Detachment strikes a chord. . .

Many recent readers have commented specifically on some of my earlier posts dealing with detachment.  This is like music to my ears since detachment has been one of my favorite topics to write and speak about in lectures and workshops for the past few years.  (See for a listing of my books).

I think writers generally stick close to those areas that have special meaning for them and from childhood into adulthood, I was far too attached to others for my good feelings, and my self-esteem.  I commonly let how friends looked at me or talked to me define how I saw myself.  Strangers had a similar effect on me. Some writers, myself included, refer to this as codependency.  The label, itself, isn’t important but the concept is.  Being “codependent” imprisons us, thus doesn’t allow any person the freedom to complete the journey she (or he) is here to fulfill.

I was introduced to this concept in a book I read in 1971, a book by author John Powell, a Jesuit priest.  In Why Am I Afraid To Tell You Who I Am he shared a story about a friend of his who wasn’t controlled in any sense by the harsh treatment he received on a daily basis by the likes of a certain individual.  Powell was both amazed and aghast, actually.  His friend quite calmly explained, “Why should I let him determine what kind of day I am going to have?”

I was astounded by those words.  It had never occurred to me that how others behaved didn’t have to affect me.  Every body’s words or scowls or unseeing eyes had always defined me.  I ached to be indifferent to these “slurs,” but didn’t have any idea how to become the woman I wanted to be.  It wasn’t until I began my journey in the 12 step rooms that I was able to see that there was another path for me to follow.  Doing an inventory and discovering just who I was, both the good and not so good parts, was the beginning I needed to evolve into the woman I am now.

I look back on my life and all those experiences with others, particularly those I didn’t understand at the time, with gratitude now.  Every one of them helped to catapult me into the life I now enjoy, moment by moment.  The same is true for you, of course.  We are a composite of all that happened from the first day of life until now.  No part of it could have been left out or we’d not be us.  And it’s us that the world around us needs in this very instant.  Let’s rejoice.


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