Detached Doesn't Mean Dispassionate
(Part 3 in the series: Can You Make It Happen?)
In part 2, we saw that allowing your dreams and goals to unfold involves: 1) giving them breathing room, 2) letting go of struggle and 3) being ready to receive. Allowing also requires a fourth element: a level of trust and detachment. But how is it possible to be detached when you want something with all your heart?
Not that prayer…this one!
In freshman year of college, a friend of mine had a big crush on a guy in her chemistry class. They went out on a few dates and then a week passed. She anxiously waited for him to call her for another date but the phone refused to ring. Not wanting to consider the possibility that Chemistry Class Guy was "just not that into her" (to use the current lingo), my friend pleaded with me to start sending up some explicit prayers for him to call. Here's how it would go: He'd have a good reason for not calling her sooner, followed by an enthusiastic invitation for another date.
"I'll pray that whatever is best for you happens," I offered. "No, don't pray for what's best for me! Just pray that he calls me!" We still laugh about this exchange to this day. Now that my friend has children of her own, she knows what it is to want whatever is best for them even when she's not sure what that might be.
I share this story because I think it's a very common, human illustration of the natural tension between passion (wanting something deeply) and trust (having a degree of detachment). Being detached doesn't mean pretending you don't care. It has more to do with putting a healthy distance between you and what you desire.
Aligned with a Greater Perspective
Being detached means you are taking a larger view of things. You are aligning your desires with a greater perspective, a broader framework and context. You want things passionately without clinging to the exact outcome. You trust the process of life.
At the same time, being healthily detached does not require that you stop envisioning your dreams with wonderful specificity because it is often those fine details that emotionally engage you and inspire you to act. Nor should you shy away from asking for exactly what you want out of life. It is yours to imagine and ask for!
Rather, detachment comes into play after your passion is acknowledged and expressed. It is as if you are placing your dream on the wings of a great bird and trusting that it will be carried to new heights. When your dream arrives at its destination, it will have been re-formed by its journey.
The Editing Room
Recognize that your dreams and goals will be edited as you go along. Sometimes they are trimmed down a bit whereas other times they are expanded beyond what you possibly could have imagined earlier. It's all progress and forward movement if you see "the editing room" as part of the process rather than a setback.
Returning to the story of my friend, the most honest prayers often involve "asking like a child". Then, to be able to release them for further editing is the great lesson we learn as we grow.
This Week: Practice being healthily detached about something you want deeply.
"The art of living does not consist
in preserving and clinging
Here's to you,