A Lesson in Attachment from an Unlikely Teacher

How Losing a Fitbit Reminded Me it's ok to Let Go

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Three months into the pandemic, I found my Linus blanket. Not by rediscovering a childhood attachment object, but oddly, by wearing my daughter’s old Fitbit fitness tracker.

My own self-care had taken a back seat to many new worries and responsibilities. From keeping elderly parents safe from COVID, to worrying about how my two college kids’ futures would be , my sleep was invaded and my optimism was dimmed.

Somehow, the Fitbit became a physical object that reminded me to bring self-care back into focus. From tracking my activity to watching my sleep without judgment, this piece of technology symbolized my need to regain awareness of my own health and needs.

If all this sounds positive, it was, until checking, syncing, studying, and reviewing the metrics of it all became a habit – an attachment that overshadowed the self-care itself.

My lesson of equanimity and non-attachment unfolded when I recently lost the Fitbit. A loose strap, a boat ride, and suddenly, I was Rose in Titanic watching Jack the Fitbit spiral down to a watery grave. I hadn’t felt such despair since mid-March, when I saw empty grocery store shelving where paper towels and toilet paper should have been.

Then, my moment of realization as I remembered a Ram Das quote recently offered via the app Calm: “Our journey is about being more deeply involved in life and yet less attached to it.”

“Aha,” I thought, “deep involvement and non attachment are both possible”. I didn’t need attachment to an inanimate object to keep my commitment to self-care actions. Being present and taking those actions led to my improved state of mind, not the habit of wearing a fitness tracker.

A fitness tracker, or any safety blanket, is fine as scaffolding. However, objects can’t replace the inner work of staying in tune with our needs even if the world around us is wobbly and uncertain. Letting go of the safety blanket can make room for the next lessons life has in store.

Now that I’m clear on this, I’m thinking it’s time to order my next Fitbit.

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