Yesterday was my birthday and I LOVE birthdays. They inspire celebration of life and I always feel so loved on the special day. This year I am having fun, but at the same time I discovered that I’m having trouble letting go of the past. Generally, I find I don’t cling to the past. This year since so much is changing for me right now – moving, getting married, developing the coaching side of my business, etc – I have been having trouble saying goodbye to younger me. Just this week I accidentally told a friend that I was turning 21 this year! This was not intentional, but a slip of the tongue.
With birthdays come changes, and this year on change was updating my drivers license. It expired yesterday so I went to the DMV to renew it. As I stood there handing over my multiple forms of identification I looked down to see the envelope that my parents had been keeping my birth certificate in. It was still in its original envelope listing their names and home address. At that moment my eyes began to well up with tears. It hit me that I was no longer my parents little girl or a Jersey girl, and I had finally crossed over to being an independent adult and resident of New York State. (I will note that I have lived in NYC for the past 6 years, and I am just now letting go of my NJ license.)
Finding myself tearing up over a drivers license I began to ask myself what was this attachment about? In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras vairagya (non-attachment) is described in sutra I.15 as – When the mind loses desire even for objects seen or described in a tradition or in scriptures, it acquires a state of utter (vashikara) desirelessness that is called non-attachment (vairagya). (drista anushravika vishaya vitrishnasya vashikara sanjna vairagyam).
Each experience we have creates an impression in our minds and it is within our power to choose whether or not we allow that thought pattern to continue to engage in our minds. The practice of non-attachment is not the suppression of thoughts or telling yourself “I am not attached”. It is the act of letting go. Gradually we begin to cease to cling to the fluctuations of the mind. Not attaching to the past or future. Being present with what is right now.
The simple attachment to who I was when I first got my drivers license was within me and getting a NY one brought that impression out. Once I began the thought process of watching my thoughts, and where they were coming from I was able to begin to let go of what was no longer serving me.
So how can you begin the process of letting go? Start with the practice below:
Live Light Practice:
What is an attachment that you are clinging to? How does this attachment support you? What can you do to release the attachment?