“The more neatly you fit in society, the less free you actually are.”
—Naval Ravikant, American Entrepreneur and Investor
Image from Unsplash by Noah Näff
For as long as I can remember, fitting in was one of my top priorities.
Looking back at my school years, friendships, and careers, doing what was expected always seemed like the best way to go. Standing out seemed dangerous, and would almost certainly incur considerable judgement from others.
Where in your personal and professional world is fitting in a high priority?
How much freedom and wiggle room do you experience when you simply go along to get along? What aspects of yourself must you suppress in these situations, and what has it cost you over the years?
Much like in the game of Monopoly, give yourself a “Get Out of Jail” card to use whenever you feel imprisoned by society.
What new possibilities and freedoms could you realize by stepping out instead of fitting in?
“What if there were no missing pieces in your life? What would be possible if you found yourself to be whole and complete just as you are?”
Image from Unsplash by Ross-Sneddon
We recently met a new neighbor named Larry, who has always been fascinated by puzzles, and a day never passes without him working on one.
Now in his 70’s, he takes great pride in his lifetime pursuit which covers his entire basement—including one of his masterpieces made up of 43,000 pieces!
Wendy and I enjoy talking with him about his passion and how he has created a vibrant and down-to-earth personality that is nicely put together.
How often do you focus on the missing pieces of your life?
What peace, joy and freedom could you find by simply putting together the pieces within yourself and the colorful ones you find along the way?
247 Years Ago Today…
Image from Unsplash by Tom Dahl
I wonder if the founders of this country gave thought to how their vision might change over the decades and centuries. I wonder—if traveling into the future—they would recognize their ideals at work, or wonder themselves at the dramatic changes in every aspect of life since their time.
What does independence mean to you? What does freedom mean to you?
How have you benefited from the foresight of men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other leaders of this land?
Today, my family and I wish you all a happy and healthy Independence Day, and hope that before the BBQ, the beach, and/or the fireworks, you will take some time to consider what it means to YOU to be free to make choices for yourself.
The slogan, “Have It Your Way” is not only for burgers.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Jacky Watt
Burger King’s Whopper was launched the year I was born (1957). The food chain’s initial positioning — “Have it Your Way” — lasted 40 years.
Their new slogan —”Be Your Way” — is designed to remind people that no matter who they are, they can order how they want, and they can and should live how they want anytime.
To what degree do you experience a life of autonomy and freedom, to be and have what you desire?
What other slogans have you embraced over the years to live the life you love?
“To let go is to release the images and emotions, the grudges and fears, the clinging and disappointments of the past that bind our spirits.”
—Jack Kornfield, American author & Buddhist practitioner
Personal freedom is a core value many people cherish. In her book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson describes many tragic examples from the past that still spill over into our modern world.
Despite certain gains in personal freedom in parts of our world, many people often find themselves confined and bound in their inner worlds by aspect of their past.
What are some of the ways you can better release yourself from the past?
What difference would letting go of these burdens do to free your spirit?
Notice the presence of absence.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Tim Chow
In the practice of meditation, we train ourselves to notice our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
The intention is that these efforts will carry forward, so we can pursue our daily activities with greater awareness and ease.
Being more present to our inner and outer worlds offers us a deeper and fuller experience of living.
For most of us, our constant inner dialogues and emotional ups and downs keep us occupied, both on and off the cushion.
What if we could easily and regularly have these thoughts and sensations dissolve and dissipate as if they were water evaporating from the sidewalk on a warm sunny day?
What levels of freedom, peace, and tranquility might be left without all the chatter?
What else could be present in the absence?
Create a space in your home where you remove as many distractions as possible. Do your best to eliminate all sensory inputs and sit for at least ten minutes with only your breath and heartbeat for company.
“I recommend that the Statue of Liberty be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast.”
—Victor Frankl, Austrian neurologist, author, and Holocaust survivor
Image from Unsplash by Miltiadis Fragkidis
As a relatively new grandparent, I’ve become interested in parenting approaches in today’s rapidly changing world. When I think of the phrase “Teach your children well,” I recall my own upbringing and our efforts with our two adult children, now in their mid-thirties.
Even if you are not a parent or grandparent, consider your own upbringing. How much liberty and how much responsibility were taught and modeled by your elders?
As we fast forward to today, what lessons do our children — and for that matter all of us — need to live healthy, happy, and responsible lives within our various communities?
Where do you stand on the pursuit of freedom and liberty in the world? What is your perspective on the benefits of greater responsibility? What steps are needed coast-to-coast and throughout the world?
By letting things unfold and relinquishing control we discover freedom.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Susan Wilkinson
Trusting things to unfold naturally without always needing to control others and events is a skill worth practicing.
Notice what happens when you let others in your personal and professional worlds do things in their own way and in their own time.
Offering those around you this freedom and autonomy will likely please them very much and endear you to them.
Where in your life can you more fully trust things to unfold naturally?
“Although he may not always recognize his bondage, modern man lives under a tyranny of numbers.”
—Nicholas Eberstadt, American political economist
Image from Unsplash by Stephen Dawson
What time is it? What did you weigh when you stood on the bathroom scale this morning?
How fast or slow is traffic moving on your commute to work? How much money do you earn and how much have you saved?
What are some other ways you measure your life and whether you are successful?
To what degree do you feel the bondage and tyranny of our world of metrics, milestones, and the quantification of everything?
Where in your life do you experience the freedom and simple pleasures of the subjective, qualitative, and more soulful aspects of life?
Consider discussing these questions with friends and family. What are the most appropriate and useful ways for you to measure your life?