Have you ever found yourself trying too hard to get a specific result? Have you ever found yourself trying to make someone do something you want them to? Have you ever found yourself bummed out when things don’t work out quite the way you wanted? Or stressed out? 

As we sit for the fifth month of Covid-19 restrictions, are you still mourning the loss of a routine? Of a planned vacation? Of lost income? Are you still feeling helpless to control a never ending out of control situation?

I know I have done and felt all of those emotions.

During an online yoga class yesterday, Susannah (my all time most favorite Cape Cod yoga teacher) said something that immediately resonated with me.

“Notice the details without attachment”. She was referring to how and what you felt during a specific move. The details. But cautioning us to not get emotionally tied to those details. Without Attachment.

I had been struggling a bit to find what felt good for me to write about this week. But the minute Susannah said those words, I knew immediately I needed to explore them further in my writing.

Because I have been very attached over the past few months.

Attached to what my work schedule would have looked like if this pandemic hadn’t hit.
Attached to the idea that if I wasn’t working, I wasn’t useful.
Attached to the idea of how people should be acting during this crisis.
Attached to how I thought my body ‘should’ look at this stage in my life.
Attached to how I think family members should act on family matters.
Attached to ideals I’ve had about what’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ with how I act, what I look like, how I present myself.

Attachments. We all have them. Attachment to what we think is right, wrong, how we should act, what constitutes working hard, how much we should work, how others should act, a specific result that may not be attainable.

Attachments about our worthiness for love, rewards or adoration.

We rarely get an opportunity like we have now, during this global pandemic, to let go of some of our attachments.

Like our routines. Or our work. Or our principles. Or our goals.

Please note – I did NOT say give up on our routines, our work, our principles or our goals. I said let go of our ATTACHMENT to those items.

Those are two very different things!

One of my favorite books is Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. For those who have never read this book, or need a quick refresher, I wrote a blog a while ago that puts them into layman terms. 

The sixth spiritual law is The Law of Detachment.  ”The Law of Detachment says that in order to acquire anything in the physical universe, you have to relinquish your attachment to it. This doesn’t mean you give up the intention to create your desire. You don’t give up the intention, and you don’t give up the desire. You give up your attachment to the result.”

Don’t give up the intention. Don’t give up the desire. Give up the attachment to the result.

An easy example of this would be the intention to create the physical body you desire. Where do we usually start? With weight loss goals. I want to weigh X by Y timeframe.

Intention: Get healthier by losing weight. Desire: Look and feel better. Attachment: A number on the scale.

We all know (or at least we all know!) that the number on the scale does not give you a fair representation of how you look, feel or how healthy you are. Sure, the number is a variable, but I know very muscular women who would be considered overweight simply because muscle weighs more than fat.

And I also know women who look very slender but have health risks because they don’t eat enough or work out too much.

Detach from the number. Focus on the intention to be healthy and the desire to look and feel better.

Another good example of detachment from attachments would be the need to work a certain number of hours a day to be productive. To be worthy. To be considered a hard worker.

Intention: Do good work. Desire: Be recognized for said good work. Attachment: Working 10+hours a day.

True story – for years I thought that the more I worked, the better I would be. Then came the year I overworked myself beyond recognition to get promoted (attached to a result). Then came the call that I did not get promoted.

So I got pissed off, stopped working so hard, focused on quality work vs. quantity work, cut back my working hours, enjoyed life more. And got promoted.

At the time I did not realize that my situation feel under the sixth spiritual law of success, but in hind sight I understand clearly.

When Susannah told us to notice the details without attachment, I was reminded of Deepak’s law of success.

Like a spiritual slap up side the head.

And all of a sudden, I was able to release some of my stress and anxiety about what the next few months (or longer) would look like as we continue to experience Covid-19 interruptions to work, business, family, routine.

I was able to release my need to control people and situations that weren’t working for me right now.

I was able to observe the details of all that is going on around me without judgement or a need to be right. And by doing so, released myself from excessive anger.

But I will be truthful – I still have a hard time detaching from that number on the scale!

What situations, emotions, expectations, judgements, people or other attachments can you detach yourself from this week? 


  • Gayle Hilgendorff

    Executive Health and Leadership Coach, Thrive Global Facilitator, Author and Aspiring Blogger

    Gayle Hilgendorff Executive Health and Leadership Coach / Thrive Global Facilitator / Aspiring Blogger (corporate2carny) / Author of Live More, Work Better: A Practical Guide to a Balanced Life (Bascom Hill Publishing Group, 2015) Gayle Hilgendorff is a certified executive health and leadership coach who left her Managing Director of Human Resources position at Accenture in 2011 to found her own business focused on helping corporate executives achieve their best, professionally and personally, through better health. While at Accenture, Gayle was responsible for executive career coaching and leadership development programs for a global organization of 30,000 people. After a turning point in her own career, she realized that true leadership and professional success were founded on being a healthy person – mentally, physically and emotionally – not just working harder. Gayle’s health passion became a platform for her consulting work with corporate executives. Working with participants across the globe, she incorporates holistic health concepts into her leadership coaching. Gayle integrates basic knowledge about how eating better, moving more, and finding ways to manage stress are the true foundations for a successful personal and professional life. With science backed concepts, and easy to integrate actions, Gayle’s programs have received high praise and tangible results. Gayle’s background in the corporate world combined with her likable, easy style make her a believable, relatable coach/presenter/author who has proven success in helping people make big change.