By Nancy Rynes, author of Awakenings from the Light
Have you ever noticed that sometimes, the harder you try to grab on to something you desperately want, the faster it slips away from you?
|Locked gate, by Jessica Patterson (under Creative Commons)|
Now contrast that with another area of my life: my art. Sales of my artwork have been "Ok" (steady but not spectacular), and I have been very stressed, anxious, and overly-involved in striving to increase sales. It seems that the more emotionally attached I am to my art needing to sell well, the more I seem to try to brute-force an outcome. And when I try to force something to happen, my goal slips right through my fingers. I run up against one roadblock after another and the result is inner turmoil.
So what gives? Why does this happen?
Let's leave out attachments to people for now and focus on attachments to things, ideas, goals, etc. Some very basic level of attachment to things may help us: we're pretty attached to eating every day so we do some kind of work in order to put food on the table. But that's not the kind of attachment I'm talking about. I'm talking about the kind of attachment that gets in the way of Divine grace working in our lives. The kind of attachment I have had about my art sales is a good example.
This unceasing need to have things work out "just right" (in other words, the way we imagine it should be in our own minds) is simply clingy and controlling. We are trying to cling to an idea that may actually not be the best end game for us. Or we are trying to control a situation in which we're out of our league. As humans, we sure love our sense of control even if it's simply an illusion.
And control is an illusion in many instances. When it comes right down to it, the only things we really can control are the words we speak, the actions we take, and to some extent our thoughts and feelings. That's it. We might be able to influence more around us, but we truly cannot control most of what happens in the wider world out there.
Extreme attachment to a specific outcome can prevent us from achieving what we want for a variety of reasons, but I'll keep it to the spiritual for now (for a more thorough treatment of this topic, I have one full chapter on it in Awakenings from the Light). Clinging to the need for a particular outcome actually pushes the Divine grace away faster than anything else.
Attachment leaves little room for God to work in our lives. It prevents Spirit from helping out and perhaps bringing us something even better than we could have imagined. Sometimes I picture God simply saying with a chuckle, "Ok if you think you're so smart, let's just see what happens when I step back and let you try it your way for a while..."*
Think about it: if you're hellbent on a specific outcome that absolutely must happen the way you think it should, you may very well ignore other opportunities that come along because they don't fit your preconceived ideas. In my case, with my art sales, I had it in my brain that the only way I would achieve my financial goals is to have X number of galleries representing my art. I had my mind focused exclusively on the idea that gallery representation was the only way to sell art. And while it can be a great way to sell artwork, it's certainly not the only way to do so.
My attachment to a specific outcome has, in essence, shut out God and Divine grace. When I realized this, I also realized that it was time to change my mindset.
In my next post, I'll talk about being grateful for what you have now, some ideas for letting go, and how you might change the way you view the concept of "manifesting."
*For a fun read on this subject, check out Deepak Chopra's book Why Is God Laughing?