A lesson in attachment
2015 brought a very important word into my life...
I had certainly used the word before, but mostly in the context of the proper attachment to a tool in the workshop or a document enclosed in an e-mail.
Then, it hit me: I was learning about a whole different kind of attachment, the kind that affects our emotions, our identities, and our joy as living creatures.
Back in 2014, I penned a tell-all article about bullying. In short, I spoke of my need to re-assess my desire to be a performance artist, as the performing arts had originally served as a way to save me from the bullying I was going through in my youth. Reading that article once again with the lens of another year's life experience, I realize that the entire missive was talking about attachment.
There is nothing wrong with the performing arts. In fact, the world is better off with the likes of Judy Kuhn, Anne Sofie von Otter, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Meryl Streep, Misty Copeland, Diana Krall, and Joni Mitchell in it. I truly believe this. I am entirely lucky to hear Judy Kuhn every time she shares that golden soprano voice with us, and what would the world be without Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell? Ultimately, my journey in and out of the performing arts had nothing to do with the métier itself.
It had to do with the extent to which my entire identity was entirely defined by being a "performer" or an "actor" or a "singer" to those around me. Who was I without those labels? Could I shed the labels and be at peace?
Thankfully and happily, the answer was (and still is) yes.
When you come to such a place about existential attachment, you learn another important word:
This beautiful word is a part of my everyday life, and it is the most joyously freeing word I have ever come to know. When you enjoy life without attachment, you always know who you are at that given moment.
Who are we when we shed our attachment to our day jobs? Who are we when we let go of the attachment to possessions? Have you noticed that when someone asks us to tell them about ourselves, we always start with what we do for a living?
And so, my dear friends, I want to share with you who I am:
I am love.
I am joy.
I am kindness.
I am peace.
I am vulnerability.
I am gratitude.
Who are you, my friends? I would love to know.
I wish you a beautiful 2016. May you connect with your truest, attachment-free self.
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Mark Wilkinson teaches yoga, talks to youth about bullying, speaks French, eats lots of food, sings Mozart, and is usually smiling and helping others do the same.