Wednesday, July 22, 2009

releasing attachment

I talk about releasing attachment to outcome all the time in my classes, in fact, it is the cornerstone of all that I teach. When we are attached to outcome, we miss the magic of the process, the purely transformative magic that happens when we see and experience each moment as it unfolds. For birth that means allowing ourselves to be fully in the moment, not doing labour math or worrying how hard it will be to push. Rather, being connected to the moment, to our babies and to ourselves. This is what birthing in awareness is all about.

But what about living in awareness? Or even better, parenting in awareness? As I move through each summer day with my children, I am faced each morning with the grand question..."What are we going to do today?" Are we going to have a quiet home day of playing in the garden, reading stories and painting? Or are we going to go on some kind of adventure? Whatever the activity for the day, it is often with the notion that my children will get something out of it, that they will feel like we spent a good time together and hopefully at the end of the day they will be tired and have had their need for one-on-one attention filled.

Some days this happens, some days it doesn't. Those days it doesn't it seems like I could have taken them on a space trip to the moon and still they arrive home unhappy, cranky, demanding my attention in all the wrong ways. They are upset. I am upset. Everyone is grouchy. I feel frustrated as though all that time I spent was for nothing. I also feel this way about cooking dinner when the reaction I get is "Ewwww, this looks disgusting" My cooking actually isn't all that bad, apparently my son just has a very discerning palate.

Anyway, what I realized tonight after yet another stressful bedtime was that maybe if I released my attachment to the outcome of the day, activity, whatever, with my kids and just enjoyed the moment, (even if it meant that later they would have a meltdown as though I had done nothing with them), I would be able to be present in the wonderful moment that I was in with them. Even if that moment was temporary. Well, I guess all moments are temporary, that's why they are called moments.

It really got me thinking, how often do we do things with or for our children with the hope and intention that it will result in something great. And when it doesn't, we feel let down, maybe even resentful. But if we were able to take the kids to the river (for example) just for taking them to the river, not for some desired outcome, we would feel a whole lot happier and maybe a little less frustrated. I guess this is what mindfulness is all about, have I unknowingly been practicing mindlessness? Is this a case of "those who can't do, teach"? No, I think we just all have to arrive on our own time.

Are you attached to outcome?

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