Attachment. In some spiritual communities this is a bit of a dirty word—and with good reason. Getting too attached to people, places, things, ideas, or beliefs stops the creative process. Once we are fully hooked in, our expectations naturally follow suit and that is where things get sticky. It’s common place now to talk about letting go of expectations, something I’ve often written about. But is it the expectation we need to let go of, or our attachment to it?
When I am operating from a place of attachment it’s nearly impossible to be objective much less creative. I’m not going to definitely say it’s totally impossible because there are exceptions to everything and it’s a matter of personal experience. I am a person who naturally gravitates towards attachment because I like feeling grounded, steady, secure. However, I know from over a decade of intense spiritual work that personal security is an inside job. Knowing that I still get swept up from time to time in the idea that some how, some way, this magical outside source will make me feel okay. Getting attached to anything on the outside or inside if we really want to be honest is grounds for becoming stagnant, uninspired, even more fearful, and disconnected.
Lately I’ve had the pleasure of taking on more private clients and I have been working at becoming less attached to an outcome regarding their situations, and more into becoming curious about who they are. This comes from my desire to work collaboratively instead of as a wellness dictator. In order for real change and health to occur, we need to dig deep and curiosity is the way.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone that was genuinely interested in you? They listened well, asked thoughtful questions, and had a lightness about them that made you feel heard and seen? This is the difference between interrogation and curiosity. And I know we’ve all been interrogated at some point in our lives maybe even by our own parents ;)
Curiosity means the desire to know. It’s about learning, keeping an open mind, diving into a sea of possibilities, brainstorming without judgement, getting silly if that’s what’s needed. When we want to know or understand something it can take the pressure off being attached to a belief or outcome. It would be easy for me to tell a client to eat 2 cups of raw kale per day, fully believe I know best, and be disappointed when the client didn’t comply. Or, I could be curious about their eating and lifestyle habits and work with them to get to the bottom of why it’s challenging for them to eat that kale.
This applies in my own life on a daily basis. I cannot tell you how many times in a day I have to stop, take a breath, and refocus myself in order to come from a place of genuine interest and non-attachment about my life. Some days it’s easy breezy. I’m in the flow, working, connecting, in sync with everything, feeling open and creative to the world. Other days I’m grumpy, in pain, or just in a weird space and it takes a while to get into my groove and come from a place of curiosity rather than fear aka attachment.
Like everything we do it’s a practice and it’s one of my favorites these days. The more I am willing to take a meta view of my life and ask thoughtful, objective questions, the more my creative energy rises to the surface – that is where things get interesting. When I’m attached to my ideas and expect things to be a certain way my world gets super small. I don’t want to live in a vacuum or in a tiny little world.
Luckily I have countless opportunities each day to work my curiosity muscle. I am a student and teacher of yoga. I can explore my own practice and guide my students to examine theirs. I can reach out to folks on social media and ask them provocative questions. When I notice I am in fear and wanting to cling and tighten my grip I can take a step back. Pause. Breathe. Resume from a new place.
No matter where we are of what we do, becoming curious is an essential piece of any life well lived. Curiosity, I’m in for the long haul. Let’s work together to explore, discover, crave a new path, and learn as much as we can.