Celebrate Freedom by Freeing your mind
– 10 Mindful Declarations of Independence
This 4th of July I find myself asking this question: How can I honor the freedom I’ve been given?
I’m not going to fight in a war, becoming xenophobic isn’t my style, and just waving a flag doesn’t seem like enough. Freedom means more to me that freedom of speech or religion.
For me freedom means trying to live a life free of all the things that hold me back.
So with that in mind I offer:
10 Mindful Declarations of Independence
1. Declare independence from limiting self-definitions
We are so good at defining ourselves in limiting ways. We are constantly saying what we can’t do, who we aren’t, and what holds us back. But so rarely do we challenge these definitions.
I have had clients tell me they don’t like to exercise and later tell me how much they love to get out and move. When we repeat limiting definitions we only reinforce what holds us back. But when we challenge those definitions in thought and action we often find they were never true to begin with.
2. Declare independence from doing something else while you eat.
We spend approximately 38,003 hours of our lives eating. That’s over 4 years! Unfortunately, we spend most of those hours not paying attention to our food.
When we read, watch, and text at every meal we are loosing all the joy of tasting smelling, chewing, and delighting in everything eating has to offer. When we pay attention to even just a few bites of every meal we grow our capacity for appreciation and add years of pleasure to our lives.
3. Declare independence from stuff you don’t need.
If you have ever taken a long trip, you quickly relize how little you actually need. Yet, we fill our lives with so much stuff.
When we acquire more than we need we lose ourselves. Our priorites get mixed up in the process of buying, caring for, and organizing everything we own. When we let go of the things we don’t need we get more time to do things we love.
4. Declare independence from believing critical thoughts.
We all have critical thoughts. And even though we’d like to get rid of them, doing so is hard and maybe not so beneficial.
When we identify with critical thought we lose faith and become afraid to fail. When we create space from critical thinking and realize those thoughts aren’t who we are. We can learn from their wisdom without being debilitated by their perspective.
5. Declare independence from comparing yourself to fitness models and celebrities.
Aspiration is great, but comparison isn’t. We each have our own paths through this world and each of our stories is as beautiful as it is unique.
When we compare ourselves to celebrities and fitness models we do ourselves the disservice of not honoring our own journey. When we start to look at our own lives and bodies with admiration, we generate amazing energy and find more peace in every day of our lives.
6. Declare independence from your iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
I love technology as much as the next person, but it’s important to be able to put these things aside.
When we spend every moment looking at, listening to, or typing on some device we don’t allow space for reflection or change. When we set these things aside for even a short time, we find we can connect more, reflect more, and be present in a way we’ve forgotten.
7. Declare independence from letting fear stop you.
There is nothing wrong with being afraid. In fact, fear tells us that we are alive and that we care. But we mustn’t let fear rule our lives.
When we let fear control us we shrink the scope of what is possible. When face our fears, we gain the confidence to take risks and the faith to endure whatever comes our way.
8. Declare independence from multitasking
Multitasking should be defined as trying to do many things poorly.
When we try to increase our efficiency by doing two or more things at a time we not only lose our focus, but we also lose ability to perform with excellence. When we unitask we perform better and allow ourselves to become absorbed fully in what we are doing. And full absorption is the foundation of great joy.
9. Declare independence from letting your mind control you
Your mind is not the boss of you. It likes to think it is, but it likes to think all sorts of things.
Although your mind is a powerful ally, its perspective is limited.
When we allow our minds to become dictators of our lives, trouble ensues. But when we balance the power of our minds with the compassion and intuition of our hearts, we learn to live life less like a math problem and more like a creative writing project.
10. Decleare independence from independence itself.
We can’t do any of the things listed above without help from others.
When we think we could or should do everything on our own, we vastly limit our own potential. When we ask for help and acknowledge all we receive, we grow our capacity for gratitude and ability to do amazing things with our lives.
It is my hope that you will join me on this 4th of July in reflecting on our freedom and try to find new ways to expand our horizons. Though I have been given a lot by living in this democracy, that gift pales in comparison to the gift I can give myself and others when I slow down, pay attention, and let go of the things that hold me back.
What do your want to declare your independence from?