Letting Go: Time Travel Through Attachment and Memory

A day before my yoga training began; I had a realization of one of my life purposes. I truly believe that one of my roles on this planet is to teach people how to fall in love with who they are, body and soul. I am reminded of my time in Paris, The City of Lights and Love. While dining on the Eiffel Tower, as snow glistened through the window, tears rolled down my cheeks. The experience was so surreal, and I knew. I knew I was ready to fall in love. A tad naive, and three years later, I now realize I attached that love (or what I thought was love) to a person, as opposed to my true first love, myself.

As humans, we habitually hold attachments, and often hold on to things we shouldn’t, for longer than we should. We attach ourselves to other people, even though they may be toxic to our well-being. We attach ourselves to memories, how a person made us feel, or maybe what he or she saved us from. We attach ourselves to emotions, a close cousin of memory, there often cannot be one without the other. We attach ourselves to wealth and material items, like the pile of stuffed animals in the corner of our parents’ basement that bring us back to our childhood. Each day, every person around us is carrying some kind of attachment, some kind of weight he or she may not be willing to share with the world, or even, him or herself. 

For me, detachment has been a lesson I was never eager to embrace.  Even if there was some sense of need to let go, I just was not ready. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with that. Now, personally, I can see a bigger picture as opposed to fantasies in my head. I am someone who has let people consume me, even control me in friendships and romantic relationships. Even when people were not in my daily life, I was a victim of memory and emotions tied to their identities. It was not wholly the responsibility of these individuals to blame; it was my tendency to prioritize fantasy over reality.  I am a dreamer, I always hope I remain one, but I am learning that there is a much-needed dose of reality to balance that side of myself.

 My awareness of my attachments, merely thoughts in my head that I am in control of, help me release the ones that no longer serve me. The friendships that fueled negativity and imbalance, the relationships that bred toxicity and stagnancy. Fantasies of certain people and relationships, of where they could go or could have gone, held me back from other beautiful people in my life. We so easily let our thoughts consume us, take us away from our pain, or pain we refuse to acknowledge in ourselves. The past will haunt us, and if we’re not careful, it will seep into our present. It will tear through meaningful relationships; ones that never had a chance to blossom. It will take us away from friendships and leave us surrounded by things instead of ideas and voices. It will leave us lonely and empty-hearted and consumed by the mundane. It will keep us close to home, and we may never act out the courage to explore the world, or the depths of ourselves.

At the root of attachment, is fear. From a gender perspective, men are taught to hold in their emotions, while women are taught to exhale them, to bleed, to embrace their femininity. I am a highly sensitive and intuitive person. I feel everything very deeply. Love and pain are rooted within me, and I acknowledge that and let myself feel as needed. As I have become comfortable in expressing my vulnerabilities and sharing my emotions, I cannot imagine keeping them locked within me again. I was haunted for so long by my own mind, by what could be or could have been. I was a prisoner to emotions that I was afraid to disclose. Once I found that freedom in release, I was so much more content within myself and my thought processes. 

I think part of the reason, we cling so tightly to people and material items from our past is because they are tangible. We see them as vehicles to travel back to a certain point in time. A certain feeling. We think that releasing them means we no longer will reach that part of ourselves again, or we are somehow tossing them away. But if we devote that same sense of longing of those people and things,  to ourselves, we can live through those memories on a daily basis and use them to propel us forward, instead of pulling our heart-strings in painful melodies. As we learn to devote that love to ourselves, we are able to grow and reach our true potential in friendships, relationships, and maybe even our purpose in the world. 

I wish I could return back to that moment in Paris, sipping champagne and gazing through tears as each snowflake fell. I still have a box of memories from that trip, including the receipt from the restaurant. In some sense, I have returned to that moment. I met my memories halfway, and moved forward in a positive relationship with myself, as opposed to my original fantasy. Upon that realization, I know I am meant to help others seek the same sense of happiness and inner peace that I have found within myself. 

"Memory is a wonderful thing if you don't have to deal with the past.."