Monday, June 14

Tuesday’s Temptation: I’m right! Darnit! and Pay attention to my rightness!

I'm right! Darnit! and Pay attention to my rightness!

Or, in other words, attachment to rightness. But not just my rightness but acknowledgment of my rightness.

You see, I know that I'm right. That I was right. That my rightness is justified. But by gosh, I want to hear my two team-members say so.

This is a true thing before me this morning as emails about a team project have been flying through the air. Do I let go of the micro-aggressions and the multiple soul-sized papercuts? Or do I point out that I am not being heard or acknowledged? This is for a major grade in class. Hmm. The team has come around to my initial suggestion while altogether side-stepping or acknowledging that I articulated the idea. This is such a frustrating place to be in. I feel like I am understanding that thing that happens in groups where a woman states an idea, a man restates it, then it is a fabulous idea! - a Hepeat if you will. But then there are the women that go along with the hepeat! What gives?!

So, I suppose, my task is to know what battles to fight. Will the battle yield fruit? Isn't that a strange battle? Battles that yield fruit? Maybe I'm thinking about this in a wrong way if I'm thinking in battle terminology! How about I twist it up... What seed did I plant? (the idea) Will it yield fruit? (yes) Does it need a little fertilizer? (yes).

I think that is a better way of looking at the topic. I'm still really annoyed. The idea still needs some help. But I don't need to go into battle. I need to plant seeds. And I need to practice non-attachment to my rightness.

“Non-attachment is the process of creating without being attached to the results.” Beth Banning
“It is a sign of great character and strength to be able to lose your attachment to anyone or anything that isn’t good for you.” Anonymous
“One should discard attachment to be happy.” Chanakya
“Let go of expectations. Let go of your attachment to outcomes.” Anonymous
“Nothing ever belonged to you. Even you will be returned. Don’t get attached.” Anonymous

My prayer for everyone today is that we find a path to happiness that yields in planting seeds rather than in going into battle.


by Michael Bemmerl
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany


  • I think this is a tricky, yet very deep, subject to address. Please note that I do NOT profess to know the answer to the following. But … just to be supposing … suppose you went back to c. 1960, and suppose you’re standing on that bus, or maybe sitting beside, Rosa Parks.. The bus conductor tells Rosa to move to the back of the bus. Rosa refuses, for reasons she has described elsewhere. What do you do? Do you cheer her on and celebrate her courage? Or do you say “Yeah, Rosa, I know it’s a literal pain in the ass (or legs or back … ) , but is it really such a good idea to be so attached to this particular seat on the bus? Is it really healthy for you to be so attached to this particular seat in this particular section (front) of the bus?” Or maybe you’re at a segregated lunch counter when a group of African-American folks come in, sit down, and ask for service. Do you ask them if maybe they are not overly attached to these particular seats at this particular lunch counter? So maybe they should just get up and leave, as management has asked them to, and “detach” themselves from this lunch counter.

    I guess what I’m saying is that, when you get down to specific cases — THIS seat on the bus, THIS lunch counter — you take your stand at some particular place in some particular set of circumstances. History is particularized. History is in the details.

    How do you articulate the difference between Rosa Parks and the lunch-counter diners and attachment?

    PS — This is particularly painful for me to think about, especially because of my experience in Boston and Seattle Univ and my ill-fated “vocational” pursuit. I dunno … maybe I did plant a shit-ton of seeds. And, yes, granted, maybe I should’ve been willing to rest content just having planted seeds. But … OK … perhaps so should farmers in KS and OK during the Dust Bowl.

  • Yes … “both / and” works in lots of cases, but how would Rosa go about relinquishing her bus seat AND keeping it? Jesus said He came to set family members at odds with each other (paraphrased). Many cases are “both / and” but many are “either / or”.

Leave a Reply