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Aparigraha: It's a Virtue That Serves You


Aparigraha. A central teaching in yogic text, aparigraha can be explained, or simplified, in an old saying (another that has always made me roll my eyes): 

If you love something, set it free.
If it comes back to you, it was meant to be. 
If it does not, it never was.

Um . . . Ok. I don't think this concept needs to be quite so dramatic. Sometimes, what we think we want or need most right now doesn't manifest because it's just not the right timing. What aparigraha is really about is the idea of acceptance. The physical stance of this idea is holding both hands out, palms up. It says, "what comes will come, what goes will go. There is no need to grasp on to any of it. At the same time, as much as we may want, there is also no chance for learning if we close our hands to something meant for us in any given moment of this life.


I've done both. I'm going to take a wild guess that maybe you have, too.


Grasping is a familiar feeling right now. I'll be honest, my ego is definitely hell-bent on attaching to the "success" of HumaniTee Brand. The moment that I focus on the effort of reaching the world, of putting my heart and creative spirit out there to potentially be disappointed, it all just feels like work, and that isn't why we began this journey. I'm so glad I can sense in my very core when this is happening, because I can stop it and get back to the joy of creating and sharing ideas with all of you. 


How can we become unattached? What does that look like in real life? First, let's be clear. to be unattached does not mean not to care. It doesn't mean to be unaffected or unemotional. We're emotional beings, for goodness' sake! (Interesting side note: that typed as 'goddess'. Maybe I should have left it.) One thing that has helped me is the belief that there is no losing; there is only winning or learning. Thank you, Vivian Carrasco, dear friend, for reminding me of this more often than maybe you should have needed to. The way that I can win is to put my all into the thing that most excites me at that moment. Interestingly, history shows us plenty of examples of success when a person follows his/her heart: Beethoven, Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, Andy Warhol, you get the idea. 


This way of being present also works in relationship, in our jobs, and even in the way we nourish ourselves. Sure, there is probably a long list of "to-do's" for non-attachment; like throwing out the shirt you haven't worn in two years. The starting point to it all, though, is trust. Trust that you will come through the events of life with no less than greater faith and a stronger heart. My hunch is that mastering aparigraha, the art of non-attachment, will actually open doors to success and happiness we could not see when grasping something smaller than we deserved. 


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