Review posted October 18, 2013.
Conari Press, 2010. 232 pages.
2013 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #3 Nonfiction
I've been reading this book, slowly, a little at a time, often pausing to post quotes on Sonderquotes, for more than a year. I started reading it as a library book, but then when it was clear I was going to take ages, and that it is packed with good insights, I purchased my own copy.
There are 200 numbered meditations, with "Pause and reflect" pages after each ten meditations. All of the meditations are about detachment and letting go.
I'm divorced, and I didn't want to be divorced. It's been a long time, but it's still always good to get any and all encouragement to let go of that marriage, to detach. And what do you know, the advice is good in other areas, too. I'm a Mom whose kids are becoming adults. And it turns out that most situations that cause stress can be improved by letting go of something.
Why would you want to detach? I'll let Karen Casey explain, from the Introduction:
To begin with, I think we have to cultivate our willingness to let go, that is, to detach from the trials and tribulations of our contemporaries if we want to find the quiet peace we long for, a peace that will allow us to truly love, to truly embrace, and to appreciate those who journey with us. In this process, we also give those companions the freedom to grow and to find their own way, thus their own eventual peace too. I don't think we can come together as loving equals without embracing the willingness to detach.
We live very codependent lives, from my perspective. By this I mean that too many of us let even the whims of others -- in our families, our communities, our workplaces, even in other parts of the world -- define us, determine how we feel, and then decide what we will do next in many instances. Learning to detach allows us to live the life we were meant to live. By allowing other people's behavior, good, bad, or disinterested, control us, we miss many opportunities for movement and expression in new directions. The converse is also true: if we attempt to control the other persons on our path, wherever they may reside, keeping them "attached" to us through any means (and most of us are very practiced at this), we immobilize them, thus preventing the growth they deserve and have been prepared for already.
Detachment isn't easy. If it were, there would be no need for a book offering to help you develop the skills to do it. And it may not have appeared on your radar screen as something you wanted to cultivate prior to picking up this book. As was already noted, we are accustomed to being enmeshed with others, letting our lives be constantly influenced by their behavior. I am not suggesting that this influence is always bad; there are good influences, too, probably everyday. We can and do observe healthy "detached" behavior in some of our friends, and perhaps they showed up on our path to serve as our teachers. It's not always easy to discern the "good" from the "bad," however. It's my intent for the meditations here to illustrate those behaviors we want to mimic and those we don't.
Rather than give you more inspiring excerpts from the book, I'm going to refer the reader to the many quotations I posted on Sonderquotes. This is a marvelous choice for reading each morning. It will help you go on your way with peace.