Letting go is a choice rooted in the desire to be free from emotions that do us more harm than good, and the circumstances that cause those emotions. They’re often deeply entrenched within us and that familiarity, no matter if those emotions are positive or negative, breeds a certain level of comfort. We’re sure of those emotions, even if we don’t necessarily like them. To release them is to drift out into the unknown. Here’s what I’m learning: when you let go, you don’t sink. You float.
This just in: Memorial Day and the act of memory in action
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” ~Joseph Campbell
This weekend, we will take some time to pause, reflect, and give thanks to the many men and women who have served in the armed forces and given their lives to keep our country safe. As we bow our heads and lift our hearts this Memorial Day, I also hope we can use the example of these brave men and women to consider how we can serve and how we can make the world we live in a little better every day for others. Let’s be heroes to each other. Happy Memorial Day and thank you to the many veterans who have crossed over so that life on this side of the divide can soldier on.
This just in: Regrets, fear, and aging
“You only age when your regrets outnumber your fears.” ~John Barrymore
When we talk about aging in our society, and how to fend off its physical effects, the discussion often turns to diet, exercise, healthcare, and beauty products. I’ve found the best way to lessen the impacts of aging has nothing to do with anything physical. It’s about choices. Are we making the decisions that make us happy and help us feel fulfilled? Are we having fun, enjoying our time, and doing what we love? Our choices have just as much impact on our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing as anything else. So let’s make the choice to leap through fear and go after the lives we really want.
Inspired: Adventure is everywhere
It takes a lot of courage to give away a piece of yourself to others. In that way, each interaction we have is an adventure. There’s something to lose, something to gain, and something to risk when you wear your heart on your sleeve. Be an adventurer; live your passions out loud. They’ve freed you so take a chance and share them in the hopes that they will inspire others to free themselves.
Inspired: What I Learned from Maya Angelou and Walter Mitty
“I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” ~ Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou and Walter Mitty taught me about the importance of taking action. Maya Angelou’s life is an example of the beauty that unfolds when we learn to sing after the most horrific of storms. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty shows us how a man’s life unfolds if he thinks about what he wants to do and his life if he actually does what he wants to do. Action is everything. Absolutely everything.
We must get our ideas out of our heads and into the world. If they stay locked away inside us, they are no good. When we release our words, we free ourselves. By freeing ourselves, we free others. Action creates freedom. The one thing we all want, wherever we live, whatever we do, whoever we are, is to be free. And the best part is that we have the power to free ourselves through our actions. Freedom is a choice we can always exercise.
Inspired: Memorial Day
For all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for people they would never know so that all of us could be free, thank you.
Beautiful: On the Tenth Day of Christmas, Let There Be More Freedom
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Of course I want more freedom in the world, a greater sense of peace and much less conflict. Freedom in the world starts with the freedom of an individual’s heart. Freedom to pursue work we love. Freedom to travel, speak, write, believe along whatever path feels right to us, and respect that this level of freedom belongs to everyone, even those who have paths, beliefs, and dreams different from ours. That’s the kind of freedom I want for everyone – freedom to be whomever we are at the very core knowing that we will be accepted, celebrated, and appreciated for it.
This post is part of the “Let there be…” consecutive series of Christmas wishes.
Beautiful: We Can Have Both Freedom and Happiness
I’m blessed beyond belief that I do what I love and love what I do. It wasn’t always this way. For a long time I had to choose between one or the other. Freedom and happiness don’t always go together. I’ve had financial freedom with little happiness and a lot of happiness with little financial freedom. I had to put myself on a course to figure out what I love and then on another course to figure out how to make a living from it. It’s still a work in progress, day by day, month by month. And though I have regularly scheduled freak out periods that always strike on or around 2am, I wake up every morning raring to go on a path that holds freedom and happiness in equal and high regard. The freak out periods are just fuel to stay the course.
Beautiful: Freelancers Trade Days Off for Freedom
A day off. I remember those. A real day off. No thinking about my work. No emailing about my work. No time spent jotting down the work to-do that just popped into my head that I must take care of as soon as I get back to my computer. Every day for 7 months I’ve done something related to work.
This weekend my friend, Tom, and I talked about this reality of the freelance life. He is a freelancer also (9 years and counting!) and though he certainly takes downtime, he spends almost every day doing something that’s related to his work. I thought I was the only crazy who did this. Tom assured me that this is often a fact of life for freelancers. It comes with the territory.
You might think that sounds awful, but it’s not. Both Tom and I agreed that we’d rather have the flexibility in our schedule and physical location that freelancing allows in exchange for days off.
Loving the work I do also helps. Most of the time the work doesn’t even feel like work. I never groan when I have to wake up in the morning, no matter how early it is. I don’t have a daily grind. I don’t have work stress that spills over into any other area of my life. For the first time in my life, I feel like my future is entirely up to me and that sense of empowerment is priceless.
It’s no coincidence that the word “freelancer” contains the word “free”. There is no better feeling.
Beautiful: Serve to Be Free
“There are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about in the great outside world of wanting and achieving. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people.” ~ David Foster Wallace
Everyone whoever did anything worthwhile was completely scared out of their mind. And you know how they overcame that fear? They focused their attention on others. You want to make something? Make it for the sake of others. For the sake of being helpful and useful. Service isn’t about obligation. It’s about being free in the highest order.
The board of Compass Yoga has set large goals for the organization in 2013. If I just looked at them on paper, I might hesitate. They are that awesome. But here’s the trick that keeps me from any fear: I know that so many people will benefit from our work. We will build a happier, healthier, more vibrant world through our efforts. It happens every day, in every one of our classes taught by our incredibly talented, dedicated, passionate teachers. We are literally changing lives.
See what happens with that kind of intention? Fear just falls away. It evaporates. Once we realize that we have the power to give someone exactly what they need exactly when they need it so that they can live their very best lives, there is no way we can turn and run. Because it’s not about us. It’s about each other. It’s about helping one another through this life by giving the very best of what we have to others.