I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before, but it’s come up again. Another friend who is trying to help me spoke about my attachment to Shayna (she knows I’ve studied Buddhism) and about me getting my identity from my family. She is concerned about that. I make no secret that my family is the driving forced in my life. Everything I do I do with Ty and Kayla and Shayna in mind.
The thing is the Buddha didn’t have a wife and kids. Jesus didn’t have a wife and kids. It’s easy to say to not get attached to the things of this world. It’s not so easy to not get attached to the people. As far as identity goes, Buddhism teaches we are interdependent creatures. There is no single thing that we can point to and call “me”. We are the sum of our experiences and circumstances. I would not be who I am except in relation to others. When Kayla was born 18-½ years ago I became a different person. No Kayla- no Brian of today. No Shayna- totally different Brian. Do I draw my identity from being a father? You betcha. And I love it. It has made me a better person. It has made me care for myself because I wanted to be here as long as I could for the girls. It has softened me. It has made me more compassionate. It has made me a better teacher.
My friend said something about control and love and I’ve been trying to consider that. The thing is with the girls it was never about control over them. My love was always about serving them. I adore them. I live to serve them. The only thing important to me was to see them happy. That became the primary driving force in my life. I don’t care about my identity for me. I care about my identity in relation to them and to Ty.
So, do I suffer because I drew my identity from being the father of two gorgeous, talented, caring amazing girls? Yes, I suffer greatly. Do I suffer because of my attachment to Shayna? Yes, I suffer greatly.
If I’m missing something here. I would love any advice that could help ease my suffering. The suffering isn’t something I would choose, but I really don’t understand how to not get my identity from the most important things in my life, the two girls who transformed my life and allowed me to be more alive than I would ever have been without them. I don’t understand how to let go of attachments to that. I just don’t know how to do to any of that.