Many years ago I heard the phrase “detachment with love”. Sounded like a good idea to me. The people using this phrase had lives that were all hearts and flowers, I wanted what they had. So, I asked for the combination to get this “detachment with love” thing. I asked and asked, waiting for someone to tell me that all I had to do was click my heels twice, spin around and say the magic words and then I would be detached….with love. See, I didn’t really hear the “with love” part.
All I wanted was to be detached. I wanted some peace. I wanted to NOT be consistently in pain because of another’s actions. And I was prepared to do anything to get there. Detach. No one would give me the magic pill, or the correct combination. So, I just kept doing what I was doing, which was learning a new way to live. And lo and behold, one day I found I was detached!! With a tremendous amount of hate. I was done, but I took all that pain with me. Hhmmm, not so very different from being enmeshed with someone else. When I was enmeshed, I was constantly angry. I used that anger to detach myself. Problem solved. Or so I thought.
I finally heard the “with love” part and to be honest, it pissed me off. Why the hell did I have to do anything with love when it came to people who had hurt me? Isn’t that a stupid thing? I didn’t get it. I was still busy congratulating myself on being detached. Yea ME!! But, my life still wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Maybe I was missing something. Detaching with love. Alright, what the hell are they talking about with this? I went back to the people who hurt me. I tried again. After all, isn’t that what love’s all about? Second chances (or third or fourth or fifth). Within seconds, I was enmeshed again only worse than before. But I knew people who could do the detaching with love and still be around people who had hurt them. They were like acrobats!! I had so much to learn.
I finally got it!! I stayed detached, I stayed loving, there were pink clouds and little kittens with wings hovering around me all the time!! It worked. Until it didn’t anymore. Damn it. It doesn’t sound that hard. I went back and asked about detachment with love. I heard many stories of how other people had done it, how it had worked for them, how their lives had changed for the better. This time I really listened, I didn’t just wait to speak. And I tried again. Only this time, I detached with the motive to take care of myself, rather than to hurt someone else.
And the love part happened. When I would think about those people no longer in my life, I would think about them with love rather than with resentment or anger. I couldn’t be around them, but I let go of the anger. Because it is true what they say that resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies. It was killing me and the people who hurt me were out there walking around, having a grand old-time, without a thought about me. It was time for me to start living my life. I became detached with love. I thought that was the goal and now I would have some great, enlightened life. Where was my damn rainbow?
Oh, my life got better. But it was still life. It didn’t turn into some Disney movie. And then some wise ass person said to me “You should try loving with detachment”. You’re kidding, right? Nope. Apparently, people do it all the time. Children do it the best. This wise person said to me “Remember how you loved the people in your life when you were a child? Without judgement? Without thought as to if they loved you? You loved without condition, but you loved yourself first and best. That was before you knew that you were flawed. Imagine loving others like you used to.” Crap. So, I begin again. Because I have not been loving. Not purely, not wholly, not unconditionally. I have judged and been mean and spiteful and ugly. Great, now I have another goal to achieve. Something to work on. Loving with detachment. Sounds like a good idea. And THEN I will get my unicorn and gallop off into the sunset…