I did not know compassionate detachment the way I know it intimately now having children. For years I struggled differentiating between telling myself to let something go (yet still feeling unreconciled about it) and being able to accept something and not expect it to change. Taking a mantra of "let it go" never really changed the way I felt about my body, a failing relationship, financial stress, a lost keepsake, etc.. It felt like another expectation that I set and I wasn't sure if I was succeeding in the direction I wanted to go. Though my daughter has only watched the epic Disney movie of her generation once, she periodically goes on repeat singing "Let it go, let it go, don't hold it back anymore...” While it’s hard to stop the eye rolls when I hear it, I cannot change how she feels about it. It brings her joy and choosing to remove my feelings gives way to sharing a moment with her. Acceptance bridges to detachment in a subtle, safe and kind way. I become able to take my wants out of the equation and give to others what feels appropriate within my boundaries.
How challenging this practice is when we as parents consistently have to remind ourselves that we might not be able to depend on how many hours of sleep we’ll have or savings we'll keep or how much time we'll have by ourselves. If we become frustrated there is a finger pointing blame to someone or something. Unrelenting determination to try depend on something that is intangible slips us into a state of quiet frustration. Passive aggression. Agitated and searching for an external shift. If, however, we choose to truly accept that this is the path we chose, we surrender to swimming upstream. It's no longer a priority to protect our own sensitivities or long for comforting patterns when we practice detachment with compassion and understanding.
When we choose to raise children, we plant trees without ever expecting to sit in their shade. It's a thankless job and the best one I've every had. I am constantly met with how to respond vs. react. A practice that continues to flood my thoughts at the end of each day replaying the moments I was reacting from my emotion, but unable to get clarity until later. For me, compassionate detachment is like practicing meditation out loud in my everyday, whether I am walking, running or falling down. A warm reminder that I am not my snap judgements or my last straw. I am full of love, I just got distracted. Life is practice. Confronting (or observing) the internal dialogue when I find myself in a familiar yet unwelcome place. The more I accept the moment I am in rather than try to change it’s circumstances the easier it becomes to practice small little tokens of self love. Gaining clarity on “letting it go” and acceptance soon evolves from a place of experience.
Many days I find myself rejoicing in feeling represented by my children. Other days I do not. How I try to detach them from how I feel about myself. So they have their own voice. So they can fall and I am not blaming myself for their mistakes. They can succeed and I am not patting myself on the back. So I can listen to their wishes and dreams without prejudice...