I get attached too easily.
Sometimes this can be the smallest thing that will make no sense to anyone (but me) and will result in me carrying around some ridiculous object for years. I hate to even admit what some of these items might be, but for the sake of example I better share something.
Amongst other items, I have a very old organ. I’m not talking about my heart or liver, but literally a physical organ as in the musical instrument. I have carried this from home to home for years and it generally has sat in some room, and currently sits in my garage…un-played. Now, before you start thinking this is some sort of antique and worth lots to someone, stop there since that would not be accurate. Although it is old, it was never an antique. It was bought in my lifetime, but likely a cheap model at the time…honestly, it is nothing special.
So, why keep it?
Well, it is rather special…to me. This organ belonged to my grandmother and I remember when she purchased it. It is not so much the organ itself as it is what it represents. She wrote on a small piece of paper at one time in her very elegant handwriting, that she would like me to have this organ. She used to play an organ in various churches when she was younger and although never stepped near the doors of a church during my lifetime, insisted on having the organ in her house to play for herself. I can remember well the lovely sound she could produce from it when she sat down to play.
Why my grandmother decided to pass this onto me, I am not exactly sure. I did take an interest in it while visiting her and would often play it for her in my amateur way. During one of these visits was when she had written this note. At the time, she still had lots of years left. I believe my mother had the note, which is how it got to be mine.
When my grandmother died, I was still in limbo with my life, so could not provide a home for the organ. This is how it ended up with my parents, which they took on a wee bit reluctantly. And this is where it sat…for years.
When I finally did settle down for a little while, the organ was quickly moved over to my place, free delivery by my parents. I set it up right in my living room and at times would pretend to play, but better yet, welcome the conversations it would start.
And then I moved again. It was a stressful time and I needed to rid myself of many possessions, which led to the question…what to do with the organ. Obviously, it was not something I needed and could just as easily sell or give away. I chose to keep it.
Now, as mentioned above, this same organ sits in my garage, untouched.
So, back to my attachment problem.
In this example, it is purely out of sentimental reasons that I continue to hold onto this object that I am not using and is not worth anything.
To put it simply, my grandmother was a character. Her spirit lives through me, I am sure, especially during moments of living impulsively. The organ reminds me of this spirit.
But it still does not explain my need to hold onto it.
With this need, we are living in a distorted reality. We believe we need the item or the person to be whole, when the truth is we are limiting ourselves by being attached to anything.
What would happen if we no longer had the thing to which we feel so attached?
Well, let’s go back to my organ example. If I finally decided to let go of my organ by giving it away to a good home or even selling it, how will this impact my life? For starters, it will likely give me more room in my garage.
But, what about that attachment I feel to my grandmother whenever I see it? The thing is, that part does not go away. It’s impossible to remove a memory from within me…the rest is just stuff.
If we stop to think about it, it is the connections in our lives that we need to value…not the attachments. Attachments can be suffocating and limit other decisions we make in our life. We may be so attached to something, that we are blind to what we are missing.
The other side of letting go to an attachment is the freedom you feel. I know from other attachments I’ve had in my life that once I do make the decision to let go, I am grateful for the new life I am giving myself.
In the end, attachments are only ideas…ones we have led ourselves to believe are crucial to hold onto. Once we do accept letting go, we feel lighter and suddenly see clearer.
This also leaves us room to focus on the connections in our lives.
I know one of the ways I connected with my grandmother was through this organ. This is what caused me to become attached to it after it became mine. I felt (feel) like if I do get rid of it, it is almost like saying I forget her and no longer value the connection.
Of course, this could not be any further from reality. Since the organ has been in the garage, I am not even looking at it often to feel reminded of this. However, if I allow myself space inside of me to remember the times I had with my grandmother and of her sitting there playing, I know that connection can never be lost.
Again, the organ is simply the material item that became representative of that relationship. The relationship doesn’t change based on whether I keep it or not.
I know, you are likely thinking – sure, this makes sense for a material item, but how can I say this about a person?
But I am saying the same thing about our attachments to people. In my experience, when a human relationship becomes about attachment, this only leads to feelings of jealousy, insecurity, low self-esteem, or comparing to others…all triggers to not so happy results.
It is when we form connections to other humans that we can also be ourselves. Attachments rarely offer the chance for us to know ourselves well.
So, why do we do it anyway?
Attachments can easily take the attention away from ourselves. When we are a bit leery about looking inside of us, we will distract ourselves with another need. This can often lead to forming an attachment and then that just becomes comfortable.
It is like our routine or an old habit. The thought of changing it up can feel a little scary since we would not know how to fill in that space or even worse…we are forced to look inward and get to know ourselves.
But it is through this getting to know ourselves that we begin to understand a deeper connection. We no longer need to hold onto the attachment since it becomes less relevant. It is the connections we feel that are so powerful and real.
Attachments are like an idea we form in our head. Connections are feelings within us that never go away.