About Attachment, facing fears and how to hold a coin in your hand

I had the urgent need to write the following post down about holding on to things and attachment. I wrote it during my stay in Oaxaca in the beautiful  Alma de Café.

It is a post about attachment to things and people.  It’s also about facing fears and about holding a coin properly in your hand. 

Attachement to things

The owner of Alma de Café is a young and very hearty lady with the beautiful name Alma. I met her a couple of days ago at the market when I had lunch with my German friend.  Alma invited us to her café.

The next day, I visited her place. She was delighted to see me  and offered me an espresso and cake for free. At that moment, I  thought it was a good idea to make her a gift. I was thinking about giving  her the bracelet I made in a course a couple of days ago. But I thought it is my first piece and I would like to keep it… It was not that I really loved that piece. I was just proud about it... Nothing else.

So I made earrings instead for her.

However, it did not feel right to give her just any earrings she could buy in a typical shop in Oaxaca. The bracelet was special.

The bracelet I made in the course. I took the photos so that I can make another one.
The bracelet I made in the course. I took the photos so that I can make another one.

Give it away

Two days later I came back and gave her the earrings and explained to her in my little Spanish that I did a jewelry course. I proudly showed her my bracelet.

She asked if I could do the same for her. Unfortunately, I had to leave on the next day to San Miguel...

So, I gave her the bracelet. She was very happy about it and me as well.  

Now it felt right! Why hold on to material things? I can do another bracelet. I took enough photos and there is also Youtube…

Alma’s beautiful and happy smile was worth more than anything else. I felt very happy. We talked quite long about different things and when I left, she gave me the food for free again and also a lunch package for my journey…

Things we are attached to the most and by proud, we should give to others to make them happy

Maybe sometimes, the things we are attached to the most and/or with proud can make others feel just as happy as well. So we should give it to them to spread the joy.

Nina Hagen’s wisdom and the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Actually the song “Give it away” from Red Hot Chili Peppers was written because the singer, Anthony Kiedis received from Nina Hagen, a red leather jacket.

He saw it in her apartment and she said something like “take it, give it away.”

I often think about that. About something material I love and that I would give it to a person who loves it even more than me… 

Short story: The coin in the hand and how to let go of attachment

“Pick up a coin. Imagine that it represents the object of which you are attached to. Hold it tightly clutched in your fist and extend your arm, with the palm of your hand facing the ground.

Now if you let go or relax your grip, you will lose what you are clinging onto. That is why you hold on.

But there is another possibility: You can let go and yet keep hold of it. With your arm still outstretched, turn your hand over so that it faces the sky. Release your hand and the coin still rests on your open palm. You let go. And the coin is still yours, even with all this space around it.

So there is a way in which we can accept impermanence and still relish life, at one and the same time, without attachment.”  

From The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Soygal Rinpoche, 2002, page 55.

Attachment to people or How to face one of my biggest fears

I like the story about the coin but I have to admit that I do not understand how to project it on relationships.

Actually it was easier for me to quit my job, leave my country and go travel than to having a relationship with a guy.

The fear of getting hurt or hurting someone

I am very afraid to hurt someone or get hurt. I think it is because it was a big trauma for me when I was about five years old and my grandfather left my grandmother. He was my world at that time. The feather on my left wrist is dedicated to him. And my parents divorced when I was ten. Well, both separations were right. They just did not match each other.


In the past, I had relationships. But I often reckoned with the worst case scenario so that it would not hit me if it happens…  


On my journey I met really nice guys and it was always clear between us that I had to go and we treated each other with lots of respect. It was easy to go because I left before I could fall deep in love.

Friendships are on the open palm

For example in friendships I do not have expectations. I just give out love to my friends and hold my friendships like the coin in my open palm.

I am aware that people change, I change and that it can happen some friendships go different ways. That is ok for me and part of life.

Why I am not able to do that in a relationship with a man? Here I grasp the coin in my fist and hold it over the floor. So I avoid it to come to that point and if I come to that point I rather let the coin drop down.

How could I lose my fear of losing my partner?

Maybe being aware that relationships can be over due to everything changes and accept it as part of life? But not in an ignorant way or negative way. Just enjoying the time and holding the coin in the flat palm. Things change every day...

Make yourself happy and then others

And isn’t it the aim and our wish that our family, friends and partners are happy?

And of course, isn’t it our need as well, to be happy. In Buddhism it is said: “Make first yourself happy and then others.”

Not to forget the following quotation:”When you love yourself nothing can hurt you, because you love yourself.” 

Time to turn the fist and open the palm

I faced a lot of my fears on my journey. I think it is time to face that fear as well and see what is behind… Turn my fist and open it…

Thank you very much for reading my story. I really appreciate it. 

Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    Ania (Friday, 13 February 2015 02:42)

    I love your reflections Jeanine ... opening one's palm and letting people we love go is one of the hardest things ... I'm not sure I will master it ever ... but will love for sure!

  • #2

    Renato (Tuesday, 24 March 2015 23:47)

    Historia genial Jeanine! Gracias por compartir tu pagina... Una reflexion muy profunda! Me alegra haberte conocido! :)