Let Go Now: An Interview with Karen Casey
edited: Tuesday, August 10, 2010
By Shelly Rachanow
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Tuesday, August 10, 2010
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Author Shelly Rachanow interviews author Karen Casey, Karen Casey, the “founding mother” of recovery books, about her newest book, Let Go Now.
Our own, individual well being is a fragile thing when it is enmeshed in other people’s issues or dependent upon the approval of others. When we pour our efforts into trying to solve the problems of others, or into fixing their lives, rescuing them from crises, or controlling them, it not only drains us of the energy that would be better spent on our own growth and development but it becomes hard to tell where other people end and we begin. The same holds true when we invest too much of our self-image in the approval of another. For many of us, solving, fixing, rescuing, and controlling seem like caring acts that would be callous to discontinue. And approval-seeking becomes a crutch, too.
That’s why it’s such a plus when Karen Casey, the “founding mother” of recovery books, steps in to clarify, advise, and give us meditations to help us find a loving way to let go of ineffective attachments. Karen has written 20 books that have sold several million of copies worldwide, and in her new book, Let Go Now: Embracing Detachment, she counsels us to realize that we can show genuine love and concern only when we detach from the knee-jerk need to solve, fix, rescue, or control. When we let go of the drama, we can feel and share our true caring feelings that come from within.
In Let Go Now, Karen shows us how to find our own balance points, set boundaries, and make our lives our own. The meditations she provides are just the tools we need to help us let go of the illusion that we can control anyone or anything beyond ourselves, which is definitely something I’ve been working on in my own life. I was especially excited to talk to Karen about this topic.
Shelly Rachanow: What does detachment mean to you?
Karen Casey: My definition of detachment is having the freedom to not let the behavior, the opinions, the attitude or the mannerisms of others affect how I feel, how I behave, or how I perceive myself. In other words, it’s the “art” of allowing others to be who they are without re-”tooling” who we are.
Shelly Rachanow: How might you explain it to other people so they can implement it into their lives?
Karen Casey: The best way to explain it to others is through sharing my own experience with how “attachment” looked and felt. My life was very narrow and constricted. Every move I made and every thought I had was based on, ie., in reaction to, what I observed others doing. Watching the movements, and particularly the facial expressions of others gave me the “clues” I used to determine my own worthiness and I became very practiced at this from a very early age.
A passage I read in a book in 1971 clarified how I had been living for as long as I could remember. My enlightenment was ignited from reading a response one person made about the behavior of a third person: Why should I let him decide what kind of day I’m going to have? In that moment I knew that my entire life had been in response to others. By explaining what it was like for me, others can see how similar they might be living.
Shelly Rachanow: Is detachment a concept that fits for women more than men?
Karen Casey: I have thought about this a lot over the years and while I think women might be more sensitive to “their attachment,” than men, both sexes find themselves in relationships that aren’t respectful of boundaries, relationships that are defined by the actions coupled with the reactions of both parties. Detachment is really about freeing ourselves from our “codependency,” and it’s a skill that both men and women need to cultivate.
Shelly Rachanow: Compare and contrast for us Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow; It’s Up to You; and this new book.
Karen Casey: The differences in these three books are in form more than content. All three have at their core how to live more peacefully. In Change Your Mind, I settle on a dozen relatively simple principles that can quite adeptly be applied to one circumstance or another that presents itself in our life on a daily basis; and in the process, create far more peaceful interactions with all others who have been “selected” to travel with us, thus for every one there is a more gentle journey.
In It’s Up To You, the principles from Change Your Mind are fleshed out in a three month program of morning and evening readings that will keep the reader on track with making the changes that will insure a life that’s more peacefully lived.
Let Go Now: Embracing Detachment, is a modified meditation book. It has 200 essays that can be read and reread, describing detachment. It repeatedly “pictures” how it looks and how the refusal to do it makes those of us who hold on to others, feel. Learning to let go of the behavior of others on our journey, understanding that what they do is not defining us, no matter what we think; is hard but it can be done with fervent practice. The book’s simplicity allows the reader to feel hopeful about the possibility of real change and a life that feels stress-free.
Shelly Rachanow: And last, the “If Women Ran the World Blog” question for everyone: What would you do if you ran the world?
Karen Casey: If I ran the world, I’d be a constant proponent of initiating peaceful encounters with other nations and neighboring communities too. I do believe in the concept of “pay it forward,” and I also firmly believe that nothing can change in the world around us if each one of us isn’t willing to also change how we see the others who wander our way.
Peace Begins With Me is the title of a song but it’s so much more than a song. It is the one sure thing that every person could do that would result, in time, in changing the tenor of the entire planet. Mother Teresa assured us many years ago that the best we could do was to be kind to every one and start with the person standing closest to you.
If I ran the world, there would be no more hunger, I’d outlaw nuclear weapons and I’d see to it the we, the wealthiest nation in the world, provided the best and most accessible health care for every one, the best educational programs, and a tax structure that is honestly equitable; one that demands that the wealthiest truly pay their fair share.
If I ran the world I’d eliminate racism and classism, both of which are at the root of so many problems in this country and the world at large.
Karen is in demand as a keynote speaker at Hazelden Women’s Healing conferences and a sought-after speaker at many other recovery and spirituality conferences. She conducts Change Your Mind workshops based on her bestselling book, Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow. Visit her online at http://www.womens-spirituality.com/, and read her blog at http://www.karencasey.wordpress.com/.