Caring about things just can’t be bad.
After all, the life of passion and pride and purpose requires that we are deeply connected to everything we do, right?
But… I have seen something weird happen when I’ve become really deeply involved in a project I care about and then sort of freeze or become panicked at bringing it to life. After all, this is no longer an art project or design or writing… this is now a part of me. And I want to be sure that this part of me goes in the best way I can possibly imagine it can go.
Weirdly, the more I cared about something the more difficult it became to actually do things!
Do you get really deeply attached to projects, to your work or to anything or anyone to the point where your passion and desire to succeed starts to make you panic, worry or otherwise freeze-up – or even want to quit- because the stakes are so high?
Apparently, this is very common. It’s not just me… or you… that has this happened to! And… it doesn’t have to be a thing you do any more! (really!)
A friend was stuck. Her passion project was going nowhere. She stopped caring. She actually wanted to leave the big city of New York and head back home to the South. She had lots of heartbreak surrounding her work and this passion project- a creative project so brilliant that everyone who saw it (*and only very powerful people saw it!) literally jumped on the chance to ask to be involved. But she has a few big upsets happen in other parts of her life and suddenly, as much as she cared about the project, she couldn’t seem to get motivated to do anything all day.
It was weird how it happened. She looked at me and said, ” I just don’t care any more and want to maybe even rethink my whole career.”
And I thought, ” Well, if you really don’t care what happens to this art project now, and you want to move away, you might as well do whatever you can to get it out in the world before you just move, you know? I mean… if you really don’t care what happens, there is no worst-case-scenario….”
I was stunned.
It was like I figured out my own problem in years of sitting on creative projects in one sentence intended for a friend. Something that seemed sort of fun and common sense.
“If you don’t really care what happens, there is no worst-case-scenario.”
She is doing amazing things now. Not caring about outcomes doesn’t mean you don’t care about what you are doing… it just means you aren’t basing your wellbeing on the way things shake out.
Have you ever heard the concept that you can’t negotiate if you aren’t willing to truly, completely walk away?
It seems to be true!
Deepak Chopra answered a Q & A on Oprah.com from a woman who was trying to figure out how to become less attached to the outcomes in her life. In his response he wrote:
How do you know you are attached to something? The object of attachment can be anything: a great job, nice house, a satisfying relationship. It can be a prized possession or liking the way you look in the mirror. None of these things are attachments unless they pass one test: Are you afraid to lose them? Whatever you cannot lose without fear and distress, that thing is stuck to you. You identify with it. You are attached. (whole article is HERE)
He calls this the Law of Detachment. He talks about it in depth in his book, The Seven Spritual Laws Of Success. And he illuminates the idea on his website:
1. Today I will commit myself to detachment. I will allow myself and those around me the freedom to be as they are. I will not rigidly impose my idea of how things should be. I will not force solutions on problems, thereby creating new problems. I will participate in everything with detached involvement.
2. Today I will factor in uncertainty as an essential ingredient of my experience. In my willingness to accept uncertainty, solutions will spontaneously emerge out of the problem, out of the confusion, disorder, and chaos. The more uncertain things seem to be, the more secure I will feel, because uncertainty is my path to freedom. Through the wisdom of uncertainty, I will find my security.
3. I will step into the field of all possibilities and anticipate the excitement that can occur when I remain open to an infinity of choices. When I step into the field of all possibilities, I will experience all the fun, adventure, magic, and mystery of life.
You can read all about detachment in this way HERE. If you are very much attached to outcomes (*you probably know if you are, you are likely stressing out that everything needs to go the way you hope it will!) it is a very good read!
Now I like to think of detachment and unlimited possibility.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I had a really cool chat with a Buddhist priest about why psychics and tarot cards are deemed by some Buddhists as “bad.” He explained that nothing was “bad” but that predictions from experts (or oracle devices) carry an expectation of an outcome. Some people become attached to that outcome (even if they aren’t aware of it) and, next thing you know, they are limited by the prediction. Life itself in Buddhist philosophy is unlimited, so when you limit possibility in this way you are working against the power of the practice and its unlimited nature.
This was sort of mind-blowing.
Are you carrying around deep emotional attachment to an outcome (or many)?!
Can you see a way to loosen your grip on the way you exactly want it to be?
If the idea of needing to be detached from the outcome rings true for you, please let me know. Drop me a comment below or a message at email@example.com. I feel like this is a very big conversation to have, and I’m excited to hear as many voices as possible, and new ways to view this idea! xoxo Dana
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I feel the opposite! I feel I am so detached from things that I find it hard to get attached to anything! Consequently I push everything (career wise) away and never let anything develop. Silly I know 🙂
Soooooo love your blog,
wow. interesting. thank you for sharing this. and i think nothing’s silly 🙂
Detachment – my intention of the year! Not just re the outcome, but in general. I need to remind myself to detach, literally from everything. Learn to take it (what ever happens) more easy, be playful, less serious. I usually write my intention as one word on the door to my garden, as a pass through a couple of times a day and so I see that reminder regularly. It works quite well 🙂