Attachment and Mary Poppins

On my recent flight from Jakarta, Indonesia, I watched the movie Saving Mr. Banks. Perhaps I live in a bubble, but all I knew about the movie is that it stars Tom Hanks. I had no idea what the movie was about. What I found even more interesting about the story of how Mary Poppins became a movie was how attached the author, Pamela Travers, was to her books and the characters in it. It was personal to her because it was the story of her childhood. During the movie, I found myself relating very strongly to Travers, who was so adamant that Disney portray her book exactly the way she had written it. Every detail of the screenplay had to be the same as that in her books. She couldn’t let go. I feel the same way about my books. I hate it when an editor tries to change something I’ve written. We get attached to our words. I admit, I, like Travers, have trouble letting go. I suspect many of us do. While watching that movie and observing how Travers’ family life influenced her and cemented her attachment to her Mary Poppins stories, I also suspect that the influence my deceased parents have on me is greater than I often admit or feel comfortable with. I like to think that I’m my own person, with my own ideas and thoughts and feelings. But that’s not entirely true. I’m influenced by my father, who passed away when I was 8, and I’m influenced by my mother, who passed away a few years ago. I have attachments to them both.

Perhaps one of the reasons why I run every day is that I’m attached to it, much like Travers was attached to Mary Poppins. Perhaps this attachment is why I look forward to running when I travel. When in a strange place, it’s comforting to turn to something familiar, to be attached to something. I’ve been attached to running for a very long time, and I don’t like when people mess with it. It’s sacred to me.

It’s often hard to let go of things. Of people. Of emotions. Of memories. We want to hold on to things for as long as possible, to remember the way they were. But in order to move forward, we need to let go of what is so we can discover what can be. Travers finally let go of her books, Mary Poppins became a huge success, and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious became a household word.

Next time you find yourself attached to something, try to let go and see what happens. Except running. You can keep that one.

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