of object and human.  Without us, the tea mug is of what use?  Part of the work is acknowledging that our objects just are.  A mug is for drinking tea.  A vase is for holding flowers.  The purpose is straightforward.  But what’s our purpose?  We get to decide that.  We experience maitri by simply being.  By pausing.  By allowing our objects to serve us in order to practice mindfulness.  And in this presence, we create space.  And in this space, we can experience joy.  In order to do this, we must detach from the symbol, and instead, meet the neutrality.  

If you're interested in diving deeper with a session, contact me or book below.