After announcing my retirement at the first of this year, I want to share a bit about the back story leading up to that decision. I stated last week that what has stood in the way of this decision has been my attachment to the many things I had become used to. So, I want to say more about attachments.
First, one of the things I know to be true is that all suffering comes from resisting what is! What do I mean by that? The simple reality is that we want things, people, and circumstances to be the way we want them to be. We’re like little children in a big body, complaining that the world is not dedicated to being the way we want it to be so we can be happy. So, when we resist things being exactly the way they are and the way they are not, we suffer. And suffering comes in many forms, but the bottom line is that we are not happy.
We can eliminate essentially all forms of suffering if we just learn to accept that things, people and circumstances are the way they are. That doesn’t mean that we like any of it. But you can’t even begin to change anything if you don’t start from accepting that it is the way it is.
Secondly, one thing that causes us to resist what is are our attachments. What do I mean by “attachments?” Not only do we want things and people to be the way we want them to be, we are determined that they be that way, and our very existence, our happiness and our joy are all wrapped up in whether or not they are the way we want them to be. This is what I mean by attachments.
Now you might, at first, think that you don’t feel that strongly about anything or anybody. If you think that, you’re being naïve. People generally do not look carefully enough at how they approach life to see how much they are attached to life being the way they want it to be and that was exactly what was going on with me. Think about it. Don’t you really care a lot about how your business is, how your spouse and children are, how your employees or co-workers are, how successful you are, how much money you make, how much money you have in the bank, how your sales go, what others think about you, etc.? I could go on and on. Don’t you really care about a lot of things and people and spend time and energy trying to have them be the way you want them to be?
Now you might say: what’s wrong with caring about things like that? There’s nothing wrong with caring, as long as you care in a loving way. But when you’re attached and things have to be a certain way, you pretty much guarantee you will never be happy, and I hope that’s obvious. If it isn’t, just realize that things and people will never be the way you want them to be, even if you don’t realize that, and when you put your happiness and peace of mind at stake in attempting to overcome that, your happiness and peace go out the window. The result is that the possibility of having an amazing life and a truly successful business go out the window too.
For me, I just didn’t realize how much I was attached to my speaking and coaching career and to the beautiful home I have in San Juan Capistrano. I have spent 2 years and a lot of money trying to revitalize my business, but with little success. When I moved into this house 4 years ago, I was married with a big family. But now I live alone. And I really was suffering, again, resisting what is and being frustrated that it was that way.
I must tell you that the moment I released it all, told the truth, and decided to retire and sell the house, it’s like somebody came in the room and turned the light on. I’m excited, feel free again, and looking forward to the next chapter in my life, continuing with the adventure my life has always been. And if you use this information and my experience to look at your attachments and what you are resisting, you too might find the switch that turns your light on!