With the 4th of July weekend just passing the topic of freedom seems appropriate; however, I won’t be talking about freedom on a national or political level, but instead on a personal one:
Are you really free?
In order to honestly answer this question, we first need to explore a few different ways personal freedom can be relinquished. People can imprison themselves, so to speak, many different ways. Here are the two most prevalent ways I believe we can give up our freedom:
The Passion Prison: This is when a person doesn’t find ways to express and experience his or her passions in life on a regular basis. It is vital and imperative to express your passions in order to feel alive and free. Your passions don’t always have to be directly associated with your work, although they can be, and it’s very fulfilling if they do. The first step is to make sure you know where your passions lie. Sometimes we have to think back to our childhood to answer this question. What did you enjoy doing? How did you play? What got and still gets you excited? From a very young age, I could be found holed up in our basement toy room, playing teacher for hours on end. Teaching is in me~it is definitely one of my passions. So, I find ways to make sure I am teaching~from counseling to teaching yoga to writing on this blog. Once you get clear about your passions, how can you incorporate them into your daily life? What actions do you need to take to develop a more intimate relationship with your passions? If you want to feel free, this is a step that cannot be neglected.
The Mental Prison: I would guess that the majority of American people are enslaved, so to speak, by their minds. I, too, am guilty of this more often than I’d like to admit. Thinking and analyzing and worrying and thinking and analyzing and worrying some more…it’s an endless, exhausting, and confining way to live. We obviously need to utilize our minds, but there is a time to think and there is a time to get still and be completely present. It’s when we are completely present, in our bodies and out of our heads, when we are in the true flow of life. It’s a yummy, juicy, freeing place to be. I experience this the most when I am teaching yoga. I am fully present. It’s an amazing experience. I am consciously trying to experience this presence more and more in my daily life. How can you turn off your mental chatter for a while? Perhaps try meditating, practicing yoga, getting a massage, or engaging in your passion. While this can be one of the most challenging prisons to break free from, I believe it is the key to true inner peace.
What small steps can you take this week to feel a little more free in your life?
Here’s to your freedom. It’s oh-so-sweet!
Leslie ~Sparkling Yogini