“Impermanence is not something to be afraid of. It’s the evolution, a never-ending horizon.” ~Deepak Chopra
I have been reading a lot lately on attachment and impermanence. It's a big topic, one that is often hard to wrap your head and heart around. How can I live a life without attachment? Doesn’t that mean that I am not being a loving or caring person? I mean really, no attachment—it just seems cold.
This all started for me when the love of my life told me, “I love you, I am just not in love with you.” Ouch.
To say I was hurt would be a gross understatement. How could someone who I felt such strong love for not reciprocate the same feelings? This wasn’t the way it was supposed to go. We were together, attached forever, remember? Wrong.
While I didn’t like it and I didn’t want to, I had to accept what I’d heard. Sure, I fought it for a while, told myself little fairy tales that she would change her mind and come back. The call never came, my love letter did not arrive in the mail, the “here I am on your doorstep” never occurred.
It was over, and it was time for me to move forward, but how?
I would like to say that I held my head high and just moved forward with dignity and grace.
I would like to say I had a secret potion to “get over” the love of my life. I wish I could tell you of a magic book I read or twelve steps to follow to heal a broken heart. Those things I cannot offer, but I can offer you hope.
Days after we parted ways I had an overwhelming urge to walk in nature. All I wanted to do was walk by myself, and that’s exactly what I quietly did. Day after day, rain or shine, I took my little heartache out for a walk in the forest until it was exhausted.
A funny thing started to happen after a few weeks of walking. I started to notice the trees, how beautiful they were, tall, strong, and magnificent.
I started to hear the sound of the birds, the leaves blowing, the babbling of the creek, and the crackle of the earth under my feet. I started to step outside of my head and heartache, and I started to notice the things around me. It was beautiful, fresh, and amazing.
As my heart started to take in the grace of my surroundings each day on my walks, I felt little pieces of my broken heart start to heal. My self-talk of “why me” drifted away with each step.
I began to stop thinking about my loss of love and started to think about how lucky I was to have experienced love. I opened myself to gratitude rather than attachment and loss.
I had attachment to a person, an ideal, a hope. In many ways I had attached my personal happiness to this person.
In my mind the love of my life was attached and permanent, to me and for me. As I have now learned nothing in life is permanent. If we can appreciate this reality, we can open ourselves to cherish “now” moments.
Love is not about attachment or permanence. Love is about spending time with another person, sharing moments, experiences, and each other.
The moment we make it about “keeping” another for our own gain, our own need, it becomes about our ego, fears, and insecurities. A mindful, compassionate, kind being only wishes happiness and love for others. Sometimes happiness and love for others is moving on and letting go.
Months have gone by and I still walk in the forest. My heart does not ache as I walk, though.
I think of the many wonderful memories. I feel full of gratitude thinking of the magnitude of wonderful times, the laughter, and the love. I cherish those memories and I think I am pretty lucky that I was able to share those wonderful experiences of love with another person.
The trees, the forest, they remind me of the simplicity of our beautiful life. While each day is different and ever changing, I still see the splendor and magnificence. Each tree holds its own life; it is an individual amongst many others, just as we are as humans.
When I walk in the forest today I am reminded that I can appreciate the beauty of each tree, just as I can appreciate the beauty of love I share with each person.
With a deep breath and a full heart, I know just as my relationship is to the trees, so is my relationship with others. Free of the idea of attachment and permanence, we are able to see the simple beauty of this moment, now.
Freedom image via Shutterstock