Living with Paradox: Detachment and Connection


It is amazingly paradoxical that in a world exhibiting the need for connection more than ever, having the capacity to invoke healthy detachment can bring us freedom. Go figure.

A friend of mine had a situation where she had accidentally broken the microwave that came with her apartment.  She contacted the manager about it and asked him what needed to be done.  The manager immediately responded that she broke it and she needed to replace it.  My friend decided that she wanted to express to the manager that she would like to split the cost for the replacement (and as she tells the story, because she needed to keep her expenses down and that is what she was willing to do).  The manager went out and bought a new microwave, installed it and decided in the end not to charge her.  My friend profusely thanked him for his gesture of moving toward her interest in this situation (though she did not use all those words).  She mentioned that in the past she would not have spoken up or suggested any alternative and would have just paid for the microwave.  What she noticed was that she didn’t make the situation a personal one but rather detached from “right or wrong” or entitled or not entitled, and leaned into articulating what she needed.  I’m guessing that her approach was kind and neutral of any energetic charge (like “gotcha” or “you owe me!”) and that this afforded the manager a shift in perspective such that he was not put in a position of being on the defensive but being enrolled to share a solution to a problem.  In the end, it became a service and gesture of good will and he became willing to take on the situation and provide for his renter’s need.

To the point, detachment offered my friend the clarity to proceed with what is usually a “charged” situation.  She plainly stated what she was willing to do and what her interest was and provided the manager with another alternative and perspective for his consideration.  That detachment may have been contagious!  Who knows?  I loved witnessing her here and what is exciting is how we all can learn to look for places where we can detach (and more often than not, from an outcome that we must have or else) and end up getting a need met.  It sounds so insanely simple, and yet I can confess heartily to how this is still not an auto response for me.   I’m noticing that now I want to experience that ease and experiment with detaching from a situation that might otherwise bring me discomfort or ill ease. I also love the opportunity to continue to build my “ask for what you need” muscle.   In terms of the link to connection, we can still have and be in connection with people AND hold situations from a place of God's fingersdetachment.   I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled out in the world for “super powers,” those skills and capacities that I believe really catapult us into our more integrated lives, and I definitely put this one in the “super power” category.  I’m also excited to find more examples of where we can live with paradox rather than fighting it, so in this case I’m learning that you can be connected and detached at the same time—and that is not science fiction!!!!!


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