Detachment: a “dirty word” that promises freedom

What feelings come up when you read the following two words:

  • Obedience
  • Detachment

Are your feelings positive or negative?

Are these words to be avoided at all costs or embraced?

Do these words hinder your freedom or enhance it?

In a later post I will deal with obedience, one of the most freeing words in the entire English language.

Today I will deal with detachment because I finally found out what it means.

Detachment can strike fear into the hearts of those pursuing an authentic spiritual life. It means walking away and letting go.

What do I have to give up?

Will I have to watch less TV, skip that beer or ice cream, put aside dreams of a tropical winter get-away in order to instead travel to snowbound Buffalo to visit elderly parents?

Will I have to give up something, or someone I dearly love?

What will I have to sacrifice?

Detachment in part means sacrifice and both words have a negative connotation in this age of you-can-have-it-all.

And there’s more to sacrifice than giving up time, money and material items. There are feelings inside of us that need to be sacrificed too.

That sacrifice is known as self-control.

Thud. Another word that stirs up a negative connotations.

In this age of exposing ourselves on Facebook and Twitter, self-control has fallen by the wayside.

When we feel bad, we show it. Why hide it? We not only show it, we indulge in it. We feel entitled to wallow in it. Hell, we feel like crap so why not just let it take over?

At some point you long to escape. Escape, as you know, comes about in many unhealthy, even deadly forms. Just ask Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith.

Oh that’s right. We can’t.

What does all this have to do with detachment? Here’s how.

And I only just learned this in the last few days.

On Saturday we said goodbye to our 26 year-old son. He is moving from his place near our home in central MA to Brooklyn, NY to explore new options in his life. It’s only four hours away but it might as well be on the other side of this planet to this mother’s heart.

I urged him to go.

Heck, I was the main cheerleader. And I was bound and determined not to lose it in front of him.

So just before the big goodbye, I stole away to the bathroom in his house and begged God to help me put a lid on my emotions.

The response was an impulse to pray the Hail Mary.

With that first of many Hail Mary’s I recalled that the Mother of Jesus had to endure such a goodbye too. She would understand and she would listen to me.

I then rifled through my pocketbook and found my rosary ring. I put it in my pocket and fingered it, continuing to pray.

And when it came time to say goodbye, I only cried a little.

We exchanged warm hugs and a few tears flowed but I held it together.

I realized at that moment that asking God to intervene, He stepped in between my son and myself, providing that little bit of detachment that allowed me to keep a lid on my emotions.

Later on in the privacy of my kitchen, I had my cry.

Detachment saved me from embarrassment, not only for myself, but for my son and everyone else that was there when we exchanged goodbyes.

from http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/topics_blackholes_blackholes.html

And now I am working on building on that detachment.

The pain of saying goodbye is not unlike grief and it can become a black hole, sucking you in and smothering the life out of you.

The natural inclination is to go towards that black hole.

The smart thing to do is to step back.

I work up this morning filled with pain over the goodbye. But I washed up, went to Sunday mass, did the food shopping and spent the day with my husband.

I clung to God and made a deliberate effort to tell that black hole I wasn’t going to be sucked in.

It wasn’t easy.

A lot of the time I just wanted to lay down on my bed and go to sleep.

The lesson of yesterday’s goodbye and the taste of freedom from that small bit of detachment gave me the impetus to keep pursuing it.

I sacrificed the urge to give in to the pain.

Using self-control, I deliberately turned away from pain of the past and fixed my gaze upon the future.

Little things like a medium Dunkin’ Donuts mocha ice coffee helped in the cause.

God teaches us detachment for a reason.

He wants to set us free. I feel like I have discovered a most precious secret.

And so I bid my son a bittersweet farewell, knowing it’s for the best and wishing him many blessings in his journey.

I have already found mine.

Click to Tweet & Share: Saying goodbye to our son hurt but taught me something new: turning to God, I learned to walk away & not lose it. http://wp.me/p2D9hg-8s

em space

Join my Email List to subscribe to this blog andreceive your free coloring book (and more).

Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read my other blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

Advertisements

Acts of kindness are alive and well

This piece was posted on the Facebook page of my son Stephen who is 26. I asked him if I could share it with you.

The next time the world starts to get you down with all the darkness, selfishness and cruelty that seems endless, think of little stories like this and remember that decency, thoughtfulness and childlike purity are all alive and well.

After picking up my girlfriend Nic from her place, I noticed a Buzz Lightyear toy lying in the road while at a stoplight.

In a rush of pity and instinct I jumped out of the car to save it from oncoming traffic. As we were driving away, I noticed a Woody doll lying on the opposite end of the street staring forlornly at us as we drove off.

For the next ten minutes I lamented only being able to save one of them from a miserable fate until Nic finally suggested that maybe I should go back and retrieve him as well.

Feeling kind of silly and stupid, but determined nonetheless, I turned the car around at the Hess station in Watertown to go back. Sure enough, the Woody was still lying in the street.

As I pulled over to park, I noticed a tall biker gently reach down and pluck Woody off street and walk to a parked car nearby. Woody and Buzz Lightyear, sidekicks from the Toy Story series,  usually come in a set and figuring if he was rescuing one he’d want the set, I got out of the car and walked over to hand over Buzz Lightyear to him.

Friends forever: Woody and Buzz Lightyear

As it turned out, the Biker was handing the toy to its original owner, a small kid who had accidentally dropped both toys out of the car as he and his mother had driven down the street some time earlier.

“Woody!” he excitedly yelled as he was reunited with his lost toy.

The mother smiled as the Biker and his girlfriend joked that she should drive with the windows up from now on.

The boy’s eyes lit up even more as I handed over Buzz Lightyear and explained that I had found it earlier and felt bad splitting the two famous friends up.

“Buzz!” he exclaimed, and hugged the two toys to him.

There was a quiet moment between the four adults as we all chuckled a little and smiled at each other.

Thinking about it as I drove away, I realized that had I come at any other time, this moment would never have taken place.

I guess it just goes to show that it’s never the wrong time to try and do something nice, even if you’re not sure why you’re doing it in the first place.

Stephen Bailey

Click to Tweet & Share: Toy Story friends Woody and Buzz Lightyear inspire unexpected acts of kindness. Decency lives! http://wp.me/p2D9hg-7T

em space

Join my Email List to subscribe to this blog andreceive your free coloring book (and more).

Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read my other blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

Seven Kittens show us what an ideal world can look like

at 2 months – Hank is looking up while the others sleep

What began as a romp watching cute kittens on a live cam morphed into something
much bigger.

It was something the UStream chat community, the foster family and the eventual new owners of the kittens could have hardly anticipated.

Seven kittens and their mother taught us showed us what a perfect world could look like.

The story behind “sevenkittens”

According to the information on the Ustream site known as “sevenkittens,” the kittens were born on June 7. The mother cat, Noodles, under a year old, was a hungry, pregnant stray taken in and fostered by a kind Pittsburgh, PA family.

Here is a video of the litter, one day old:

All are spoken for

As the family already has four cats of their own, Noodles and her litter were put up for adoption. I am happy to report that each kitten and Noodles too, have been adopted (in fact, Noodles will be going to her new home with one of her ginger sons).

3 weeks, after feeding at the “milk bar”

Breakdown of the family

There are five male gingers: three are orange, one is buff-colored and the fifth is nearly white. This kitten, dubbed “Runty” by the chat community, was, in fact, the runt of the litter.

The two females are tortis, one black and the other gray.

The best of care

The foster family has lavished great care on this litter, producing beautiful, healthy and socially adjusted kittens ready for their forever homes.

Gone viral

LiveCams of baby animals are popping up all over the place, from birds’ nests to litters of puppies and kittens.

Yet “sevenkittens” has managed an astonishing three million-plus views! This weekend those of us who have been following the litter with great interest will bid a fond farewell and shed more than few tears.

What was it about this litter of kittens that attracted over three million views?

  • Loki (Runty) at 8 weeks with the lucky lady he would soon go home with

    A compelling storyline. “Runty” (now known as Loki) stole the hearts of everyone who visited. We all rooted for him as he grew from an alarmingly small newborn to a sweet, healthy and magnificent looking boy-cat.

  • Supermom! Noodles’ care of seven rambunctious kittens, especially considering her youth, was extraordinary. When she wasn’t with her kittens, she was calling to them. She’d even play with them.
  • Variety. There was something for everyone in this litter from gingers to tortis, from sweet-tempered to rambunctious, glamorous girls and handsome boys.
  • at 2 months – Ramon (left) and the lovely Venus (right)

    Beautiful, peaceful images. The pictures of Noodles nursing her kittens soothed many a viewer who would check in during a stressful work day.

  • A viable, and international, community. Kittens are universal. Members of the chat community literally came from all over the world, chatting in many foreign languages. We had a common interest in mind – love for this cat family – and we got to know each other in the process.
  • A happy ending. Animal lovers know how many strays suffer and die prematurely. We’ve seen those disturbing ads from the Humane Society. This foster family lavished their attention and resources on Noodles and her kittens, sacrificing time, money and a bedroom in their home for them. It was a generous gesture very much appreciated by the whole community. And every kitten (plus the mother) are going to forever homes.

The kindness of strangers. A community pulling together around a common purpose. Scenes of perfect bliss with a mother and her children. And lots of love.

Sounds like a glimpse of a perfect world.

Thank you to the foster family for your generosity, for opening your home and sharing your story, for capturing the best highlights for us to look at again and again, and for Noodles and her children: Taco, Cosmo, Ramon, Hank, Spooky, Venus and most especially Loki.

The live Ustream will be up at least through this Friday, August 17. Highlights are available at the site. There are also videos available on YouTube at kittensseven.

I leave you with a slideshow chronicling the lives of this extraordinary litter. Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you are a member of the chat community or are just interested, email me and I’ll send you all the pictures I’ve collected in a zip file.

Click to Tweet & Share: Seven Kittens show us what an ideal world can look like http://wp.me/p2D9hg-2Q

em space

Join my Email List to subscribe to this blog andreceive your free coloring book (and more).

Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read my other blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion