Freeing yourself from attachment

David Graham September 15, 2021

Monthly Newsletter

Last summer, I learned an important lesson about letting go.

It was a gorgeous weekend afternoon and I was out on the Humber River with Justin and our friend Mandie. I leaned back in my kayak as a monarch butterfly gracefully flew overhead. The sun reflected off its wings with a flash of orange and I became mesmerized by its beauty. I’ve always been in awe of their carefree flight patterns and amazed that their directionless flutter can lead them in a migratory path all the way to Mexico.

And then — ker-plop!

My brand new, way-too-expensive Ray-Bans fell off the top of my head, landing in the murky waters below. Like Rose in Titanic when she released the heart-shaped necklace into the Atlantic, I took one final breath as I saw my beautiful lenses disappear, knowing I would never see them again.

In an effort to ease my obvious pain, Mandie said, “You know, in the Buddhist tradition, they believe that you should free yourself from attachments.” My first thought was that I wished I had my sunglasses on so she couldn’t see my eyes roll. And then, it sunk in. There was something incredibly powerful about the simplicity of her statement. I began to get curious about what else I was attached to.

It turns out that the answer is, “a lot of things.” Since that day on the Humber, I’ve come to realize that there are multiple forms of attachment — people, attitudes, behaviour patterns. We all have them. One of my deepest attachments is to busyness. When asked how I am, “So busy!” is usually my answer.

Last week, that attachment almost led to accepting an engagement that landed smack dab in the middle of my vacation, which I had been guarding in my calendar for months. Just in the nick of time, I stopped, recognized my attachment, and marvelously said no.

Now, over to you.

  • As you read my reflections, what attachments showed up for you?
  • What are the signs that you will be watching for?
  • What would be the value of shifting or replacing your attachments?

By the time you read this, I will be off on vacation. Treasured time. Ten glorious days, free of attachment, to marvel at the spectacle of nature. Now, if only I could keep the sun out of my eyes.

Adventurously yours,


David Graham

Dave coaches good leaders who want to be great leaders and he works with leaders to build high performing, super-focused teams. For transformational experiences, he takes teams out of the boardroom and into nature.