Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Inspirational piece on "Detachment" by Jacqueline Howett

Buddha-Detachment.  Photograph by (c) Jacqueline Howett.


I took this picture while living in Maine. I placed a huge Buddha under a tree, next to my herb garden. It was a time in my life I wanted to understand detachment from all things, feelings, etc., and letting go of all I had learnt, or processed through my life up to that point. I was seemingly opening my mind to see various points of view that I was normally closed to.

Funny enough, it was a time I still went to church every now and then. One day, after a period of time had elapsed in my growth, I sat in church and a strange impression came over me. I had a shaved head like a Buddhist monk. I think I knew then my initiation was over. Soon after, I left Maine and came to live in Florida. Florida had been a state I was thinking I might go to live, after I found myself shovelling snow for the first time. But before all that happened, I thought I heard Jesus talking to me, saying, it was okay to be with Buddha and other spiritual roads of understanding for a while, but in the end he knew I was from his flock. 

It was a time my mother had just died, and when I first came to that house, I remember digging my herb garden with just a tiny, table spoon. Everyone told me to use the garden tools in the garage, but I wasn't there yet. I was thinking maybe of my mother as I turned the soil. However, later, I did use the tools and created a beautiful garden of serenity. It was also a time of amazing creativity in my life. Everything I did was not planned, it just happened spontaneously. I think I had for a time, everything I ever wanted, but I still felt empty in the big picture of the world. I still hadn't fully realised all. Looking back, I had awkward, uncomfortable parts about myself, something inside that was holding back, and I also realised how shallow I still felt about certain issues. There were other times I felt like Alice in Wonderland. I had a certain stage fright about facing reality in my learning new ropes. In many ways the pendulum can swing the other way, by being to detached from reality, or the world. I guess my journey at that point could only go so far. 

It's true to a degree, that saying, "You can only understand life backwards." I had so much to be thankful for back then, but I was still not developed enough. I realised little things about myself. How critical I could be about the lives of others. (Much of this from how I was brought up, that I was now peeling away, but it was hard to do.) Wisdom takes time, and much of that may hopefully develop with age. Each segment of our lives is a gift. And yes, maybe it's not seen to be so at the time. We only have to look at the way everyone thought in the fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, wow!

Anyway, it was a time I had nothing. It was like living in an invisible world, (Detached.) And yet, in a few short years I had accomplished so much. I was given so much of what I always wanted. But most of all, the "time" and "space" to do it- in various pockets of time with a certain ease. I created art cards and sold them in book/gift stores. (This I remember I always wanted to do, ever since a very young girl. I had passed a shop outside of a London Museum that sold geometric looking art cards. OMG! I knew I wanted to do that! I recognised it in my soul, but had no words for it at the time, or how it would come about. Then out of the blue, as a matured woman, I had art exhibitions, wrote novels, poetry, created my poetry book and placed that in local stores, I had become quite the gourmet cook, I biked around Maine and enjoyed the scenic wonders with my health at its Marathon peak, and I had suddenly acquired friends who I went to dinner with, or hang out with.

 I basically got the things I thought every normal human being had. I was living the dream to a degree. Life was good living in the moment. And yet, every now and then, there was an undercurrent reminding me there was more to it. A wild in me, still searching in my soul. More living to do.
I think what I'm trying to say, is that there are times in our lives when everything comes together. Passages of time when you get to experience all those things you felt in your soul you wanted. Not all at once, but over a time span. And then there are other times, nothing happens, it might seem. There's another learning process going on, unconsciously. And here I guess I shall place the quote: "When you learn not to want things so badly, life comes to you."

There are some places, and people in our lives, more so than others, that seem to have passed on to us the best of memories, and who took part in the unfolding of many of our dreams, without our realising it until much later.

Did you get to do all the things in your life yet? or are you still waiting? No, it's not a bucket list, necessarily. Most things will come in some shape or form. How they come as we grow, is another matter. What was it that you really wanted and got? And once you had it, how did it make you feel? Were you still empty inside? Did the glory moment pass all too quickly to really complete you and make you satisfied? Or was it a wow moment? How long did it last?  Here's the key. "The essence of the way is detachment."

On the other hand, you'll get to experience things, you never thought of doing, like maybe a ride in a hot air balloon or something. (Maybe that will have more to do with getting a grand picture of things, or how wonderful life can be, or how small we are, or simply about overcoming certain fears.) At other times a lesson might turn into a gift. Actually, detachment has many meanings, when I think about it, but I just can't express them all into words, as they float on by- right now. We live in a time when we want everything "now." Maybe detachment is learning to let go a little more, or not hold the reigns of life too tightly, or it maybe a way of thinking you're ready to let go of towards a greater realisation of self, or it might be in this day and age a greater detachment from social networking. A relationship. And the big one is, finding a new way to breaking bad habits.

I'm sure many of you will have your own version of detachment that will trigger off thoughts that you never thought would be connected to such a word, like some of my versions. Whatever detachment is to you, I hope at some point it will make your life better.

I've started one of those creative visual boards. You know, where you cut out pictures of stuff you still want to see happening in your life on to a board. I guess you could do the same by cutting and pasting images from the net, and create a collage visual board that way too into a document.

Enjoy your week! Jacqueline Howett

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