How to Avoid a Trap That Keeps Us Stuck and Limits Our Possibilities

How to Avoid a Trap That Keeps Us Stuck and Limits Our Possibilities

The way that we think about a situation determines our options for moving forward.  Too often, we fall into a thinking trap that takes away all our options, leaving us frustrated, stressed and unhappy.

The way that we think about a situation determines our options for moving forward.  Too often, we fall into a thinking trap that takes away all our options, leaving us frustrated, stressed and unhappy.

This episode explores this thinking trap, how it shows up, and what we can do about it.

In addition, we cover:

  • How to put the power of intention to work for you.
  • Why goal setting can be limiting.
  • How to have a joy orientation in life.
  • Why hanging on to something may be hazardous to your happiness.
  • Why we need to stop approaching our lives and ourselves like we are a problem to be fixed.
  • The 3 pitfalls to be aware of
  • The difference between giving up and letting go.
  • And one of the most powerful questions we can ask ourselves.

About my guest:

Christine Green is a returning guest here on the podcast.  She finds her inspiration in empowering others to grow beyond their limitations and discover their inner strength and courage. She is an author, facilitator, speaker, and minister and excels in providing people with practices to expand their awareness and overcome obstacles.


[00:00] Bobbi: Welcome to Unyielded: Thriving No Matter What. I’m your host, Bobbi Kahler. Years ago, I heard someone say that you are either the author of your own life or you are just a character in someone else’s story. You deserve more than that. You can write your story, your life, your way. Let’s get started. Welcome back, everyone. I am so glad that you were here. Today’s episode was inspired by a conversation that my friend Christine and I were having a few weeks ago, where we started talking about attachments and how they can severely limit us and the options that we see in any given situation. And this can leave us frustrated, stressed and unhappy. This episode explores this concept, how it shows up and what we can do about it. A little bit about my guest. Christine Green is a returning guest here on the podcast and we’ve known each other for about 20 years or so. Christine finds her inspiration in empowering others to grow beyond their limitations and discover their inner strength and courage. She is an author, facilitator, speaker and minister, and she excels in providing people with practices to expand their awareness and overcome obstacles. Christine, welcome back to the show.

[01:22] Christine: Hi, Bobbi, thanks so much for having me.

[01:25] Bobbi: I am so excited for this conversation because we were talking a few weeks ago. I think it was a few weeks ago. Just kind of catching up with each other as we do. And the topic or the notion. Of attachments came up, and I instantly thought, oh, my goodness, that would be a great thing to explore. A little bit more here on the podcast. And you graciously said yes. So here we are. We’re going to talk about attachments. So why don’t you get started? Can you tell us a little bit about what attachments are?

[02:00] Christine: I think in the conversation we had, we were talking about a situation where someone was hanging on and they wanted the outcome to be a specific way. That is an attachment that I am hooked, I am conditioned, I am adamant that it has to look a certain way. And when we do that, we block ourselves from the universal flow. If you imagine that we live in energy, we live in a universe that’s pure energy and it’s flowing all the time and all types of possibilities are available to us, but we have to be available to them. If I’m closed down, if I’m conditioned that I can only have this, then I stop the other multitude of possibilities from happening.

[03:10] Bobbi: Okay, so it kind of sounds like we lock in to one possibility and that’s the only one that exists.

[03:18] Christine: Yes. So can I give you an example?

[03:23] Bobbi: Would love that.

[03:24] Christine: So a friend of mine was looking for a car and she really wanted a red Lexus and looked at all these different cars and saw some really nice ones and had some really nice offers, but she just wanted this one car, it had to look a certain way. And what happened is she spent a lot of time and probably more money than she needed to. If she had just been open, what was the purpose of her car, what brought her joy? But as long as she was attached to it, how to look a certain way, it limited her. It cost her more time and more energy. And we do this with everything. We do it with relationships, we do it with work, we do it with projects, we do it with everything. That actually I was thinking about how I was taught back when we were taught goal setting. So remember when we were learning about goals and that keep your eye on the goal. Don’t take your eye off the goal. Stay on the goal. That that’s your focus. That has changed completely. For me, it’s not the out picturing of the goal, but it’s the intention behind it. So in the example of the car, when I think of a car, a car is freedom, right? The car wherever I need to go.

[05:18] Bobbi: Okay?

[05:18] Christine: When I think of the car, it’s freedom. So if my intention and actually that’s how I got my last car is I had something in mind, but I was open and I was willing to shift, but I knew the car represented freedom. I wanted ease. I wanted certain items. I wanted I need to have my heated seats.

[05:46] Bobbi: Some things are non negotiable, man.

[05:49] Christine: Those heated seats and sunroof, it’s non negotiable. But everything else is what’s the joy behind it, what’s the intention behind it, what’s the ease behind it? And when we can live that way, we open up to infinite possibilities.

[06:10] Bobbi: Yeah, I love that. And I’m glad you brought up the thing around intention, because that’s what I was thinking about. Especially with goals. I’ve always been a high achiever. I’ve always loved setting a goal and conquering the goal and blah, blah, blah. But as I’ve gotten older, I’m like, I think that when I set an intention towards something, more possibilities open up. It becomes broader and way more expansive than what I could even think of when I was first setting the goal. Does that make absolutely.

[06:47] Christine: Absolutely. Eckhart Tolle, in The Power of now says intention is much more powerful than the goal. Intention is actually revealed, demonstrated before the goal. So if I have a goal to lose ten pounds, then my energy is on. What am I not going to eat?

[07:13] Bobbi: Oh, yeah.

[07:14] Christine: I have the intention that I’m going to live a healthy lifestyle. Then I’ll be inspired to walk more, to exercise, to do different things. I don’t have to worry about the ten pounds.

[07:30] Bobbi: That’s right. And here’s the thing. For me, it’s funny that you give that example. This was, I don’t know, back in 2014 or 2015. I’m like, I really committed to my commitment, and intention was fit and healthy. I’m fit, healthy, and strong. I’m a fit, healthy, strong athlete, and I was heavier at that time, but I was also traveling a lot, and I was eating very poorly. And when you’re traveling, it’s easy to say, I’m going to skip a workout, and all that kind of stuff. And I set that intention of a fit, healthy, strong athlete, and over the course of, I don’t know, two or three years, I lost, I don’t know, 30 plus pounds, and I never once made it about the weight. It was am I acting in ways that a fit, healthy, strong athlete would act? It wasn’t about depriving myself.

[08:23] Christine: Exactly. And you were living out of joy. That’s right. You were living out of joy. You were enjoying yourself, and out of joy, you got the end result.

[08:34] Bobbi: Yes. Oh, that’s a great point, too, because I was thinking about this this morning when I was out for a walk. So many times we approach things from the standpoint of there is a problem to be fixed, or I am a problem to be fixed. And I think that’s the I need to lose weight. I think that’s that orientation, which it keeps us out of the joy that you just talked about.

[08:56] Christine: Exactly.

[08:57] Bobbi: Okay. I love that. Okay, so going back, you said the attachments, they also show up sometimes in relationships and our jobs. Can you give another example or two about how it shows up maybe in a relationship or jobs or whatever?

[09:13] Christine: Oh, yes, you could. Painful one. So I use this example in my book. In my book, Authentic Spirituality. I actually have a chapter called Hanging On May Be Hazardous to Your Health.

[09:31] Bobbi: Oh, boy.

[09:33] Christine: And so I met a guy years ago, I met this guy. We just clicked, and both of us said we weren’t looking for a relationship, no deep commitments. And so we had a great time together, and then things started getting serious. Well, I started getting serious. So even though we both said we only want to be in the relationship if each of us wanted to do that and there were no attachments, I started getting comfortable. I liked our time. I liked hanging out. I liked everything we did, and I was getting attached. And so one day he said, My job is and he started being more and more unavailable, and he said, My job is really intense right now, and I’ve got to focus. And I said, you just take care of yourself. I was just the nurturing, the best nurturing partner. I said, Just take care of yourself. I’m here. Whenever you’re ready, I’m here. And so then I remember this day, he came over. I fixed him dinner, and he was, like, exhausted. And now that I look back, he was doing everything possible to tell me he didn’t want the relationship the way it was. And I said, don’t you worry. I’ll be here for you. And he said, you know, ski season is coming up and I am not a skier and he’s a skier. And he said, ski season is coming up. And I said, oh, I totally understand. Not a problem. And this went on for weeks. Finally, I think it was Christmas Eve.

[11:27] Bobbi: Oh, man.

[11:28] Christine: Christine Patty said, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do this anymore. I’ve been trying to tell you that I don’t want to have this relationship. I don’t want to have what we are doing right now. I just have freedom. And I was so attached. And that happens to us in relationship. We get attached. Instead of asking the questions and being clear along the way and checking in with myself and saying things are changing, is that okay with me? Or when he said, I’m really busy, it’s like, okay, are you thinking we should just see less of each other? When you have that attachment, you can’t see you lose focus. And so it was painful.

[12:26] Bobbi: I can imagine in hindsight it can be funny, but I’m sure at the time it had to be painful. It didn’t feel good.

[12:36] Christine: It was very painful. Now it’s very funny. I just look at myself. Everything I said I was willing to do, I did not do, because that’s how easy we get into that place of attachment. So in my chapter on hanging on may be hazardous to your health, there’s three pitfalls. The first one is control. We want to control situation. When we’re hanging on, I’m going to control. The second one is disappointment is that the pitfall is the more I’m attached, the more disappointed I’m going to be. And the third one is fear of failure. That I’m so afraid of failure that I’m hanging on because I don’t want to fail.

[13:26] Bobbi: That’s interesting. Okay, so the three pitfalls control, disappointment, fear of failure. It seems like the first one, the control is it seems like that’s a mechanism that we use to try to get the outcome we’re looking for. Is that right?

[13:42] Christine: Yes.

[13:44] Bobbi: Okay. And then the disappointment. How do we use the disappointment?

[13:51] Christine: It’s not how we use it. It’s how it shows up that out of our attachment we’re disappointed results we’re seeing.

[14:01] Bobbi: Okay, so that’s how that one shows up.

[14:03] Christine: All right.

[14:06] Bobbi: Okay. And then the fear of failure, that seems like that’s part of the attachment we’re putting on. It like, oh, my goodness, what if I fail?

[14:14] Christine: Exactly.

[14:15] Bobbi: Okay.

[14:16] Christine: There’s such a fear. I write for women, and so women, we often have this fairy tale optimism that everything’s going to get better, that someone’s going to come along and save us or somehow everything’s going to get better. There’s going to be happy ending. We’ve been trained that there’s always a happy ending. That’s right. So there’s a fear there that it won’t work out or there’s going to be failure. So we stay attached. We stay attached to the thing that we’re involved in.

[14:55] Bobbi: And it’s funny, I’ve heard that a lot in coaching from people, too. They’re like, oh, but and a lot of times I hear it this way, like, well, I don’t give up. I don’t give up. And I get that. I mean, I’m a very persistent person. And I had a coach say to me years ago because I was hanging on to it wasn’t even their relationship, Christine. It was with someone in my family. And I had an idealized version of what the relationship was, when in fact, that was not reality. But I was desperately clinging to that because it’s what I wanted it to. And my coach, her name is Maria, and I’m like, But Maria, I don’t give up. And she’s like, Bobbi, there’s a difference between giving up and letting go. And I was like, oh, okay. And that was for whatever reason, that was very powerful to me.

[15:52] Christine: Yes, that’s it. There’s a difference between giving up and letting go. We don’t have to give up our goal, the end result, but along the way, we have to let go of the little things. Let go. Maybe something’s not working. We try this out. That’s not working. Try something else. That’s not working. We let go of the little things, but we still move in the direction that we want to go in.

[16:22] Bobbi: Okay, so then how do these attachments, like, how do they show up? Or why do they show up? What creates them?

[16:30] Christine: I think we create them. We want things to be normal. Okay, let’s talk about the pandemic. Talk about giving up attachment, giving up control. The pandemic COVID was an opportunity for us to stop where we were and take a pause and caused people to look at what happened in the workforce. People stopped and they looked, why am I doing this job? Why am I working myself to the bone? I don’t want to do this anymore. And so they changed jobs. What was it called?

[17:16] Bobbi: The great resignation.

[17:18] Christine: Yeah. And so people left so that we can get a couple of things. One, we might get into a rut that this is the only way, this is the only thing I have. And a lot of times we’re afraid of the future. We’re afraid of the failure. We’re afraid. So we stay attached.

[17:43] Bobbi: And it strikes me, the thing about the control, I think we have that false sense of, if I work hard enough, I can control this, and even not situations. But I know when we were talking before, you had mentioned how sometimes people will they try to control what other people should do, like, well, if they’d only listen to what I say, wouldn’t the world be a better place? But it doesn’t really work too well. So how can someone recognize if they.

[18:17] Christine: Are.

[18:20] Bobbi: Experiencing an attachment or something? Like they’re too attached to something?

[18:26] Christine: I think it begins with being the observer that we have to be observing ourselves when I’m mindful of what I’m thinking, of what I’m feeling. And let me say this emotion is a very clear indicator that there’s something else going on. So when there’s a strong emotion in a situation, we have to stop and look. What’s the emotion about? What is the emotion telling me?

[19:05] Bobbi: Okay.

[19:08] Christine: Yes.

[19:09] Bobbi: Oh, go ahead.

[19:10] Christine: So then I can look and see, oh, I’m afraid to let go. I’m afraid to lose this relationship. So then I have to look, well, what if the relationship isn’t meant to be anymore? Let’s look at it. What if I want so and so to be? This topic came up in a group of women I was with that. And I think everybody can relate to this. And it’s usually a family member that we see family members, and we want them to be better. We want them to have a good life. We want them to be healthy. And so if they would only exercise more, if they would only eat better and there’s nothing we can do about that, they have to be the ones to be inspired. And so there’s another way of I’m attached to what they’re doing. I have to just do the work that I’m called to do. Maybe I’ll use it to say, hey, Susie, do you want to go for a walk with me? And so that’s one way of doing it, but I can’t be attached to it. Does that make sense?

[20:33] Bobbi: It does make a lot of sense. And you hear that a lot where people are like they’re so focused on trying to get that person and it’s that only if they’d only do X, if they just do this. Okay, so it seems like the first step is you have to become aware that you have an attachment. And that’s with paying attention to your emotion and your thoughts around it, what do you do next to get rid of or let go of that attachment?

[21:04] Christine: I think you have to go in and look to see ultimately, what do I want and what is mine to do? I can’t control anybody else. Really, I can try, but I can’t control anybody else. All I can do is take care of me. Whenever we notice that we’re putting our attention on other people other than ourselves, we are not paying attention to ourselves. We are projecting onto them. So then it’s noticing and bringing it back, what do I want? And it’s a shift in energy, it’s a shift in awareness. And the more we’re aware, the more we have dominion. I call it dominion. It’s not control. The more I have dominion over my thoughts, my emotions, my behaviors and my attitude. And as I have dominion, I can breathe into that. I can move into that, pay attention to myself. What is for my highest good?

[22:19] Bobbi: Because I loved what you said earlier. What do I want? And I think this is a really important part what is mine to do? Because it’s so easy, especially if you’re a person that is very responsible. It’s easy to think, well, I could have done more. I should do more, blah, blah, blah. But a point, it’s like, but is that your work to do?

[22:38] Christine: Right.

[22:39] Bobbi: And often it’s not.

[22:41] Christine: It’s not. But we get sidetracked. We look for distraction. I’m an author, and when I write, sometimes I have to go write at Starbucks, because when I write at home, I want to clean things. I’m cleaning out the toaster oven. I’m cleaning out the refrigerator. Oh, look at that drawer. That drawer was such a mess. It’s like any distraction.

[23:15] Bobbi: That’s right. I need to line those paperclips up. They’re going in all different directions. They’re okay as they are. Oh, my goodness.

[23:25] Christine: Exactly. Okay.

[23:27] Bobbi: And then also, anything else that we should cover relative to attachments.

[23:33] Christine: I think, like I said, it’s being aware, staying in that awareness, and the more easily we can let go. We are living in a world right now where things are constantly changing. Right. Everything is changing. Everything. And so if we can be in that place where we can shift, that it’s easy to shift, to be flexible, go with the flow, go with the wind, go with the flow, that we can be flexible, that it will be a much easier time to be in the world. Because the world is changing constantly. And if we stay attached that it has to be a certain way, I need to hang on, and it has to stay the same way, we’re going to be in trouble. Because there’s one thing for certain, is that life is changing all the time. And the more we can flow with that and be with that, the more ease we have, the more grace we have, the more we can take a breath and say, oh, this didn’t work out today, but you know what? I can shift over to this.

[24:55] Bobbi: Right.

[24:56] Christine: And that guy I was dating, that was the best thing that could have happened for me, because when he was the last person I dated before I met my husband.

[25:08] Bobbi: Right.

[25:10] Christine: And so I needed to let go of that. I needed that lesson. I needed to see myself in a new way. I needed to see what my attachments are so that I could be. So if we view the world that way, it makes a huge difference.

[25:30] Bobbi: Yeah. And you know, Christine, when you were talking there about how things are changing and we have to release some of our attachments about because you hear it all the time, oh, I just want things to go back to the way they used to be, or whatever, that there’s a lot of different ways of saying that. But I think that that thinking also keeps us stuck in the past, and it keeps us out of the present.

[25:54] Christine: Absolutely. There is no normal.

[25:59] Bobbi: None.

[26:00] Christine: And that’s what’s a big shift that’s happening in our culture is that we think there’s something that’s normal, and there is no normal. There’s a uniqueness, that each of us is unique, that every situation is unique. Every situation has its own challenges, its own coloring, its own feel. And so if we can just be aware of that, we’re not attached and we can be more open to change happening.

[26:36] Bobbi: Yeah, I think that’s a great ending thought there, because it’s a very powerful notion, because you’re right, there is no normal anymore. All right, so how can people find out about you, your book and what you’re up to?

[26:53] Christine: Oh, thank you for asking. My website is and I have several books, and you can find them on there. Can find them on Amazon authentic spirituality. Soul musings. I have several books, and my latest thing that I’m working on is every fall I offer a woman’s retreat. And it’s in Oregon, in the beautiful Forest. It’s a four day, all inclusive, magnificent retreat. And it’s a powerful group of women, if you’re interested, if anyone’s interested in working on their spiritual connection, on learning more about things like letting go of attachment, letting go of doubt, and being more authentic and being open to receive. That’s what we do there. And listening to the inner voice, not the inner chatter, but the inner spirit voice. That’s the work that we do. Right.

[27:59] Bobbi: And there’s a huge difference between the inner chatter and the inner voice. One’s very powerful and one’s know, like a crazy sportscaster that’s got a lot of air time to fill.

[28:11] Christine: That’s a great way of saying one comes from the head, the other one comes from the right.

[28:16] Bobbi: That’s right. Wow. Well, Christine, thanks for coming back and for talking about this. And as always, it’s just an absolute pleasure to talk with you. I hope that conversation gave you some ideas for getting unstuck and opening up new possibilities for yourself. Thanks for tuning in and supporting us. If you found value in this episode, I hope that you’ll consider sharing it with a friend. I hope you have a terrific week and that you be well and that you continue to thrive no matter or what’s.

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