Many years ago, while touring a home full of valuable antiques and paintings, the owner turned to me and said, “We are the caretakers while we’re here on earth.” 

Recently, during a conversation with someone facing the possibility that they may need to sell their home, I heard again, “we are the caretakers.” If the house needs to be released – it’s okay; “it’s not a possession that defines me.”

“It’s not a possession that defines me.” A powerful mindset.

A business goes under; a house must be sold, and a job is lost. Disappointment is a healthy response, but devastation, embarrassment, feeling like a failure, and feeling unsafe. Hmm… could there be a different approach?

We hold on to things – jobs, people, and situations we believe are needed for our happiness, survival, and our worth. These things inform our behavior and become a driving force to acquire, strive for more, and be enough.

Force is pressure.

I read this in the Bhagavad Gita (Indian scripture) – “do our duties without attachment because attachment is the root cause of suffering.”

  • When we are subject to attachments, we react differently to different situations. We suffer from conflicting emotions. We live with the fear of loss or the hope of gain. Our attachments prevent us from being who we are and what we can be. They do not let us experience reality without coloring our perceptions and understanding. They hold us back from flowing with life.
  • We become limited and self-centered because of them. We stop being truthful, honest, and transparent.
  • We wear masks and pretend what we are not.
  • We seek relationships that serve our interests or promote our welfare. We lose touch with the reality.
  • We seek permanence by having things and accumulating them and pursue things that are inherently harmful and destructive, at the expense of our own good.
  • We allow ourselves to be guided by our conditioning.

Be of service without attachment to the outcome.
Heart and soul engaged in action, but not tied to result.

Unconscious conditioning leads us to believe that a car, home, clothes, art, jewelry, job title, and career accomplishments will make us feel that we belong. 

But for many, it’s a mask to hide behind – the mask worn to avoid the voice in your head saying, “you’re not good enough, special enough, smart enough, pretty enough, kind enough,” and so on.

There’s no room for joy when fearing failure if the outcome imagined does not come to fruition, fearing for your safety (or image) if a possession goes away, or fearing that you’re not “good enough” and need the outside world to validate and define who you are.

For most, fear isn’t acknowledged. Instead, anxiety, anxiousness, sleeplessness, worry, overwhelm, substance abuse, busyness addiction, workaholism, and depression are at epidemic levels. All of these could be signs that the underlying emotion is fear –fearing the loss of something.

What possibilities would open up for you if you did not fear loss, failure, losing a home, a beloved possession, or a career position? 

Dr. David R. Hawkins, in his book “Letting Go, The Pathway of Surrender,” talks about re-owning your power, previously given to the world. He’s speaking of how humans look for safety, validation, and self-worth outside themselves. 

For so many years, I had a death grip on everything. I held tight, worked very hard, juggled all the balls, stayed in control (or so I thought), took anti-depressants and sleeping pills, and glued a smile on my face, convincing even myself that my life was rosy and good. Not so.

“Non-attachment is an illumining and liberating force. Attachment is a binding and blinding force. Attachment-teacher tells us that we need everything in God’s creation. Non-attachment-teacher tells us that there is nothing on earth worth having.” – Sri Chinmoy

How different would you feel when approaching each day “heart and soul engaged in action, but not tied to an outcome,” and as a “caretaker” instead of an “owner” while walking this earth?

The only person that can define you – is you! 

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” Carl Jung
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