Are you stuck in the past or worried about the future? These are only two of the many attachments people carry with them when they are moving too fast without being conscious. It’s like dragging around a suitcase full of bricks. These negative attachments only keep you from reaching your potential – it’s just old baggage. And to become conscious you need to travel light.
An elephant never forgets and a dog never remembers. Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan coaches his human clients in Cesar’s Way: “Being fearful in the present because of something bad that happened in the past is a human trait, not a dog trait.” Dogs live in the moment. They respond by visceral instinct and don’t experience episodic memory. They aren’t attached to emotional baggage in the way people are. This is why so many of our human attachments are poisonous.
How We Poison Our Lives with Attachments
All of us have conversations with ourselves that keep us stuck in old patterns and shackled to dysfunctional habits. Attachments come in all shapes and sizes—simple thoughts and feelings, elaborate philosophies about life, desires about the future, and ideas about success. When we carry these with us, they develop and grow like weeds: deep, dense, rooted and entangled. Sometimes they control our mind.
In work and life, we see six common human attachments: desire for stability, clinging to the past, idealizing the future, thirsting for control, chasing success and striving for perfection. Which ones do you see most in your life and work?
Every morning when we get up we activate a switch when we open our eyes. We choose – consciously or unconsciously – how we want to live the day. We can choose to live the day in confidence, full of joy, love, curiosity, and freedom. Or, we can choose a path driven by fear, full of disappointment, suffering, and anxiety. The choice is ours. To overcome the emotional baggage of the toxic attachments in our lives, we need to do a “baggage check” and become more conscious.
Tips for Conscious Living:
• Put aside time to self-reflect and meditate. Give yourself the gift of private time to reflect on your life. By being present with yourself, you will heighten your awareness, reduce stress, make better connections in your relationships at work and at home, and your performance will improve.
• Strengthen your attention skills. Watch how easily you are distracted and by what. By keeping the focus on what matters most, you will stay true to your intentions and get a better outcome.
• Be aware of your attachments, we all have our share of them. When you are feeling stressed and overly anxious, ask yourself, “What attachments are now showing up for me? Where are they coming from? How can I reexamine and minimize them?”