When my ex-husband and I first separated, I took up cycling which I continued to do regularly for a couple of years. I was really out of shape when I began but my conditioning gradually improved. Over time, a nice camaraderie developed among the regular riders. All in all, I have very fond memories of that period of time. Looking back I wonder why I waited until our separation for me to start riding. S. was and still is an avid cyclist and it was a pastime we could have shared when married but rarely did. In the end, even though S. and I didn’t experience cycling together, his love of riding was there as a model which I ended up emulating.
Buddhism was also something that he was interested in. S. would talk about how people needed to develop the ability to be less attached to things since attachment is the biggest source of human suffering. Even though our marriage ended long ago, S. and I remain a part of each other’s lives. His interest in Buddhism has deepened over time and it is one of the things that we talk about when we get together.
I’ve tried to be an attentive listener through the years but had no intention of applying his beliefs to my own life. Lately, however, I find myself more and more interested in the concept of attachment. I used to think that trying to be less attached meant that you were less invested in life; that choosing to feel detached meant you always had your foot slightly on the brake pedal and would never feel anything very strongly. But I don’t believe that anymore. Now I think it has more to do with being as fully present as possible as you go about each day but then moving on when any given moment passes.
I experienced something like that last Friday night when I was honored at work. Many, many wonderful things were said about me and to me and I did my absolute best to soak it all in. It was incredibly special. But when it was over, it was over; I am the exact same person I was before all the accolades. Since then S. shared with me a snippet of an interview he had seen with the writer, Isaac Bashevis Singer, that captures my feelings about this exactly:
Singer described the day that he won the Nobel for Literature. Reporters, friends all congratulating him, very heady. Then he said he returned to being the same old “schlemiel” he was before.
I love that!
Next challenge – figuring out how to have a little sense of detachment when I have feelings for someone.