Aparigraha: Nonattachment

Recently, I was talking to a friend about the possibility of her moving. "How do you feel about it?" I asked her. She was cool as a freaking cucumber. I asked her if it would be hard to leave the life she had built, and she nonchalantly was like, nah it'd be a good thing.

And I just thought: damn, that's amazing. Because I think I'd have a really hard time leaving, I feel so attached to this city and the life I've created here. I look at my friend with a lot of admiration, because she too loves Columbus and her life here... but she didn't seem to cling to it in the same way I totally do... which brings us to our next ad final yama: aparigraha, nonattachment.

Let's start with Deborah Adele's definition, she gives two:

1. "Aparigraha invites us to enjoy life to the fullest and yet always be able to drop everything and run into the waiting arms of the Divine."

2. "Aparigraha, or nonpossessiveness, can also be interpreted as nonattachment, nongreed, nonclinging, nongrasping, and noncoveting; we can simply think of it as being able to 'let go.'"

"What we try to possess, possesses us," she says.

Mmmmmmm. Let that soak in, right?! Like... ding ding ding! TRUTH BOMB ALERT.

Let's look at it from both sides... the good and the bad things I attach myself to.

Starting with the "GOOD" things: my boyfriend, my puppy, my yoga practice, cycling...

All are wonderful things, right? Of course! But when I stop and think, there is something to be said for not holding on too tight to any one of the above. Because if/when I do... they drag me down instead of give me life and happiness. 

For instance, in my relationship. I love Alex with my whole heart. He's my person, and I am so grateful to have him in my life. Life is straight up better with him in it. But if I were to hold on so tightly and attach myself to him so much, I would lose myself in him. I would compromise myself, my identity, my unique self. 

In yoga, attachment can come in the forms of holding onto the idea of obsessing over a pose. And then consequently beating myself up when I can't do said pose, OR feeling egotistical when I can...

In cycling, attachment has shown up for me in a form of exercise addiction that I had back in college. Needing to workout and burn calories... or else

Aparigraha teaches us to soak up all of these good things, enjoy them to the fullest, be nourished by them... but then also be able to release them and let go in an instant... she relates it to breath: each breath we take in is life-giving, it nourishes us. And then we let it go, fully and completely... the same should go with all of life's experiences.

I then think about the harmful things I'm attached to. I think about the food/exercise/body image struggles I had growing up.

For most of my adolescence and even into my young adult years, I clung to the idea that I had to look a certain way in order to be loved or be valued. I did everything I could to fit this societal "ideal." I held onto it so tightly that it has taken me years to let it go, and it is still a daily work in progress.

And if I could tell you one harmful thing I wanted to fully and completely let go of right now, it would be the remains of that "perfect body need" and all that goes with it, because while I've come a LONG way, the little voice still creeps up here and there. 

It's so hard to let go of because I held onto it so hard, for so long.

Nonattachment. Mmmmhmmm, ya'll. It's a good one. It takes us deep. 

I'll end with one more Deborah Adele quote because it's brilliant:

"A bird cannot hold its perch and fly. Neither can we grasp anything and be free."

... drop mic, walk off stage. Let THAT marinate.