The word Detachment is generally used to describe a negative avoidance. What about positive detachment? Can we practice detachment in an impulsive yet constructive manner?
The action pattern I see in my friends when they get mad at their partners is to start cleaning. When my friends have been fighting over household chores, it was spent in parallel play with one person angrily sanitizing the kitchen table while another person was wiping down cabinets. This was a productive way of putting action to the issue at hand, which normally was a list of issues with cleaning delegation being within the topic. When I am upset with something I have no control over, my house is spotless.
I became aware of this positive way of detaching and began collecting my own data on stress. I already knew that my immune system had been weakened by stress, and when under duress I shake and my stomach feels as though one of those “Tremor” movie worms is going to bust out of my guts. I needed the answer to “what happens after” and the natural consequences to follow. I realized that I detach in times of stress to cool my physical response. Cleaning is one task that leads to a wonderful smelling home as a reward. I also bake.
Ever noticed how when a woman is upset she will bake bread? She pounds her frustrations out on the dough while creating a delicious treat for her family and it is rewarding. The physical activity is in place, and the reward is not far behind. My house smells of cookies and bread and I no longer feel like I have to become a Super-Agent and solve the world’s atrocities. I detached and threw myself into an activity that placed me in the here and now. I was beginning to understand that detachment is not always negative.
Video games also provide a focus and force for a person to get lost into. Not every problem we have in life can be solved immediately. This is the biggest lesson I have been meekly learning; we must wait. In the meantime, how do we not drive ourselves crazy? We leave Vault 101 and explore the wastelands. We go to Skyrim and up our alchemy skills. “When you focus on the problem, you can’t see the solution.” Patch Adams is right. Give your mind a break for an hour or six. I have enjoyed the music from Fallout 3, it will be stuck in my head forever.
Music. Music invokes emotion. This can be a trap as sometimes I do not want to be sad and the song comes on and here I go back to nostalgia. I listen so closely to the words, they become my mantra. This is positive as well, as sometimes I think feelings get stuck. The torrent pushes a bunch of crap together and it sticks and forces the flow in other directions. Sometimes it starts a flood, and the tears are the river to that quiet calm after-cry feeling. I have been listening to Grouch and Eligh lately for all my emotional needs. They have authority on the storm; they moved through the storm, they keep pressing on in spite of any storms that may come. This positivity is golden in music, and my detachment becomes a window to the view of the future, instead of a tomb to the past. The song “Lighthouses” is one of my favorite.
Detachment is a beautiful gift for the mind that tends towards obsessive compulsion. This same obsessive quality can also be positive, as it takes perseverance to do research. Knowing when to take a break and detach is equally important.