How to Free Yourself

As 2018 comes to a close, it's time to review who you've become and decide who you're becoming. What will you leave behind? What do you want to be free from?

I write a lot about empowerment ... healing yourself, taking back your power, etc. In my healing practice, I've seen the amazing results of this.  Negative thoughts or feelings, guilt, and attachment are common ways we hold ourselves back from feeling free and happy.

What I know for sure is that YOU have the power to write your own story. When you claim your power, you can create the life you want to live.  You can set yourself free from the beliefs that you've been living by, which might have been handed down by another (parents, partners, society).  Once you recognize a story that no longer serves you, you can take back your power and change that story.  All that's required is the ability to believe that the story could change, even if you don't know how to change it.

The truth is, no matter what you want, the events of life happen.  Sometimes matching your desires, and sometimes not.  So the question is: how do you meet the moments of your life? We may not be able to control what happens, but we have the opportunity to choose how we respond.

It all boils down to a simple truth: resistance brings suffering; acceptance and openness bring ease. To be free, we stop the inner war, and choose peace instead.  

Here are some awesome ways to free yourself

... from negative thoughts or feelings

1. Name it.  To create awareness.  Say out loud "I am thinking about ________ (overeating, worry about the future etc.)"  or "I feel _______ (fearful, grumpy, etc.)"

2. Feel it.  In your body - where do you physically feel the tension (shoulders, neck, jaw, stomach)  Feeling it will ground you in the moment and give you access to choice.

3. Release it. Breathing in, say "I acknowledge the feeling that’s here." Breathing out, say "I release it.”  Do this for as long as the tension remains.  It will dissipate.

4. Redirect it.  Focus instead on a healthier, more positive thought and how it makes you feel.  Your body's reaction to stress is to provide an adrenaline rush to help you fight or flee the perceived danger.  Fortunately, your body cannot discern a real experience from an imaginary one, so if you imagine feeling safe and content, stress-hormones will stop producing, and your body will return to balance.

...from guilt

1. Stop magnifying - Ask yourself if your self-punishment fits the crime. It probably doesn’t.
2. You are not your actions - Your actions don’t make you a bad person, your actions are what the good person (you) did.
3. Self-compassion - Forgiving yourself allows you to choose better actions next time.
4. Apologize - Say you’re sorry for what THEY think you did wrong, not what YOU think you did wrong.
5. Ask “What can I learn from this?” - Punishing yourself doesn’t make you a better person. Learning from the experience does.

...from attachment

Letting go of attachment means receiving what's happening, without resisting.  We hold our desires very lightly and stay open to what actually occurs.  Even if it is the last thing we would ever want to happen.  There's nothing inherently wrong with being attached.  But if we want peace, if we want to truly enjoy the moments of our lives, we need to surrender into reality ... as it really is.

Ask yourself:

Am I weighed down by hopes and expectations?
Am I resisting what is actually here?

  1. In what area of your life are you attached?
  2. How does being attached affect you and those around you?
  3. What do you imagine non-attachment would be like?

Simple awareness of the attachment, and the intention to surrender it, is all that's required.

“Non-attachment is not the elimination of desire. It is the spaciousness to allow any quality of mind, any thought or feeling, to arise without closing around it, without eliminating the pure witness of being. It is an active receptivity to life.”
Stephen Levine