Tuesday, July 10, 2012

One step forward, two steps back

This morning I was talking to a friend, who brought up the notion of detachment.  About a year ago I wrote a blog post about this very same topic.  Though I posted it, no one ever saw it because I wrote it before I told anyone I was writing.  At the time, I was feeling self-congratulatory.  I thought I was really getting a handle on detachment. At least for a moment, I knew and believed (both don't always happen at once), that I could only control my own behavior and no one else's.  I knew and believed that in my interactions with other people, the results were not only up to me.  

A year ago in one particular area of my life, I did, in fact, achieve detachment.  I took action that I felt was right, despite knowing that my action would likely not change the problems going on around me.  I was correct to think nothing would change.  It didn't, as far as I could tell.  Except that I had been changed.  I felt at peace.  I was satisfied with the knowledge that I had acted in accordance with the values I profess to believe.  I was confident that I had acted correctly and to my surprise and delight, I wasn't overly focused on the results of my action, results over which I had no control.  Detachment! Success!  

I think I may have regressed since then.  One step forward, two steps back.  

I have had a love/hate relationship with detachment for a while now.  I love the idea of it.  I hate trying to practice it.  That's not true; I don't hate it.  But I definitely struggle to practice it well.  I achieved success once, but letting go has never been my strong suit, whether it be letting go of things, of relationships gone bad, of my sometimes blind idealism, of my necessity to be right. 

When my friend brought up detachment this morning, I was reminded of my own need to give it a whirl again.  Right now.  I'm sure my current attempt will be followed by many more.  Practice makes perfect, right? 

I recently made a decision that I felt good about.  I felt that I was acting with integrity.  I convinced myself that I would be content with whatever resulted from my actions.  I waited, not so patiently, wondering if having to wait was a good thing or a bad thing.  My impatience for results should have been my first clue that I wasn't as detached to the outcome as I told myself I was.  

Finally, the effects of my actions became clear.  They were not what I had hoped for.  I was disappointed.  I went over what I had done. I still felt that I had acted fairly.  However, it was implied that my actions had, in fact, been dishonest.  Perhaps it was this, rather than the result itself, that plagued me.  Nevertheless, I again responded in a way that I felt was honest and straightforward.  Having done that, I hope that the matter is settled now, that there will be no additional aftereffects, and that I will be content to have learned some lessons, without dwelling on "should" or "but" (I'm not at that point yet).  If there is still more to come, I hope that I will have more grace in receiving and in letting go.  

With what has already happened, I continue to work on accepting and moving on.  I am trying to breathe deep.  With each breath I take consciously, I try to breathe out just a little more of what I need to let go.  My internal playlist is helping me, as it is playing a lovely a capella song in Spanish that just happens to be about letting go.  

Maybe eventually in my quest for detachment, I'll progress to two steps forward, one step back. Maybe sometimes I'll even take more steps forward without any steps back.  I think I have some work ahead of me.     

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