Freedom is a state of mind – where’s your head at?
Not that long ago, my life was like a prison.
Toxic relationships, road rage, no time for myself, plus the stress of working as a 911 operator all added up to “no fun!”.
Tension headaches, acid indigestion, a short temper, and a generally bad attitude were the result of feeling like there was no way out.
Chronic stress has a way of doing this.
I was trapped! Or so it seemed…
The tunnel out of this prison appeared unexpectedly in the form of a meditation class. The light at the end of the tunnel: a daily practice of sitting still and breathing.
Within 3 months of sitting for just 15 minutes each day, my life had undergone an immense transformation. As the stress levels subsided, I began to see things more clearly.
I saw that I was attached to the old way of struggle. I struggled in resistance to traffic, I struggled with callers, I struggled to do anything that might bring lasting happiness.
Without even knowing it, I had created a prison out of past conditioning. Suddenly, I realized the door to this prison was never locked. I had found a way out.
When we become aware of the thoughts that bind us to an unhappy past, and we know that this past no longer serves us, we owe it to ourselves and the world around us to choose different thoughts.
You can say, “Oh, here I am again, acting in the same worn-out way.”
Instead of a defensive reaction (which the stressed-out mind can’t help — it’s programmed!), you can relax in the midst of things, and maneuver within the spaciousness that is now a part of the moment.
To realize this freedom — the freedom to choose — take these 3 steps:
- Practice touching the freedom of simply being. We’ve put in years of practice being defensively stressed-out. It takes some practice being the relaxed and open to make it stick. Meditation is one of the best practices I know that can help with this.
- Bring this freedom into your daily experience. When you feel your frustration growing, take a breath. Feel your feet on the ground. Consciously relax the body. Is the tension justified? Are the racing thoughts adding to the solution? Let go.
- Reinforce the feeling. How did it feel to choose another way? Did you feel empowered? Did it feel fresh, new, exciting? Take a moment to celebrate!
With each recognition of a past way that is not in alignment, we are more free. Free to choose boldly, free to live our authentic life.
What would would you do if that past no longer held you?
Stress Release Tip
Express your freedom to choose! Schedule a fun weekend trip or a date night this week. Step outside the worn pathways of your life and have some much needed fun! A friend of mine recently went on a hot-air balloon ride – after years of dreaming about it, she did it! Filling our hearts with joy on a regular basis is what life is all about. But we have to consciously choose to give ourselves the time for the joy to flow in, first. 🙂
How does stress effect the way that you see the world? When you get stressed, do you tend to rush through things in an attempt to get to the end of the day? Do you snap impatiently at people? Does your body send you any messages? For the next week, journal your experiences of stress: what stressed you out, what you did in response, how it felt. As you bring awareness to your response to stressors, you can mindfully choose different.
Quote From Adam
“Every human has four endowments: self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… the power to choose, to respond, to change.”
– Stephen R. Covey
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