Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Attachment - Brett Battles

1. What are you attached to that may ultimately be providing more pain, suffering or negativity than pleasure and benefit? And why do you continue to stay attached?

Attachments can be to things, ideas, emotions, people, hell pretty much anything. I have attachments to them all to one extent or another.

Things: Books, books everywhere. Some I’ve owned for decades. Most I’ll never open again, but can’t bring myself to get rid of or even donate to a worth cause. I hold on to ticket stubs that remind me of time spent with good friends, to pictures, to notes, to baseball cards from my youth, to a rock my daughter and I found on a hike eight years ago.

Ideas: My political beliefs, my thought that friendships don’t change just because of time and distance, my belief that everyone I meet is an equal, my feeling that there are connection you can have with people that can not be explained in words.

Emotions: A strong sense of empathy that I’ve come to rely on in helping me get to know and talk to others, the ability to be moved by the simplest things – a gesture, an act of kindness, even a touching TV commercial.

People: My girlfriend, my kids, my family, my friends.

Do any of these cause me more pain, suffering or negativity than pleasure or benefit? I don’t think anything can be measures in such black and white terms. There are probably times when any of the above could do that, but not for long. My life is very positively focused. I don’t think I could become attached to anything that did anything of those things for the long term.

2. Does your “attachment score” at the following survey indicate anything important about your feelings on attachment?

I’m secure and relaxed. Pretty much where I thought I’d be.

3. Is someone too attached to you?

Too much? No. My children and I have a healthy relationship and enjoy each other. My girlfriend and I have the best romantic relationship I’ve ever experienced: loving, supportive, understanding, and independent.

4. Share your thoughts on the following quote: “"Suffering finds its roots in your desire to be free from something that's either present for you right now or something that you fear may be present for you in the future . . . Your suffering is directly proportional to the intensity of your attachments to these passing phenomena and to the strength of your habit of seeking for some kind of personal identity in the world of forms." - Chuck Hillig

God…what’s with all the suffering questions? I have no idea if this is right. I don’t like to suffer, so I don’t. The life I have right now is so close to the one I envisioned when I was 12, it’s hard not to be happy. Suffering just drags me down, and I don’t want that. Ever.

5. Are you able to get rid of the life you’ve planned, so you can have the life that is waiting for you?

HA! A very pertinent question for me. Since I was young, fifth or sixth grade I think, I have wanted to be a novelist. To write story that people could buy in a bookstore and enjoy was my calling. I knew it. In my dream of that future (as I alluded to in the last answer) I always saw myself as being a full time writer. Now, that didn’t happen right away. I spent almost 20 years working in television. My specialization was television graphics, something that worked well for me because I didn’t have to do a lot of writing during the day. I was afraid that if I took a job that focused on writing, I wouldn’t have the energy to write my own stuff. So for years I wrote and improved my craft until finally I sold my first novel. Even then, with a three book contract in my back pocket, I wasn’t able to step away from the security of the day job. That is until this past August when I received a new contract for books 4 & 5. September 19th was my last day in the corporate world. Now I get up and work at my kitchen table living the life I’ve planned for almost forty years.


Rick Von Feldt said...

Brett – It is exciting that you have the life you have dreamed of. You deserve it my friend.

Some questions for you.

1. What would happen if you threw away the rocks, ticket stubs or even books. Would you feel great loss? One idea if have started to do is to take pictures of animate objects I didn’t want to throw away. I put them in a digital photo album – see them pop up on my computer – but then throw the physical item away. I actually get more rememberence from them I the digital state than from the physical state. I keep the memory – but loose the attachment to the physical. Would this work for you?

2.You talk about ideas. Are you attached to the idea of wanting to be in love?

3.Now that you have the life you have always envisioned – what next? What is the next vision? And do you fear that the very struggle to get you to where you are – won’t have as much passion for your own goals – even writing – having already achieved them?

4. So far, is this what you thought it would feel like when you had your dream at 12 years old?

Brett Battles said...

1. I would probably have a sense of loss for a few days, then it would fade. I've actually unintentionally thrown things away in the past and that's what happened. Have to think about the digital suggestion...

2. Hmmm...I do want to be in love, but not just for love's sake. It's that connection with that special person I desire (and think I've found.)

3. Actually, the challenge is to make the life I've achieved permanent. Right now I'm taking a bit of a leap of faith that I can sustain this for the rest of my life, but I'm no where close to actually being there. At most, I can squeeze a couple years out now. But I'm very confident that those 2 years will turn into 10 then into 20, etc. But I have a lot of hard work ahead. Plus there's just the desire to keep the quality of my novels as high as I can. That takes focus and dedication.

4. So far, yes. My days are my own. I'm not being pulled away to useless meetings or unnecessary phone calls. And when I get the urge to go to a movie or take a day off, I just do. And then there's the whole travel issue. I'm much freer to do that now. In fact I'm going to London for 10 days in a few weeks to do research for my next book. If I was still working, I wouldn't have been able to get the time off.

FYI...I want extra credit...this has turned into 9 questions instead of 5 ;)