I have recently embarked on a journey to share more with those around me. For so long I have found myself desiring to share and connect with others on a deeper level. I have watched others do so and have participated in many spiritual events from meditation and yoga classes to ecstatic dance and plant medicine ceremonies. I have been the student for all of my life (and always will remain so), but I feel I am stepping into new shoes.
I am stepping into a phase of my life where I desire to hold space for others in the same way that so many have held space for me throughout my journey.
I have created a six week series of sessions that I have title "Weekly Zen." Each session is just 30 minutes long and is either on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening from 7:00-7:30 pm CST. In these sessions I am offering short and loving yoga flows, guided meditations that I've written myself with intention, deep breathwork sessions, and singing bowl sound therapy. I am also discussing different topics that I find pertinent to the life I am creating for myself. These topics include easy, practical ways to live a healthier and more fulfilling life. I am also collaborating with fellow creators, friends, and anyone who feels inspired to do so!
I don't claim to know it all. All I do know is that the most impactful resources I have been given in my life have come from people I actually know, or from friends of friends, not the biggest influence on any given subject. There is a big difference between searching for the 20 minute yoga or meditation video on youtube versus showing up live with someone you know. That is the kind of connection I am cultivating in my life, and what I encourage in the lives of others as well.
I would like to share with you all how the first Weekly Zen session that was held on Tuesday, June 8th went. I collaborated with a powerful woman and dear friend of mine, Lina Nelson. Lina discussed the "Feeling without Judgment" section of the session. She shared so much wisdom about navigating our emotions, being present while we are experiencing both positive and negative emotions, and made an incredible comparison between our emotional state and a compass. Lina noted that when we look at a compass we do not judge north versus south versus east versus west - we simply accept them as they are, that that is the direction the compass is pointing us in. She went on to discuss how viewing our emotional state in the same way as we view a compass can liberate us, and give us great indications of why we are feeling a certain way. As a group we shared a guided meditation centered around sharing authentically that I wrote myself. This was the first time I have ever shared something I've written with so many people. I then discussed the topic of practicing non-attachment. Below is what I wrote about what practicing non-attachment is to me.
Non-attachment is a state in which a person overcomes their attachment to desire for things, people or concepts of the world and thus attains a heightened perspective. This is the textbook definition of non-attachment, but have you ever thought about what it means to you?
What non-attachment means to me is freeing myself from my own expectations that I put on myself and from the expectations that we’ve created on a societal level. Instead of attempting to force myself into any particular mold or way of life, I allow myself to become unattached to one outcome versus another.
Staying open to any outcome primes you for living a more relaxed and happy life.
If you are not searching for just one single possibility, you allow yourself to remain open to things that you may not have even known you would enjoy or need.
If you are content with multiple possibilities, you are mathematically more likely to reach an outcome that satisfies you in your life.
A helpful practice is trusting that what is presenting itself to you at any given time is for your highest good.
Settling into the knowing that there is an opportunity to learn from difficulty and perhaps even being grateful that you are being given a chance to dive deeper into who you are through seeing how you handle something new.
This trickles into the deeper meaning of non-attachment to me, which is freedom from relying on anyone, anything, or any habit.
When was the last time that you took stock of what you rely on?
What would you do without that glass of wine before bed?
That external need that you have for anything?
I’m not saying that we can have absolutely zero attachments. We obviously need food, water, sunlight, and social connection to survive, but beyond those things, most of
what we attach ourselves to is non-essential and thus, a choice.
Whether that choice be conscious or unconscious, whether it is perceived as a choice or not, it is still a choice.
Attachment is a part of being a human being. It is simply in our nature to grow attached to things. We need others to survive and we cultivate attachments from a very young age.
As much as attachment makes us human, it also limits our view of the world around us.
Imagine what your brain would be capable of if you cleared out all of the clutter that you stay attached to.
Imagine how it would feel to not obsess over that person, the way things could have been different.
No one is capable of completely being unattached to everything, so at the very least we should be conscious of what we attach ourselves to.
If you can't "beat" the need for attachment, so to speak, try to attach yourself to beneficial things.
Attach yourself to someone or something that is lifting you up. That gives you strength and purpose.
Notice what you are giving your energy to.
How long did you creep through that girl's instagram page and how many times did you zoom in on her body?
How much time and energy do you dedicate to wishing you were different in some way?
There is nothing wrong with wishing for more.
But wishing for more with no action to get yourself to “more” is just giving away your power.
Attachment to comparison and self loathing is giving away your power.
It is also important to note that in order to ever achieve "more," you must be grateful for what you already have.
It can be so hard to break these cycles that we’ve been in for so long.
It all starts with making the conscious effort to pause, become aware, and pull yourself out of an undesired attachment cycle.
As I thought about this topic and wrote out what I wanted to say, I became more and more bothered by the word “achieving.”
We commonly hear "achieving non-attachment."
Non-attachment is not about achieving anything. It is about simply being.
It’s silly that that was the initial wording that came to my mind for this topic.
As a whole, we are so obsessed with, or attached to, achieving things.
Perhaps this is the root of all of our attachments?
Without our status, who would we be?
I’d also like to emphasize that non-attachment is not a place that you one day arrive to.
It is a fluctuating dance that you hopefully get better and better at through practice.
There is no mastering or perfection here.
The hope is that through giving yourself large amounts of patience and grace that you start to see the changes you’ve been desiring in your life.
Think about the last time you were upset that you were feeling a certain way…
Not upset about SOMETHING, but upset about your REACTION to something.
We are all attached to feeling and being a certain way.
“Negative” emotions make us raw and uncomfortable.
We prefer to stay on the lighter side of things. That way we can convince ourselves and others that we’ve got it all together.
The Buddha told a story of a man who sat along the side of a river and watched the water flow by him.
Sometimes the water was rushing and violent. Sometimes the water was entirely still and crystal clear.
No matter what the state of the river was on any given day, the man who sat and watched was unaffected.
He could get up and walk closer to the river if he wanted.
He could dip one toe in to test the waters.
He could wade in up to his knees or dive in head first.
We are the thinkers of our thoughts and the feelers of our feelings, but if we can sit on the riverbank without interacting with them, this is where our freedom lies.
Recognize that feelings are temporal - they are in the moment. They will always pass.
What we can control is the ease with which our feelings pass through us.
As you place more attachment to only feeling positive emotions, the current grows stronger when negative emotions come up for us.
Do you decide to jump into the river as the water is rushing, or do you wait to wade in at your convenience and comfort when the water has calmed?
The decision is yours.
I hope you derive some sense of recognition, peace, or accordance with this message. If you do not, that is okay too. I'm not too attached to how this might be perceived. If you are interested in joining my Weekly Zen sessions, feel free to send me your email via the messaging feature on my website, or visit my instagram @edenzengarden to sign up there. The session dates are: June 16th @7-7:30 pm CST, June 22nd @7-7:30 pm CST, June 30th @7-7:30 pm CST, July 6th @7-7:30 pm CST, and July 14th @7-7:30 pm CST. I do not know where this is leading me, or if I will continue beyond the six weeks that I have planned - we shall see! Pause, take a deep breath, hold it in and smiiiiile, now release. Thanks for being here.