In last week's newsletter, I told you that I'd be sharing a series with you, 5 Keys To Happiness: AKA What I Learned on My Summer Vacation (click here to read it). I'm excited to begin today with Key #1: Live Freedom!
From the moment Josh and I left for vacation, we felt free. Top down, wind in our hair, we had a week of long unplanned days ahead. We belted out tunes without worry of looking silly. When we saw a Dairy Queen, we stopped without thinking of the calories.
That’s the thing about vacation – you allow yourself to be free. You want to nap, you nap. You bump into a musician on the street, you stop. You’re open to possibility. You follow your heart. This is what it is to be free.
According to Dictionary.com, freedom is:
- The state of being free or at liberty rather than confinement or under physical restraint
- Exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
- The power to determine action without restraint.
Read that carefully. Freedom isn’t defined by what it IS (open-hearted living, joyful expansion, full expression, choice in all matters), but by the absence of external control and restraint. Put simply, freedom is realizing that nothing else controls you.
Not your kids. Not your mortgage. Not even a custody order. You can always be free.
I recently re-learned this the hard way. During my first marriage, I desperately wanted to move to a big city. But, we stayed where we grew up because my husband was a lawyer with a promising career there. So when we divorced, I promised myself that I would never again let a relationship restrain me. So when I met Josh 5 years ago, and he told me that he was tied to Philadelphia because his son is here, immediately, my body wanted to bolt. But Josh remained in my heart, and so I asked, “How can I remain free and still be married to him?” The answer became clear: Philly is a home base, AND I am a free bird. I need travel to feel alive, so I go. That’s why I’ve taught in San Francisco for a year and am teaching monthly in Florida this fall/winter. That’s why I host retreats in cities I adore like Miami (one coming up in August!), Paris (read about it here) and Sonoma (coming in November!). I am FREE.
You are free too. You get to own your power. You can live your joy.
You might not want to face it, but you, and you alone, are the source of your own constraint. I know – you have a mortgage to pay and mouths to feed. Me too. And you get to choose how you feed them. You get to choose where you work and what you do to pay those bills. I’m not suggesting that you quit your job tomorrow; I’m suggesting that you acknowledge that you freely work there and choose to make it great. If you can't, I’m asking you to awaken your desires and live to your full potential. I’m telling you to live from your heart and create your own joy.
- What is really holding me back from living freely?
- What external force am I choosing to control my life?
- Whose regulations am I living by?
- Why am I allowing myself to be a victim in my own life?
I sometimes play victim too. When I first moved to Philly, I put up a wall and declared that I would resent it for the 4 years I’m required to live here. I became angry, dark, and hardened – the opposite of free. I acted like a victim in my own home instead of owning that I FREELY CHOSE to marry Josh and therefore chose to live here. I said that Philly was causing my misery, but it wasn’t. I was. By choosing to see Philly as a cage, it became one. After my miscarriage (which you can read about here), I had to look at every aspect of my life. I chose to take my power back. I connected with a friend who also just moved here, she and I began hosting women’s circles together, and we are exploring the area in joyful mini-retreats (read about them here)! Now, I love it. Well – it’s not that I love Philly; I just love my life and I don’t think about if I’m in Philly or NY or elsewhere. I am where I am. I am free.
To have the happy life you desire, you must admit that you are allowing yourself to be restrained and then declare that you will let yourself be free.
Now ask yourself:
- What if I were free from what other people think is “normal”? Free from what I’m “supposed” to do?
- What if I were free from caring what other people think?
- What if I were free from living life by my parents’ rules?
- What if I were free from trying to be perfect?
- What if I were free from the shame and guilt that somehow I’m wrong for wanting to take care of myself and follow my passion?
As an example, I want to have kids and everyone tells me that I’ll have to give up the travel. No I won’t. When the time comes, I may choose to, but I don’t “have” to. Actors travel. I kind of dig Angelina Jolie’s life. I get to choose.
You get to choose too. You get to choose if you finally learn piano as you’ve yearned to do, or if you will continue to tell yourself you’re too old. You are free to have impromptu dance parties in the kitchen, even if your teenager rolls his eyes (this happens nearly every night in our home). You are free to run through the sprinklers (I did on vacation and my step-son was MORTIFIED). You are free to twirl naked in your living room feeling your skin tingle in the fresh air (Yep, every day that my step-son isn’t with us).
I’m not suggesting that living freely is easy. I am stating that it is possible. And it starts with the realization, the deep knowing, that much of what we consider constraints on our own freedom are actually self-imposed. It begins with admitting that you the have the power to loosen and remove those constraints and Live Freedom!
So love, tonight, look in the mirror and honestly ask: “If I were totally and completely free, what would I do?” Then go do it!
With so much love,
PS – Share the love! If you like this series, share it! Invite a friend to get these tips by sending them this link. Thanks for sharing the love!
PPS – Goddess Girls Weekend in South Beach is one month away! Join me and Taylor Strecker in the VERSACE MANSION for a soul spark, heart-fulfilling, fabulous weekend. August 5 – 7. (Click here for info and to join us!)
PPPS – Want to learn the Science of Happiness? I will also be teaching a 6-month Positive Psychology Certification in Miami this Fall and Winter. 7 weekends over 6 months with a group of like-hearted, brilliant people who all want to make a difference in the world. You don't have to live in Florida – you can fly in every month like I am. This program is AMAZING. More info coming soon, but in the meantime, click here!