“Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.” ~Simone Weil
Allow me to set the scene.
I’d just spent a gut-wrenching, soul-liberating, ego-dropping weekend in Mexico where the fifteen or so other good-life seekers were looking to experience the same.
Phoenix-life transformation not only in our business lives, but in our whole selves.
And then it happened.
“You’re an addict. And if you don’t stop, you’re going to die” she told me, gazing into my soul with tears in her eyes. I like to refer to this woman as Guardian Angel #1.
Wow! I thought to myself. A ton of sh**-covered bricks just landed on me. I’ve been labeled an “addict”? Wow!!
I mean, I have been known to be the person who abuses alcohol for the wrong reasons. If I was going to a party and I knew girls would be there, I’d drink 5 beers beforehand to remove social awkwardness. If I was hating reality and crying so much that I didn’t want to experience life at the moment because of a lack in coping skills, I’d finish that bottle of vodka.
But an addict of alcohol? At the ripe, mature age of 28? She was selling it, but I wasn’t sure if I was buying it.
Before leaving Mexico in Cancun International Airport, I asked Guardian Angel #2 who witnessed the sh**-brick dropping …
“Why do I have to stop drinking alcohol? I don’t abuse it anymore like I used to. Am I really an addict?”
“Whether you’re an addict or not is probably irrelevant. Even if you don’t abuse it, most people don’t realize the attachments they have to things in their life. Your soul thrives the most when it is free of all attachments” responded GA#2 with gentleness. “In order to let your light shine the most, you need to be free of attachment.”
What’s your Ball-n-Chain?
You know they’re all the same, don’t you?
I’m talking about our addictions. We’re all addicted to something. If we’re spiritually savvy enough, we call them attachments because we attach these things to our ego (simply understood as your personal identity in this current life), empowering the ego with a false sense of greater magnitude.
Our attachments act as little ball-n-chains.
Picture your little, yet gigantic, soul moving to higher and higher levels of consciousness, surpassing buildings, trees, skyscrapers, mountains, and birds. Our wings are flapping, flapping away. Yet, we’re carrying extra baggage.
Without those ball-n-chains, how much higher would our wings be able to take us?
A Ball-n-Chain is anything that causes your response about stopping said activity is: “You mean I have to give up ______? When pigs fly, I’ll give up ______.”
You can plug in any of the below words from the Ball-n-Chain List below into the blanks above:
Substances: Cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, heroine, pain-killers, OTC drugs, grains, chocolate, sugar, processed foods, dairy, coffee.
Hobbies: Television, video games, excessive exercise, anything that puts you in a Flow state, sex (not to be confused with the metaphysical, meditative type of sex that comes when you’re unified with another person beyond the physical, instinctual reproductive urge that is inherent in everyone)
People: boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, son/daughter, mentor, teacher, best friend.
Your Role in Life: “I’m a chiropractor”, “I’m a mentor”, “I’m a musician”, “I’m a mother or father”, “I’m a friend”, “I’m young”.
Regardless of what your ball-n-chain is, they’re all attachments. They prevent you from experiencing the most in the present tense. The NOW. Living in today. Because the preciousness of today is gone in twenty-four hours. And we’ll never get it back.
How To Take Off Your Ball-n-Chain
I still drink alcohol and smoke marijuana.
But, I’ve tested myself and gone without for months.
I still eat food.
But, I’ve tested myself by fasting for 60 hours at a time and continue to fast intermittently almost every day.
I still watch television.
But, I’ve gone three weeks without.
I’m a chiropractor and I love to help people live healthier and happier lives.
But, could I exist in this reality without fulfilling this role and be happy? My heart answers “Yes, I could.”
I see my other roles as “husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, teacher, speaker, author.”
Could I exist today, in the twenty-first century, without fulfilling these roles? My heart answer “I think so.”
Our spirits want freedom. Our spirits want to take off the shackles of the ball-n-chains in order to experience the most of this life. The beauty of this moment, awareness of the way that tree is bending and the flower that took the time to bloom. To vibrate on such a high metaphysical level that no external condition can affect it. No divorce, no break-up, no death, no job change, no injury, no disease.
Questions for you, fellow humble observer, my dear friend.
1. What are your ball-n-chains? What are your attachments?
2. What would life look like without those ball-n-chains or attachments?
3. What type of time period could you use to test your ego’s attachments to those things?
One Last Point
Attachments reinforce our rooting in the matrix. They can make life seem palatable when we’re not in tune with reality.
Our attachments become less palatable when we strengthen our connection to true existence.
True existence is …
Awareness of the miraculous moment that happens when you wake up and wiggle your toes, the sun shining through your window, the crickets and birds whistling, the flowers in bloom, the purple-pink sunset through the clouds, the ability to walk on these two feet, to give another person a hug, to pet a dog, to hike up a mountain, to swim in the ocean, to feel the rain drops on your head.
Connection to now and to the simple fact that you are alive immediately weakens the integrity of the chain that holds you back.
Life is beautiful.
I find myself asking the question often: “Am I an addict?”
If an addict is defined as someone who can’t get away from something, even when he/she wants to get away, then “No”. I can go without.
If an addict is someone who can’t get enough of the bright, bold, orange moon that smiles down on me like it did the last two nights, then happily, I’ll reply with a scream: “Whoop WHOOP”!
Dr. Christopher Stepien is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist (whether physical, mental, or spiritual pain), A.R.T. provider, and clinic director of the Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic and Movement Specialist at Heroes Journey Crossfit in Parsippany, NJ. He has been trained under the Integrative Diagnosis system for “clinical excellence”. Please reach out to him if he can be of a service in any way. It doesn’t hurt to ask.