13 March 2011

Attachment = Love?

I had a coffee date with a friend this weekend. We spend most of the afternoon chatting about some of the experiences we've had at work. The conclusion for me was that the best work I've done with clients and the most fulfilling interactions I've had with coworkers had the common link of love. Even as I'm typing this out, I'm feeling pretty vulnerable. It's amazing how scary it can be for me to admit that I feel love for my coworkers and my clients. I don't know if I've ever been explicitly told to 'not' love my clients, but I'm sure it has been recommended from time to time. I suppose this is why I have nights that include very little sleep and other nights that include vivid dreams of work.
I'm working towards a place where I can calm my mental processing to a dull roar and get sleep. One thing that has worked for me is practicing what I've read in Thich Nhat Hanh's book, Reconciliation: healing the inner child.

I have read most of the book already and am still marinating in a few of the quotes I've marked so far.
Side note...I've started 'dog-earing' the pages where I find these quotes. I started doing this while reading Carol Shields', Unless because I didn't want to forget the gems hidden in the pages. I'm not that great at memorizing quotes at first glance. This is a good way for me to reach out to my library and find the thinkable words quickly.
"There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way. There is no way to enlightenment, enlightenment is the way." I can't stop thinking about this. When I start to feel down, I remember that there is no journey to happiness, I just have to feel it - happy that is. So, I try to do this or at least practice feeling happy even when I'm not feeling all so great.
Love is hard - attachment is difficult. Living in our vulnerability can be scary sometimes, but the greatest feelings come from capitalizing on these moments of discomfort. What a welcome realization to know I do not have to swim through the sludge with people? I can bear witness and encourage the journey forward - because happiness is the journey. Thich Nhat Hanh mentions that there is so much suffering in the world we don't need to add to it with our own thinking errors. I believe it would just double the suffering if every time I hear a story of someone's suffering I took it on as my own...now we have two people suffering instead of just one. I will reflect back love and compassion. So, back to the sleepless night and intrusive dreams - I guess I should remember to embrace love and compassion for myself instead of encouraging the ineffective thought process. :)
I do have to give kudos Dr. Gordon Neufeld. He (I believe) was inspired by John Bowlby's work on attachment with Mary Ainsworth. Dr. Neufeld mentioned at a training I took that Bowlby said something along the lines of (or his wife did...) you can't claim to have discovered love, but he could say that he named attachment. I have thought about this.

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