My head hangs and my mouth is down-turned in a frown of disappointment and sadness. I must look pitiful, and it definitely has an effect on him. He reaches out to grab me and pull me close to comfort and console and I melt into his embrace, receiving the closeness that I so want, yet saddened even deeper in the exact same moment because in my occurring world, he reaches out for the wrong reason. What do I truly want from him anyway? Here’s what I say I want as a frequent declaration, spouted out as unconscious confetti thoughts with no mooring in reality: I want a partner. I want closeness. Intimacy. To be cherished. To laugh. To communicate. I want to be wanted. I want sexual attraction, emotional cohesion, spiritual inspiration, mutual respect. I want to create a life with someone. I want depth, relatedness, passion, adventure, love, tenderness, play. I want, I want, I want. My wants in life are many, most assuredly in the arena of love. This man who I share my time with, the poor thing. He hasn’t a chance in hell to maneuver my minefield of wants, desires and attachments to how life and love SHOULD be, and I suffer greatly in the face of my attachments.
This afternoon I find myself conversing with a great teacher and he tells me, “Your life is ruled by your attachments. Often times they are not even yours. You inherit them the minute you are born, and you live like they are real, but they are simply hand me down expectations of how life “should” be. Fairy tales. Stories. All made up. You are attached to what the perfect “HE” should look like, how he should treat you, who he should be, what he should do and that limits your scope of what’s actually present before your eyes. It’s painful for you to be with this man you speak of because you are attached to what love should look like, and based on your attachment, he does not measure up and never will. No one will for that matter. Attachments are so stubborn. They keep your vision small and constrict the flow of life. You can’t be freely in the presence of this person because your attachment to how things should be different choke out all other possibilities.”
He spoke the truth to me in that moment. Not like the be all, end all truth and wisdom of the ages, but in that moment I really heard him and got a glimpse of how I operate in the world. In many areas of my life I flow freely, like a river unhindered. In others, namely relationships I constrict and back up like water slowed by brambles of debris, clogging the natural current of my life and love force. My attachments can be as subtle and harmless as beaver dams made from twigs, sticks and logs, or as formidable as the monstrosity that is the Glenn Canyon Dam. A cement wall barricading the mighty Colorado. When my head hangs and my mouth is down-turned in a frown of disappointment and sadness, I am without a doubt in the impact of a concrete attachment.
So what to do? I now have this fresh awareness around how my existence is largely ruled by attachments, but what the hell do I do with it? What I got from my conversation this afternoon was that dismantling my attachments is no small feat. Many of them I literally inherited thru my culture, my gender, my generation. I just swallowed them like sticky pills as if they were the truth, not to be questioned. To move forward in the world empowered by this new realization I simply acknowledge that I am attached to the way various things should be, and in that recognition I am able to separate the attachment from the reality of a moment. I’m then free to be present to the moment and to the person sharing the moment with me. I’m free to be with whatever is, because whatever is in that particular moment is simply what is. Already, I feel lighter.