Choices = Freedom

Flowing through life is easier said than done. We want to clutch the illusion of control. We yearn for any answer or path to help us guide our way through the trenches of decisions and choices. They loom over us, causing anxiety, stress, tension, and doubt. Choices. Options. Decisions. FREEDOM.

The reality is, when we feel overwhelmed or plagued with indecision or fear, there is a process of stepping backward and observing the situation from a new lens -- a foreign perspective.

When we start to see decisions causing us anxiety as our beautiful and privileged freedoms, we shift. We begin to see the world with a grateful heart and a steady soul. Our melodies are clear, and our journey begins to flow. We let go of the clutching of fear, the paralysis of anxiety, the worries of “what ifs,” and we begin our gentle process of unfolding our story. We have choices -- freedom of choice over our thoughts, our actions, our decisions, our religions, our careers… an incredible amount of options! We also have the choice to cherish our freedoms or let fear rule our lives.

Let’s allow our perspectives to shift into gratitude of freedom, celebration of choice, and love of expression. Let’s rejoice in knowing that we are the voyagers of our destiny, and we will only ever know what this life brought us.

There is no other path we will take but our own. Live freely in the peace that YOU CHOSE your life. Live knowing you didn’t let life happen to you, but rather you happened to life.

Boundaries

Boundaries, ah… the tough, tough boundaries which are necessary to set in order to live freely in making choices, not for others, but rather, for ourselves. Boundaries are crucial, and in the past I did not understand the radical importance of boundaries. I felt selfish and not generous when I would put boundaries up within interpersonal relationships. I was so caught up in the worry of disappointing someone due to a choice I was making for myself, and scared to cause pain if I decided to do something that perhaps did not include someone or may potentially offend them. I’ve come to realize this as not selfish, but rather, enlightened self interest.

The fear of upsetting people comes down to people pleasing. This fear can manifest itself into our lives and cause a lack of freedom of expression, choice, or decision. All of a sudden we take our own personal freedom and we give this away to another human being because we are scared. We are fearful of their reaction, their perspective, or their feelings.

We cannot stop someone’s reaction, but we can work on our own. We can also work on containing the freedom we have, and make sure the choices we are making are:

1. healthy 2. honest 3. safe 4. causing to harm to another or self

If our choices are based upon all of these elements, then we should be able to make the choice for OURSELVES and not out of fear of how someone will react.

Let’s take for example, you live with a roommate and you feel like going to eat dinner alone. Perhaps this roommate doesn’t have any plans. You may start to anticipate your roommate’s feelings to be hurt, mad, or upset if you do not invite them to dinner. You decide to go out with this person due to your fear of disappointing or causing a reaction. What you have done is now given your freedom to another person and they have made your choice for you. How could you approach this situation and feel good about following through on your freedom? You explain in a mature and kind way such as, “I’ve had a long and stressful week, and as much as I enjoy hanging out with you, I just need time for myself to relax and rejuvenate alone.” You then let it go. You let that person react how they may and you let their reaction go. You release. You have been kind, honest, and respectful in expressing yourself and you move forward. This is enlightened self interest.

If you make choices based on the fear of how someone will react, then you will be making choices for other people your entire life. That can take a toll on your personal freedom, your personal decisions, and your profound moments of self expression. Those moments, those molecules, and those significant rays from your divine soul make up the individual you ARE. If you start to take your freedoms away, you cannot truly be your authentic self. Freedom is a significant part of living a genuine life. Your soul, your heart, your body, mind, and spirit rely on freedom. Open up your wings and start shedding your baggage because, Zen Birdies, very very soon it will be time to fly.

Freedom within Relationships

Ah... freedom within relationships! It can be tough. We all have relationships -- interpersonal relationships as a mother/daughter, romantic relationships, best friends, yoga buddies & co workers -- you name it.  We are invested in our relationships, and sometimes our boundaries are lacking. Relationships can be tricky in the department of freedom, and they come with a fine line of growing together while growing independently.

How do we create personal freedom within our relationships? We find it by setting healthy boundaries and by continuing to explore our personal curiosities. We cultivate this by realizing that for many years our partner was immersed in their personal life before you came along and they had individual interests. We explore this by letting our partner continue this growth without feeling personally attacked if they want to do something solo. Freedom within relationships is not only desired, but it is necessary for long term happiness.

This is not to say that you should never come together with your partners, but it simply means

  • keep your hobbies

  • cultivate your interests

  • fuel your desires

  • continue to develop YOUR personal expression

There are many ways to incorporate personal growth within a relationship. Maybe you are married or living with your partner. Decide on one night per week (more or less, it all depends on you) to pursue your individual hobbies, separately. It doesn’t have to be for long but make sure you take your individual time to connect within your own heartbeat. Once you accept and celebrate that your partner is a unique and dynamic individual, you are able to understand the significance of freedom. Let yourself delve into your personal expression of self, and your relationship will grow. This, Zen Birdies, I know.