We all want to be FREE…
Free to DO what we want.
Free to BE who we want to be.
Free to be HAPPY living a life we love.
Yet we often feel as if something is stopping us from truly feeling free.
This morning, despite a super busy schedule and a daunting “To Do List,” I chose freedom to take a break and admire the daylillies in my garden. This is one of my joys of summer. Their season is short and each blossom lasts for one short day. So I chose to allow myself to be FREE to enjoy and admire the blossoms of the day – even though my mind said I “should” have been handling all the things in my Inbox, or doing one of the dozens of things on my growing “To Do List.”
Guess what? When you die your Inbox will still be full and you’ll still have a “To Do List.” The time to be FREE is right here and now.
So today I allowed myself the luxury of a few minutes of peace and happiness admiring my lillies – no guilt, no thinking about the Inbox. Just enjoying the moment and smiling.
For me, that felt FREE.
What do you mean by “Free?”
“Free” can be defined (with the help of dictionary.com) as: the state of being at liberty rather than in confinement; immunity from external control or interference. I think of being free as having the luxury of choice because when you choose something you feel less confined, more in control.
Here’s how freedom starts:
You have to WANT it
You have to CHOOSE it
You have to ALLOW it
What do you want to be FREE of?
- Burdens or obligations?
- Continual worry?
- Emotional eating or excess weight?
- Stress or anxiety?
- Obsessive thoughts or actions?
Now, what do want instead?
Figuring this out is sometimes half the battle. Clients often have a hard time telling me what it is that they really want. What they think of first are all the things they don’t want. If you didn’t have those things, what would you want instead that would make you feel more free?
Once you know what you want, then you choose it. Sounds simple; actually doing it requires re-learning some of your “old” habits of thinking. Let’s start with how you think of the concept of “choice.” Choice always leads to greater freedom.
Think There are Some Things You Have No Choice Over?
I challenge you to think again, and I know sometimes it’s not easy. The problem comes in when your mind is tricked into believing that you have no choice. No choice about the responsibilities, the diagnosis, worry, anxiety, emotional eating, depression, clutter, etc.
The truth is that you always have a choice, even when it feels like you don’t. Even when you do something you don’t really want to do (like staying up late to finish that cleaning, going to the doctor, or doing that one thing that “needs” to be done), you ARE actually making a choice to do it.
You could always make a choice to NOT do it. It’s just that there would be consequences of making that choice and because of the consequences, you choose to do it. Understanding this leads to a much greater sense of empowerment than feeling like you had no choice in the matter.
Choosing is always more empowering than feeling like you “have to” or that it simply has to be a certain way. Choosing always feels better than living with something because you think you “need to” or “must.”
Re-training Your Mind: Part 1 = Choosing
The key to feeling free is to expand your awareness of your choices, and realize you are constantly making choices that are YOUR choices. Realize that there are many choices which at first may not appear to be options. This requires developing a new skill: re-training your mind to think differently and expand your choices. It takes skill, time and practice to start seeing choices where previously you couldn’t see any.
Let’s say you “have to” pick up your daughter from school immediately due to sudden illness. It really feels like you “must” do this because your child is ill and the school says you “must” take your daughter home immediately. But to do it, you’ll have to leave work in the middle of a very important customer meeting which will probably mean your company loses business from this customer (which is entirely unacceptable to your boss).
- Leave and pick her up?
- Ask someone else to pick her up?
- Pay someone to pick her up?
- Have a taxi pick her up?
- Have her take the bus home?
- Wait and pick her up after this meeting?
- Wait and pick her up at the end of the day?
Can you brainstorm others? Your mind may have immediately discarded some of those choices and judged them as not viable. Realize you actually make split-second evaluations of the consequences of every choice. Some consequences you prefer over others. Then you choose. You don’t “have to” do any one of them. You choose one that you’ll do.
When the choice is yours, I promise you will feel more free no matter which choice you make.
Now you’re in the driver’s seat of your life, instead of letting people or circumstances or old, limited thought patterns dictate your life.
Re-training Your Mind: Part 2 = Allowing
Once your mind learns to generate more choices and to consciously choose, the next skill is ALLOWING the freedom. Like I allowed the luxury of being with the lillies without guilt or worry about what wasn’t getting done, you can re-train your mind to accept your choice. No second-guessing, no analysis-paralysis, no regret, no guilt, no worry. Simply allow your choice to be and to unfold. This re-training takes practice. Accept your choice and enjoy it as much as you can, knowing it came from your power to choose. Stay in the present moment with it as much as you can.
In the allowing is where you can really experience feeling free.