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Nothing Is Permanent: Letting Go of Attachment to People

Unattached

“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

About Alisa Hutton

Alisa resides is Vancouver, British Columbia and is the mother of two beautiful children, Kate and Noah. Besides “Mom,” the only other title she comfortably goes by these days is human. She focuses on living simply, well, with good intent. Live with a pure heart and it all works out. Visit her at dustedwords.com

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  • Liz T.

    What a lovely article. I, too, am going through the same epiphanies after breaking of a best-friendship of 7 years. I now go into new friendships with the mentality of “What can I enjoy now and every day of this relationship, what can I learn?” rather than going in with heightened expectations 🙂

  • D. Anthony

    Its taking me years and I realized after about 5 that letting go for me is that this person cannot have anything to do with my life any more. Too much shame, too much pain.

  • Karen M.

    Thank you! What a beautiful and insightful article. I needed to “hear” that this morning. I forgot just how spiritually healing nature can be. I plan on taking daily walks with my dog so that I can experience the change of seasons and mend my bruised heart. Thanks again for the positive message!

  • Eri Cad

    This was a lovely piece its a jarring realization to have and than sit with because I think we are taught to look for this “forever, he/she completes me” love to come to the knowledge that all relationships end whether it be in death or a break up really puts things in perspective. It made me realize the only constant, enduring relationship is the one I have with myself. Thats why I can’t jeopardize that for the love of another. I think we can love others but it can’t replace the relationship we have with ourselves. When I realized that it was freeing and its something I practice. Maintaining my self relationship during my last relationship made it so much easier when he decided to break things off because it was like I was hurt, I was grieving but I could look him in the eye and say yea I’ll get over this and move on.

  • beachmama

    Really lovely, touching post. In our culture we forget that nothing is permanent. We enter into relationships, even marriage, with the idea it’s forever. Statistics tell us otherwise.

    I am in my second marriage but unlike the first, I recognize that regardless of how I want things to be I can only control myself and my choices, my husband is free to make his own choices in life. Knowing this is freeing and has me feel gratitude for the time we are together enjoying one another and working through difficulties with loving hearts.

    One thing I have to add is that we do have verbal and written agreements. If we want to change those agreements or we’re not getting our needs met, we talk about it and make changes or recommit to our original agreement. It takes a certain level of emotional maturity to navigate a relationship in this way and coming from a rather dysfunctional beginning and past marriage, I had a wide gap to close. What I’ve learned I’ve passed onto my son who brings much of this mindset to his life and relationship. It’s remarkable to see someone so young (18 years-old) navigate relationship on such a high level.

    I walk on the beach everyday and hike in the woods when I can. I’m 59 years old and it’s what I’ve always done. I’ve noticed that when I skip more than a day or two I’m out-of-sorts. Walking in nature is a ‘must’ for me regardless of what’s happening in my life but even more critical when all hell breaks loose!

    Look forward to reading more from you . . .

  • Peace Within

    Doesn’t matter how long it takes. Do what is best for you.

  • Peace Within

    I love this article. Having a significant other is a plus, it isn’t a minus. There is a freedom in detachment. People change and we all go through our own fazes in life. That’s why some stay and some leave. We learn from everyone and gain wisdom. I also love walking in nature. It is refreshing and therapeutic; an escape. Heals my soul.

  • Jessica

    This is beautiful, walking outside has been very therapeutic for me during my separation from my husband, reading this just gave me more hope. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • williamdonovan

    I would offer that without loving & tender kindness at the time of a relationship ending, the person left behind can suffer greatly. You should end a relationship with care, it’s when you don’t, that hurt we feel can be overwhelming.

  • Paul Corcoran

    Wow. Yes, the shattering realisation of impermanence caused by the “I love you but…” bombshell, uttered by someone IMO who has lost, or perhaps never had, an understanding of what it is “to love”.

    I believe you can travel down only one of two paths:

    1. Self-destruction. Through grief, sadness, regret, “what ifs”, bitterness and so on. Possibly self-medicated with drugs or alcohol to take the sting off for short periods. This could last from days to years. You might travel this path first or not at all, before switching to…

    2. An acute rise in awareness. Noticing the “beautiful, fresh and amazing” sights and sounds of nature more vividly that Alison Hutton writes about here. In other words: Presence.

    Personally, I did whatever came naturally. My habits changed almost overnight. I stopped watching TV or reading the Metro on the train (or any media). I lost interest in alcohol. I started meditating.

    I noticed the ‘little’ things like Alison. I noticed when I was having judgemental or complaining thoughts. I found that looking for the best in people and being kind, even when they don’t “deserve it”(!), felt good. Felt like healing. Felt like compassion not only for other people, but for me too. This “self-love” that gets advocated so often when suffering loss.

    A renewed and powered-up appreciation of what “is”: “the simplicity of our beautiful life”.

    Thank you for this article.

  • Alisa

    Thank you so much for your very kind words. I could not agree more with all you said and your son is very fortunate to have such healthy tools at such a young age:) Again, thank you for sharing.

  • Alisa

    Every one is different in their journey and respecting that in yourself is a wonderful thing. Sometimes what is best for ourselves and others is that we do say goodbye. What is healthiest, does not always feel easy on the heart though. I commend you for recognizing what you did in yourself, it takes courage.

  • Mari

    Thank you for sharing and helping us inthe process. My heart and mind thank you!

    We forget that nothing last forever and that change is inevitable…

  • Alisa

    Thank you for your kind words. Yes, it is a refreshing way to approach relationships and life. We do not always realize how much attachment drives our choices and interactions. For me this has expanded to all of my relationships and it has brought a great deal of joy of the simplicity of each moment.

  • Alisa

    Thank you so much for sharing your very kind thoughts:) It is amazing how just a little time outdoors can restore us. Having a doggie to walk is an added bonus! 🙂 Keep good care of that heart.

  • Alisa

    Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. It really does put things in to perspective. I very much agree with the importance of self-relationship. I believe it is what is most respectful to us and those that we spend our time with. It offers us so much more quality in our life and in all of our relationships.

  • Alisa

    Thank you for your words and insights. What you speak of it so very true. We can not control the way the wind blows in our lives but we certainly do makes choices around how we experience it. In simplicity we can find a great deal of happiness. Thank you again.

  • Alisa

    What you bring up was actually a very big insight for me within this experience. I was able to recognize the sort of internal harshness that I felt simply from the relationship not ending in the most caring way. I have taken that and let it be a guide for me in how I interact with people in all my relationships. There is always space for kindness in difficult conversations.

  • Alisa

    Thank you Jessica, for your thoughts and kind words. Break ups and separations can be so incredibly difficult. It is a process we all have to walk through and we do the best we can. Take good care of that heart:) It may feel bruised right now, but it will heal and be happier than ever!

  • Alisa

    Thank you very much:) I agree so much with all you have shared. It heals me too, amazing how restorative it is.

  • Person

    It’s hard to accept as i still haven’t let go of an ex entirely. My story is that I moved to a different state, in literally the middle of nowhere to be with this person. I became very mentally ill and was in and out of the hospital. Just a few short months after the relationship started, it ended horribly and he left the town a few months after that. It went from being together, to literally no communication overnight. He changed his number and shut me off like a light switch. He had his reasons, but it hurt worse than anything I’d ever felt. I loved this man more than anyone I’ve ever been with. At 27 I’ve been through my share of relationships, so I knew more about what I wanted. When he fit everything I wanted, and we had such a chemistry- such a strong match, I dove in without thinking. I came out burned.

    After our breakup, and a suicide attempt (stemming from subsequent mental illness and utter hopelessness over my situation) I began to listen to the teachings of buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. I learned alot about non attachment here, about impermanence. I try to practice it in my daily life.

    But like the poster, I also felt like it was too cold and sharp to ‘be that way’. I am an extremely loyal person to everyone in my life, I will literally love someone until the end of time. So its a hard concept to wrap my heart around, but impermanence is a real thing and cannot be denied. Everything changes. It seems like the bitter sweet reality I’d rather ignore, but cannot.

    My therapist told me its okay to grieve for longer than what we might think of as “normal”. Some of us will grieve for short periods of time, while others will take much longer. She said that there is no real limitation on such things, and to allow myself the space to do so. We forget too that our relationship to grief is important when we are in the process of healing from a break up. 9 Months later I still have moments where I cry and wish I could kiss him or just hear his voice. But I know now that the reason things ended was in part because of me too, I know the mistakes I have made and I also know that people are with free will of their own.

    I was able to change my mentality from “Why the fuck would he do this to me?” To: “Well if I am not what he needs, or the trust has been broken – It is better for us both to be apart”. I will not plead for someone to love me anymore, if they can’t do it of their own accord- then it does not belong to me in the first place.

    Its fucking hard, but time does heal. Time and self -work all help to heal these wounds. I do believe that people can have successful long term relationships, even with life changing in between- but thats a rare gift. I hope to stumble upon it someday.

    Also, I dont think we are all inherently alone. I just think that in modern day society, we are less communally minded in this regard. Too quick to dump someone out of our lives for our own selfish needs or delusions. Who you let in and out of your life is a choice, the ‘inevitable’ is a choice too. We chose who we let go.

  • Eri Cad

    So true Alisa

  • @Saurabh_MUFC

    But the memories will always hunt you down no matter what and it brings back the depression which is very bad! I can’t really forget people, it’s so hard.

  • Alisa

    Thank you so much for sharing your words and thoughts. I think what you say about grief is such an important piece to all of this. Grieving is important and taking the time to process through your emotions as they come, honor them, good, bad or indifferent is greatly beneficial in finding ourselves again. While we do not always know it at the time, living in the now of our emotions is what gives us the ability to also experience the now of all the beautiful things around us. Thank you again and for sharing your journey.

  • Alisa

    I actually do not try to forget people any longer. We can not, it is part of our human experience. What I do though is choose what those thoughts look like, how long they stay for. I let the negative thoughts come and I direct them out quietly. I make a point of challenging them with positive memories and there always is positive, even in the worst relationships. I often say it is like two buckets in your brain. A happy bucket and a negative bucket. I continually fill the happy bucket and dump the negative bucket as soon as something lands in it. Having experienced depression, letting those negative things we tell ourselves take over is a very slippery slope.

  • Alisa

    You are welcome and thank you for your kind words. Take good care of that heart and mind:)

  • TirAsleen

    How did you know what I needed to read today? I have been very sad and confused by some friendships that just faded away even with my trying hard to keep them and doing all I could to maintain them. I am thankful for those friendships. They were what I needed at the time and they brought me joy and stability. However, impermanence is a fact of life and sometimes people just drift on for whatever reason. Sometimes our attachments can be habit, instead of real joy. Thanks for reminding me of that.

  • @Saurabh_MUFC

    I’m 19 and I feel so hard to get over things and it hurts so much and like all the memories comes back and you get all those overwhelming feelings and the most greatest anxiety hits you so bad and everything feels so shit and you don’t even know what to do, I’ve overcame very bad depression but still when the hard time comes I remember all the people like I never forget people and remembering them brings all the depression and I don’t even know where they are, whether alive or dead. They’re other half side of the world, I’ve met most of them on the social networking sites but still attachment is still there. Memories hurts so bad.

  • @Saurabh_MUFC – twitter

    Thank you so much, I know depression is not something than can be fixed over a night, my depression is just memories with the people and it brings a lot of pain. I’ll try to do as you said like I’ll let the memories kick in and react to them than to be depressed, I’ll try and let you know how it goes. Thanks!

  • Person

    Absolutely. =]

  • Alisa

    Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts. Life can be hard navigating our feelings, letting go, missing people. I do not know that there is a black and white solution. I do think though as long as you can honor you, your feelings and let them come and go that is a good start. There is a lot of beautiful things around us and sometimes we just need to slow down enough to notice them. Slowly but surely our brain and heart work a little more closely together.

  • Alisa

    Good guesser;) I think what you say about being thankful is so true and such a good place to start from. Just allowing ourselves to see the good in every situation, brings us gratitude and often a healthy release of attachment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts:)

  • Sarah

    Alisa, your article is beautiful in its simplicity and truth! Thank you for sharing this. It’s taken me many years to even consider the notion of impermanence and love living together.

  • Alisa

    Thank you Sarah, I really appreciate your words:) It has taken me more than a few *ahem* years as well:) It is a really neat place to be once you are open to it. A whole new appreciation of life.

  • M. Lauren

    Its taking me years too. about five too and I never had a chance to be close with them. Seems so ridiculous since I had my first relationship before that, and that took less time to meet, be with and get over than this person. I forget when I don’t talk to them and send so much love and light, still being hurt and angry….but if we talk its a toxic chemical reaction if I try to connect with them. Its rough.

  • M. Lauren

    Can’t attachment and love go hand and hand. I mean don’t they? I think that’s how it ought to be.

    …but I am in a situation where I don’t want to let go and believe the person is closed off and I want to work through it but we just end up fighting. They keep saying they are too busy to spend any time with me. I’m so frustrated because I don’t believe them or that’s the issue, but your supposed to believe someone when they show you who they are.

    In the past I didn’t fight I just stayed quiet and that’s how I came into the relationship then it ended in fighting. Now its happening all over again and I didn’t even get to be with this person. But I feel so whole heartedly that I love them, I wish I would have told them and really shown them that I do care so much.

  • Alisa

    Attachment is a tricky concept, especially when it comes to love. There is many different examples and teachings out there about attachment and love. If you are interested in it I would encourage you to read on it more. There are many great stories and teachings that can help us understand on a different level…maybe look from a different perspective. There is a saying that love is not a debt that needs to be repaid with love. I remind myself of this. It is human and a wonderful thing to love, however when we do love with an expectation of something in return we have now attached our happiness to the outcome of that expectation. If you have loved truly and with good intent that is a great thing to celebrate. Your actions are a reflection of you, the other persons actions is always a reflection of them. When we can accept both, we can reach a new level of peace in ourselves. I think:)

  • Tracy J Westerholm

    Your words resonated deep within me. I felt as if I was reading my own thoughts. As I read each one I felt a confirmation that I am on the right track. Lately I’ve felt I have forgotten my way because of the chaos that has been distracting me from the path in which I walked, it seemed just months ago.

    I have been wondering if there is something wrong with me ‘because’ of my lack of attachment to human beings. My ability to let go so easily and move forward with such ease and contentment. “Love is not about attachment or permanence. Love is about spending time with another person, sharing moments, experiences, and each other”

    As I read the very last word, my eyes glanced over to who this brilliant writer was…my heart jumped and I felt an exuberance of emotion knowing it was someone I had related to many times before, sharing the same insight. I was so excited to see the name Alisa Hutton! Bravo…once again I am inspired by your words!
    T 😉

  • Alisa

    With love and gratitude, thank you T, xo.

  • Alisa

    Not to get all science on you:) but the way the brain works the only thing more powerful than fear, anxiety, depression and such is love. I do not mean love in the romantic sense but love in general. As simple as smiling at someone, random act of kindness, going for a walk and making a effort to notice those beautiful things. When we put as much of that type of love and happiness in us it actually rewires our brain to a place of happiness rather than the sadness. It is an amazing thing that we actually can rewire our brain. It is a process, but it does happen a day at a time:) I would never say ignore the pain, you need to feel it but dump as much happy in to that bucket too!

  • Guest

    Sometimes no matter how hard you try the relationship isn’t allowed to be ended in care and working together to kindly do it. Some people want to push you to the max no matter how caring you are and then play the victim
    .

  • @saurabh_mufc

    The thing that hurts is I am very active on social networking sites and many people come and go! and then some day I remember like I’ve talked to this person but then i dont know any way to talk with them and i keep thinking about it and then i realise that those people are gone and I’d never get to talk with them, it hurts! I try to forget them but its hard

  • udit

    all words are wonderful

  • Alisa

    Thank you☺

  • Alisa

    I guess all you can do is try your best to focus on those who are there, that are in you life in the present. You may miss out on some really good people and experiences if you spend too much time thinking about people who are not there any longer. My friend refers to this as ‘telling ourselves ghost stories’. We tell ourselves these stories that are not real and we miss out on actual life.

  • Jewel

    “if you have loved truly and with good intent that is a great thing to celebrate”.

    Awesome perspective! I have been so hard on myself following the end of a not very healthy relationship which I did not want to end. How did I let myself get into this situation? How could I be so stupid? I realize just how self-defeating that is. I know that I loved the best I could and had good intentions, and it doesn’t matter what he thought or did. I can only control what I thought or did. And I believe my motives were pure and good, so I am thankful I had the opportunity, even if someone else didn’t appreciate it.

  • lv2terp

    FANTASTIC post!!! Truly beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing your message, and offering such a lovely analogy, and powerful points! 🙂 I really appreciated this post! I love when you said “Love is not about attachment or permanence. Love is about spending time
    with another person, sharing moments, experiences, and each other.”

  • Alisa

    Thank you very much:) It brings a smile to my face to read your comments. I am glad you enjoyed it!

  • Alisa

    I really understand how you have felt Jewel, sounds like we share similarities in our experiences. I asked myself the same questions and it begins to feel like a bad ride you get on and can not get off; spins and goes no where. When you finally do get off and your feet are planted firmly on the ground again, it is a great thing.

  • Cozetta Lagemann

    This is a really beautiful post, and you present such a great point about impermanence. I came to this realization a few years ago, and it can be a little rough when those around you don’t necessarily agree with you. They feel that you don’t care as deeply as they do, or that you’re less committed. It’s not the case for me anyway, just that my true happiness and well being are not attached to one single person remaining in my life. I still love, honor and respect my relationships though. Thanks for sharing, this was a great post 🙂

  • Arpit

    wow!! what an article!!….u r just got into my mind n pened it down.. Thanks!!

  • Alisa

    Thanks:) Glad it resonated for you!

  • Alisa

    Thank you so much Cozetta, it is nice to read your thoughts. It has been an interesting transition for me as well. I think as time goes on the relationships do settle in to a deeper understanding and actually do become more loving and enriched. A nice way to experience life:)

  • Jules

    Thank you for your insightful article and your willingness to share such a personal story. Over the years, I have struggled with the end of relationships and, as a result, haven’t celebrated the beginning of a relationship in quite a long time. The attachment dialogue coming out of this site and others has truly helped me become a happier and more peaceful soul. Thank you again!

  • Alisa

    I agree with you. I made it very difficult if not impossible for the other person to do so. I personally take responsibility for this. It was all about my ego and my sense of attachment. You learn, move forward and make healthier choices for yourself and how you deal with others. Hard lesson for me but needed and I am grateful for it.

  • Ana Goncalves

    Thank you for sharing, Alisa. This is exactly the place am at, and I am finding healing in nature and noticing how wonderful it is to be here. I also have faced the truth that I love my partner and these feelings are not to be pushed down and am appreciating being in nature and connection with my feeling and allow the feelings to surface, to return to love. My partner and I were living in another country and his business wasn’t going to how he expected and he simply had enough and said he wants to be alone, and that hurt big time because he loves me and it didn’t make any sense at the time. We spent 2 weeks crying with each other and not talking, eventually at the end we started opening up. We were so focused on the money in that space that we forget ourselves, however we did have wonderful moments together and were happy. I saw him the other day since being back a week and I shared how i felt, and i said that i desired to be with him and he angrily asked how. I think he is hurt about his business mainly and somehow has decided to shut me out, which is a little sad seeing as he is the love of my life and i felt that it was good if we worked it out, or i helped him through it because he did leave his stable job to follow a passion in a complete new country with no language, now that’s very courageous. He had a lot of opportunities around and he learnt the language in the end which am very proud of him, and somehow the money was the main demotivator to bring us down as he got overwhelmed with financially supporting me as well, and i can understand how saturating that is and also about desiring to cut the ties seeing as we were living with each other. I guess i saw it if we were married, what would we do, get divorced or split as this doesn’t make sense. I guess it’s his way of dealing it in a way, shutting a door on the past and only seeing one way because he said that was our only chance, and i don’t see it that way. I see many opportunities in sight and i’m here to evolve and grow and learn and that’s what i told him and our relationship ought to be about, working through things together. I realized that i needed to accept him and his choice and forgive myself at the same time, for the things i thought that i didn’t do. It’s hard and at the same time i focus on the good that is in my life and the positive. Thank you for sharing x

  • Alisa

    Thanks Ana, it is hard and a process. Learning as we go along often. I think you are very right though to focus on the good and positive. It is the best we can do….and thank you for sharing:)

  • Jose Vazquez

    Oh PLEASE!!!

  • Alisa

    You are welcome Jules and thank you for your compliment:) I have taken my time in looking at things differently from an attachment perspective and I really agree with you the more I have read and learned about it, it has brought a great deal of happiness to my life. I hope you have a good day:)

  • Lynn

    Thank you, Alisa for this article. You have no idea how much it has helped. I was lucky enough to stumble upon it at the exact moment when I needed it the most.

  • Ann

    I’ve been going through a very similar experience and did exactly the same thing. I walked alone by the ocean every day. I’d climb out onto some rocks where no one was around and speak aloud to the universe. At first it was all about my heart ache. I’d sit on the rock and pour it all out. Then I too started to notice all the beauty around me. I started to hear the sounds of the water, feel the breeze and see the birds and sailboats. I was overwhelmed with how lovely it all is. I started walking this coastline and sitting on a rock out of grief, but now I go there to appreciate how peaceful and beautiful it is. I still sit on the rock and speak aloud but mostly now it’s to express my gratitude for the ability to experience such healing beauty.

  • Alisa

    Thank you Lynn I am glad it found you at the right time:)

  • Alisa

    Thank you for sharing that Ann:) There really is so much beauty out there.

  • Alisa

    Bless you

  • Name

    My wife and I suffered a miscarriage last year after many years of trying. She and I both have been having trouble moving on and appreciate this. Sometime the person isn’t even born and we have attachments to how this or that will be so wonderful or whatever. Although grief is normal, unhealthy attachment to “What Should Have Been” is just illusory. Thanks for the article, indeed.

  • Alisa

    Thank you very much for sharing your story. It touched my heart. I wish you and your wife much love in the grief you feel and your journey working through it. I have been reminded in the comments people have left, especially in yours the fragility of human life and how connected we all are. Thank you.

  • @Saurabh_MUFC

    Thank you! I’ll try to forget about them and think of people who I have and try to be happy.

  • Mia

    I do believe that “in love” is an illusion that many continue to seek. It’s a form of wanting, rather than loving. It’s a my perpetuated by our movies and the stories. But not real. Truly.

  • ellie

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m still reeling from a breakup that happened over a year ago. I still find myself attached to the idea that we’ll get back together, mostly because he contacts me every few weeks. With this attachment, I’ve been unable to move on. And I find myself upset with him because I’m attached to the idea that one day he’ll profess his love for me and say that he wants us to be together again, which is obviously not going to happen. I noticed that I show very little love for him through the upset and attachment and never wish for him to move on and be happy on his own (my ultimate fear).

    Nature walks do help me to fill my heart with love, though.

  • thea

    Thank you for this article. I am going through exactly the same experience. I am still fighting it, but I’m trying every day to more accepting of what is. Definitely going to try the walking…

  • Alisa

    Thank you, it is a process and has it’s ups and downs. The walking was so helpful for me in clearing myself and working through how I was feeling. Wishing you many good thoughts on your journey. It does get easier:)

  • Alisa

    Yes Ellie I do understand how you feel. Sometimes we need to make a total separation until we are in a more settled place in our hearts. It is hard to do when you have feelings of attachment to someone. I think for myself in hindsight total separation was necessary for myself and the other person to truly ground ourselves in a place that was healthy and best for us. Even now, I will have those moments of “missing” which is ok because this is someone I had a great deal of respect and love for, I just channel it differently and it is those days especially I know I need to spend a little quality time with just me and the trees:) Thanks for sharing your comments, I hope you have a good day.

  • Alisa

    It is an interesting concept isn’t is Mia? When you start to look at love a little differently. The concepts that are presented to us often via media and the other social norms as opposed to a much more open non-attached, non- ego based experience. Truly opens our human experience I think when we can maybe look at love from a different perspective….still learning but enjoying it all:)

  • Sky Fisher

    Attachment and letting go is something I have been struggling with lately. As you said, it can be a very hard idea to wrap your mind around. So thank you for this post. I love the quote at the beginning.

  • Alisa

    Thank you Sky. It is hard and something I think most of us do. Sometimes just knowing we are not alone in our feelings helps with our journey. A day at a time:)

  • Billi&Tara

    Thank you for your lovely post. I received news that my mother’s cancer has spread to her
    lung yesterday and I was absolutely divested with the news. Although I am not
    certain how much time we have left, I am grateful that she is still with us. I
    will cherish whatever the time we have in a peaceful and gentle way. Thank you
    again for your post.

  • Alisa

    Sending you much love and warm thoughts. The moments we have are precious and it is times like now that often remind us of this. Wishing you all much strength, compassion and warmth during this time…and thank you for reminding me of the importance of the peaceful and gentle nature of moments.

  • Billi&Tara

    Thank you very much for your kind reply Alisa.

  • Rina

    This is we had been told sincère kid. Perfect relationship is when u meet ur true love thn u Will be stay together forever and happily ever after. I’m growing up believing in this. Untill i got married and live just not like in the fairytale books

  • Jimmy G-thugz

    you bet i could relate with your experience Alisa ,but above all i love your style of not entertaining self pity a pity that swallows quit many after love goes the other way.This was awesome enjoyed it.Peace

  • Alisa

    Thank you, peace to you as well.

  • Alisa

    Very true Rina, what we are taught growing up often makes it hard for our mind and heart to adjust. One step at a time, we learn:)

  • Naitik Singh

    Really Thank You.. Alisa for giving me this wonderful knowledge; for revealing thins great secret. It’s really very helpful in my life.

  • Alisa

    You are very welcome Naitik. I am always happy when we can share experiences that help one another.

  • rick_08

    Your article really opened my mind….thanks a lot…I was initially afraid of breaking away from people…but not anymore…having that courage gives me freedom,and a desire to do each and every worthwhile thing this beautiful world has store of…

  • Lelouch Vi Britannia

    Human life is too short. I understand now my problem has been attachment to one person. I had my first GF break up with me 4.5 years ago. I haven’t dated since cause i believe that non-Aspergers women aren’t as understand of Asperger men.

  • Alisa

    I am glad you enjoyed it. The world truly does have much beauty to it when we are ready to see and embrace it. I sit here many months later after having experienced this and I can say I am amazed daily and with such gratitude how amazing life truly is.

  • Alisa

    Attachment is difficult especially when you love someone or feel they may understand you better than others. When I took the time to understand myself it broadened my experience with others. What I found once I had let go of that attachment I found many more people who came in to my life that brought me great happiness and love. I wish you much happiness as you work through this.

  • Aimee

    This was insightful for me. I recently started a new relationship, and as always, the first couple months are full of “in the moment” happiness and laughter, without concern for the future or insecurity. Then the “l-word” came into play, and we hit that point in the relationship where the newness began to wear off, and where all of my past relationships have ended. So, of course, I started to worry more often that this one was going to end soon. But we’ve discussed the future SO much, and he’s living with me, so I’m more scared than in any past relationship that he’ll leave before those dreams and plans come to fruition. I need to reflect on this article and get things into perspective so my insecurities and fears don’t drive him away.

  • Alisa

    Thanks Aimee for your read and comments, always grateful:) It is great that you are so aware of yourself and it sounds like you guys have a really open and honest foundation which is fantastic. I wrote this about a year ago and I have to say the last year I have had simply amazing relationships since I was able to release my concepts of future and attachment. It is not to say you can’t be committed but it has left room for me and any of my relationships (love or otherwise) to be present and allow growth, happiness as it happens. It has been such an incredible and healthy feeling. I truly feel so blessed to be able to share and feel in the present now. It took time and reflection but well worth it in my opinion:)

  • Abigail Odiet Wojahn

    Thank you for your post. I am struggling with letting go of family members and friends that I thought needed to be a certain way or show me that they care or I expected that if they did care they would show me. They will never do that and I am accepting that we probably don’t serve much purpose in each others lives anymore. Maybe they feel the same about me but I am trying not to get hung up on that. I am now moving forward and focusing on family and friends that do seem to value me and I value them instead just doing what I think I am supposed to do with each relationship. I like the idea of not getting attached to something/someone and just letting what happens happen. Hope that makes sense. Again thank you for your post and your words of wisdom. Love and Hugs ~ Abby

  • Alisa

    Thank you Abby for your comment and kind words. I very much understand what you mean. I think there is always value in just taking a bit of quiet time to look at our relationships in our life. As you say sometimes we just aren’t serving each purpose to one another any longer and I think that is ok. I try to look at life as fluid rather than fixed these days and this includes my relationships. It helps me to allow things to accept that things flow and change. Always a process of learning:)

  • Cali Mom

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. My husband and I are separated (7 months) and he recently started dating – while we were still going to marriage counseling. It leveled me and for the past 6 weeks I have been an emotional mess. I have realized in the last week that I am grieving the death of my marriage. And that trying to hang on to him was really about my own fears and insecurities. We’ve had a good run of it, two amazing children, and we both love each other. But he is moving on and I need to let him go. With sincere wishes that he find peace and happiness that he’s looking for. I am now starting to list the things I am grateful for. I love how you worked through this – by being in nature. Thank you so much for sharing. As silly as it seems, hearing from others who have been through the same thing and “survived” truly does help.

  • Alisa

    Thank you so much for reading and for sharing. I so very much can empathize with how you are feeling right now. Grieving is exactly the right word. I think leaving any relationship with this understanding is so huge. Just as with a death you will experience the good days, messy days, tough days etc. All important to feel and honor in your grief. It takes time and being gentle with yourself. Just from what you have shared you are doing a great job. This love and being human stuff is hard:)

  • Stephen Fraser

    This is beautifully written with both humility and the compassion that only comes from having felt a loss deeply. I heard those same words 5 yrs ago after 17.5 yrs of marriage to someone I loved …the experience literally fractured my being and broke me open emotionally..I was attached at a cellular level with this person and had given up pieces of my soul to maintain the relationship…a relationship that shouldn’t have lasted more than a few months. My suffering was directly related to this distorted attachment. It’s been a long road back and some days the lessons are still fresh and raw. I’m not the same person I was.im still discovering who I am now.

  • Alisa

    Stephen, thank you. Everything of what you said resonates with me so much. It is a long road back. I have done a lot of mileage:) It is such a balance of loving, releasing, remaining authentic to you while loving another. Something I work on all the time but it gets more fluid in time.

    Thanks for reading and sharing. I really appreciated this message.

  • I realize this is an old conversation, but I’m beyond thankful to have stumbled upon it. I can see how this “attachment” idea has kept our now-ending-31-year-old marriage going when it shouldn’t have. I was SO attached to the “happily ever after” dream (in spite of HUGE flags that showed otherwise in both of us) that I couldn’t let go when I should have. Sure would have saved our whole family tons of grief…saving to reread over & over as I heal and move on.

  • Alisa

    Never too old of a conversation:) I am glad you did find it and found some positive in it. I think we all have this dream and hold on for the reasons you speak of. I know within my own family we were focused on the “goal” of family and what that looked like. Both failing in our commitment to by not asking “are we happy”. I share your feelings on the waiting and grief that it brings with it. It is hard not to go on a path of beating yourself up over it. I finally gave myself a good long break to actually just do that, grieve. It was worth it. There is such deep learning and value in it. I do think eventually we learn to appreciate how hard it was. We learn so much about ourselves and really what happiness looks and feels like. I wish you much love on your journey. It is hard and wonderful equally but being true to your heart is always what makes it worth it.

  • Thank you so much for responding – I didn’t expect a reply so quickly! 🙂 Yes, definitely swinging between peace & beating myself up. Thanks for your understanding.

  • Alisa

    🙂 The magic of technology. Insta everything! It really is hard and long road. So up and down at times. I guess in time though, the downs are less and the ups more until you just feel pretty consistently peaceful. It is all important though.

  • Dear author,
    You are sick, your secret plan to leave that person is called betrayal, you have caused another person to suffer so you can watch a bunch of trees for the rest of your life which is so stupid, you can be with him, love him and still enjoy the trees, why are you so weak to be in love and be dependant, go call him before you grow older and uglier.
    I hope he already found a true woman. Enjoy your solitude or fake relationships meanwhile.

  • Zigmond Hollis

    Beautifully written article. To add to what you said here forgiveness is also key to healing. So often we forget that to forgive others is to forgive ourselves. Easy to say but hard to do 🙂

  • Alisa

    Thank you. You are so very right. Since I wrote this article that has probably been the biggest life theme for me if you will. That forgiveness is truly I think where our beauty that we find in ourselves and others resides. It takes a great deal of vulnerability but I would never have it any other way.

  • Zigmond Hollis

    You should also embrace your vulnerability 🙂

  • Michelle Mace

    When you share your story it sounds like grace moved through you in the forest .. thank you for sharing your wisdom .. I see you

  • Alisa

    Thank you, what a nice message to read and a touching way to put it. Warmed my heart to hear it that way. It did feel like grace moved me through the forest. Grateful for you and your message.