How to Release Attachment to Outcomes & Embrace Joy in the Present Moment

As I write this, I must admit that it’s pretty late. I should probably be asleep, but I wanted to share an idea I’ve had lumbering around in my head for the last few days before it finally falls out of one of my ears. I have 3 simple questions for you, and I’d like you to answer as honestly as possible:

Have you ever felt like you weren’t doing enough? That, no matter how much you created, you could still do better? Have you ever had a feeling of quiet doom in the back of your mind?

I know I have, and the good news is, you’re definitely not alone. It seems to be pretty common among creative and intelligent types, and today we’re going to explore the antidote: non-attachment, a quality that I’ve found not only essential for travel but also helpful in every other area of my life, as well.

Are you attached to specifics?

More and more, I’ve been examining and reflecting on what I allow myself to actually care about. I’ve found that the more outcomes I allow myself to get attached to, the less happy I am. I’ve noticed that any time I get attached to a specific way something needs to happen (especially at a specific time), I’m actually constricting the universe around me. I’m saying to the universe, “I know best, and I want things to go *exactly* this way, otherwise I won’t be happy. Got it?”

I’m the only person who does this, right?

I wish… Call it human nature, destiny, whatever. We all do it. The trick is realizing when you’re doing it. After all, without awareness, no problems can be solved. (I think that’s why The Polyphonic Spree’s mythic story is about awareness, tragedy, and triumph. But that’s a story for another article.)

And as with many internal problems, a change of perspective is the first step. Over the last year or so, I came across an empowering question. The question, when asked, was like a splash of cold water on my face and made me feel a heck of a lot better about my life, especially when I was “doing the bad thing” and comparing myself to others. (Pro-tip: Nothing productive ever came out of this. Truly. Ask anyone who is happy in their work, and they’ll say the same.)

The Splash of Cold Water

The question is: If I knew I was going to die in 12 months, what would I let go, and what would I truly care about?

Asking questions like this helps me clarify what (and more importantly, who) is important to me.

This is also why I like being on the road for extended periods of time. It has the remarkable effect of reminding me where the magic is in life: the moment-to-moment connections between people. All of the magical moments I’ve ever experienced involved connections between people in some way. When you surround yourself with positive people that you truly enjoy spending time with, you can’t help but be connected with the infinite present moment. You can’t help but be happy. 🙂

So if the present moment is where joy can be found, is it any wonder why getting hung up on the future (or worse, the past) can be so nerve-wracking? How could it not? I dare you to prove me wrong. Go into the future and get something done.

Back yet?

Putting Happiness in the Future

We only have power in the present moment, and when we get attached to outcomes, we are putting our happiness somewhere in the future, which just doesn’t produce the results we want.

Next time you feel like if you don’t get XYZ done by whenever, ask yourself this: What if you were sick? Or dead? Would the world come to a grinding halt? Would someone be in critical danger, and if so, could someone be called in to replace you? That thing you need to get done may be important, but remember to keep perspective.

You are a cell in the human race. And while you may be a special flower (aren’t we all), you can take a break. The world existed before you and it will continue to spin long after you’re plant food.

The reality is that, whatever your beliefs may be, you’ve been given this magnificent gift: a lifetime on Earth. And isn’t one lifetime it a little too short to stress over the past or the future? When is a good time to start focusing on the present? When is a good time to stop focusing on what you can’t control and start focusing on the myriad of things you can?

Why not today? After all, it’s the only day you’ll ever really have.

How I used Intention-Manifestation to stop an Identity Theft (& had fun doing it)

On Sunday afternoon, I went on a rescue mission.

It’s not often that my explorations have such a narrowly defined end-goal. Usually, they’re more open-ended in nature. But this time, someone’s identity was at stake; so I ventured out into the brisk December air, focused on accomplishing my goal.

The nature of the mission was simple: retrieve a lost social security card that had gone mysteriously missing. It must be kept from falling into the wrong hands. And in the process of searching, I instinctively used the intention-manifestation model of reality (also known as the Law of Attraction) to help me find it, soon realizing that sometimes finding what you really want is more effortless than finding what you don’t.

The card belonged to my brother, who lives nearby; and he had been very concerned since it had gone missing. I can’t say I blame him. After all, identity theft is a serious concern. And even though electronic identity theft gets a lot of attention these days, the majority of theft still occurs through paper means.

Clearly, retrieving this social security card was paramount. (The last thing anyone needs is someone pretending to be them.) And since I had some extra time on Sunday, I decided to wander around the place where he thought he’d lost it. What I didn’t realize until later was that I had instinctively used the intention-manifestation mindset… with unexpected results.

How to use Intention-Manifestation

I’ve already written about how I used the intention-manifestation model to get paid to travel 1,000 miles, but I’m going to restate it here in case you haven’t read that article yet.

Here’s how it works:

  • I made the decision
  • From that decision, I stated what I wanted to happen: “I will find the SSN card.”
  • I had faith that this would be resolved. I let the universe “Make It So.”
  • I let the intention go. I didn’t cling to it. (This is very important for it to work.)

The best theory was that the card had been placed, along with some other documents, atop a car and then forgotten about. Thankfully, he already had a good idea of where he might have lost it, so I began doing a wide sweep of that area. It had rained recently, but everything had since dried, leaving everything a bit cleaner than usual.

I walked for some time, shuffling through small piles of leaves along the road with my foot. On my way around the block, I came across a small piece of paper in the middle of the road. It was the right size, but was it his card?

No. It was a tiny promotion for some new pop album, and I continued my search. Along the way, I came across other fragments of paper, but they were always receipts or bits of wrapper.

A Clue that Followed Clarity

Nearly back at where I’d started, I finally saw something interesting. With a slightly different vantage point, I now saw a fragment of something white covered in leaves on the edge of the street. I ran over and brushed the leaves aside. It was my brother’s latest bank statement!

“Look gang, a clue!”

He must have had his SSN card folded up inside of it, but it wasn’t in there now. I knew I was close. I could smell victory. I began walking along the edge of the street for a moment, but for some reason stepped up and began walking down the sidewalk. And then, I was stunned by what I saw.

Lying atop green grass, in perfect plain sight, was the social security card.

My eyes widened as I crouched down and picked it up. I had actually found it. With a combination of persistence, faith, and clarity, I had manifested what I was looking for; and when I returned it to him, my brother was quite relieved to have it back. (In case you’re not familiar with social security numbers, I should explain that if I hadn’t found the card, it’s possible that someone could have taken is social security number off of the card and damaged his credit, or worse.)

Make It So!

Only later did I realize that I had used the intention-manifestation model to accomplish my mission. Nowadays it’s become a habit of mine to state what I want verbally and then release the intention with faith. Often, this produces some surprising results. The key is to remember that if you doubt it in your mind, then you’ll find doubt all around you. But by being very clear about what I wanted, releasing the intention with faith, and putting in focused effort toward my goal, I manifested the outcome I wanted with much less effort than I would have ever guessed. In fact, using intention-manifestation can be a blast if you maintain a playful attitude. 🙂

Have you ever used the intention-manifestation model? Remember that when you do, it’s key to release your desire with faith. There can be no clinging to a specific outcome. When you release it with faith, you have faith that it will manifest in the most natural way possible.

What about you? What’s your goal? Say it out loud right now, and then tell the universe, “Make it so.” Strange coincidences and synchronicities will arrive, and when they do, follow them.

They may even seem strange, but by following them, you allow your goal to manifest.