Once I got through that first trip without my ring, I applied this philosophy to other parts of my life. I began practicing more self-awareness, observing my emotions rather than allowing myself to get caught up in them. Once my husband and I prepared to move, we got rid of over half of our possessions, and I donated over half of my wardrobe. I parted with childhood toys and clothing that I had kept for sentimental reasons.
I thought I had really internalized the practice of nonattachment, but I was about to be taught a much bigger lesson.
Two weeks before our wedding, we moved into a smaller home. We had hired movers to help move furniture inside, and I had taken my engagement ring off so that it didn't get damaged. I had put it in its case in the bathroom, only to discover several hours after the movers had left that it was no longer there. I turned the house upside down searching for my ring. I even had my husband go through the pipes under the sink. I dug through the garbage. We looked everywhere.
I cried off and on for several days. The ring had not only monetary value but also a lot of sentimental value. It was only then, through the heartache and sobbing that I realized the ring had become a symbol of my relationship and my status as a soon-to-be wife. I didn't lose Mike, so why was I so upset? Was it because I unconsciously felt like the diamond had increased my sense of self-worth? Or was it because I secretly enjoyed having others look at and compliment my ring? Was it really the metal and diamond I was attached to, or was it the way I believed it somehow enhanced my identity? The ring itself was just that: a ring.
I was crying because—as hard as this is to admit—I liked having a shiny, outward symbol of my relationship. It wasn't until it was gone that I realized I had been in some ways attributing my worth to this object on my finger. I thought I had grasped the idea of non-attachment, but it wasn't until I went through this more difficult test that I truly understood how to let go. Slowly, I moved on. The joy and love surrounding my wedding day was in no way diminished by a missing ring. After all, marriage has nothing to do with external conditions and objects. The love I shared with my husband was, and is, all that truly matters.