The Freedom To Be

Free to be

C. W. Stratton

The desire to improve our lives is viewed as a normal aspect of our society.  We are constantly presented with ways to become a better person.  Right from birth we are taught how to behave and what’s expected of us to be a productive individual.  Those closest to use who are feeding us information, are going off of their own point of reference.  This doesn’t mean what’s being conveyed to us is inaccurate.  Those individuals points of reference eventually become our own at some point.  This tends to create a continuum that will go through generations.  The cycle continues until someone breaks free of the taught thinking and behavior that has become a so-call “norm”.  When this does occur, that person is immediately looked down upon because they are living the up to the status quo that had been created.

Many times, there are those of us who have no clue why we do, what we do.  We acknowledge that others are doing it, so it must be right.  This can be related to so many different things in our lives:

-Family

-Friends

-School

-Neighborhood

-Relationships

-Employment

We follow the majority in many cases.  This may be due to our personal fear of leading, fear of being expansive, or fear of starting something new outside the familiar.  We want more out of life but we don’t take the required steps to be innovative and original.  As a result, we remain within a suffering state that fuels disappointment, underachievement, and life dissatisfaction.  However, we continue to push along with the crowd in hopes that something miraculous occurs to change our circumstances.

We spend a considerable amount of time and energy improving our “external” conditions, to obtain a sense of freedom, happiness, and to solve many of life’s problems.  Improving “external” conditions will never solve “internal” problems.  At the very moment you feel an internal problem is solved by improving external conditions, something else will arise within which will result in focusing on the external once again; to get that warn and accomplished feeling back.  Working backwards like this is likes being on a hamster wheel; you feel like you’re moving forward but you’re actually going nowhere.  We must learn to control the mind and desires to achieve the happiness we ultimately seek.

First improve “internal conditions” in order to maintain those external things.

Legitimate Fear

Fear

By, C.W. Stratton

All of us have experienced some form of fear on one level or another.  Being able to identify legitimate fear becomes problematic for some.  Fear is the unpleasant emotion or belief that something or someone is dangerous, likely to cause harm or a threat.   Another definition suggest that the feeling can be experience weather the threat is real or imagined.  Focusing our attention on the feeling itself has the likelihood to limit our ability in determining if the fear is actually warranted in a given situation.  Obviously there are legitimate reason to experience fear.

*A barking dog exposing its fangs running in your direction.

*A car barreling down the road in your direction as you cross the street.

*Someone threatening you with a weapon or causing physical pain.

*An event or situation that can result in loss of life.

The fear that many of us experience aren’t typically associated with the aforementioned.  After assessing a given situation thoroughly, we may find that our fears aren’t connected to dangers or threats at all.  Some of our fears are associated with others and how they may respond to certain discussions we may be involved in.  We may be that individual who lacks self-confidence, whereas fear becomes a constant feeling at unexpected times.  Given this being a individuals reality, we must realize that lack of self-confidence doesn’t mean there are dangers or threats that will become of harm to the person.  The fear becomes the fear of a feeling that one may experience if we relay a message to someone and they don’t respond in a way that we had depicted in our minds prior.  A result, we begin to condition ourselves mentally to avoid certain conversations, situations and interactions.  Think about some of the ways and things we associate with fear:

*Change

*Changing careers

*Letting someone down.

*Being wrong.

*Asking for help.

*Following your dreams.

*Speaking up about what you believe in.

*Addressing an issue with someone who may have hurt your feelings

*Challenging a statement of someone that you know is inaccurate.

*Stepping outside of certain conventional practices.

*Rejection (avoid hearing that huge word “NO”).

These are only a few things that we associate with fear but as we can see, there’s no real danger, harm or threat involved in these.  However, we hold on and identify the feeling as fear, and in turn, it prevents us from making the progress that we say we desire.  We become paralyzed by the illegitimate fears.  We rob ourselves of the opportunity to communicate our wants and needs; we remain in the comfort zone of stagnation.  Is the zone really comfortable?  It’s just a familiar place to be that’s consumed with discomfort.  It’s time to challenge ourselves (our views, perceptions and ideas of reality) and become more confident and comfortable with who we are as people.  Being able to identify the feeling you are actually experiencing in a given situation is critical to progress; it’s not always fear.  It could possibly be other feelings you may subconsciously refuse to identify (inadequacy, insecurity, shame, or guilt).  It’s time to identify and conquer.

 

Self-Assessment

By, C.W. Stratton

Self assessment
During life we will be challenged and even forced to take a real close look at ourselves and our current position in life.  Forced self-assessment can be fear provoking and overwhelming for the most part.  The self-assessment can be catapulted by our interactions with our loved ones, colleagues, friends or other associates.  The results of the self-assessment can bring about fear, shame, guilt and even pain; for some of us.  There are those of us that may harbor these feelings to the point of feeling total defeat and not wanting to improve our situation.  We tend to protect these harmful feelings and thoughts with all we have.
During our illogical phase, which can last a moment or for a significant period of time, we harm ourselves and others in the process.  If our self-assessment indicates that bad decisions, behaviors  or mistakes were made in our lives, we have the ability to resolve and restore.  Making a bad decision doesn’t make us bad people.  That decision can be transformed into a learning a experience that can help propel us to where we really want to be.  The key is not to stay “stuck” in the bad decision or in the feelings that come with it.  Looking within ourselves and finding the strength that we all possess to move forward is such an enlightening experience.
Looking at ourselves (our Inner-Self; is who we are) and acknowledging the natural gifts and talents that we possess is key.  We have the tendency of being more focused on our personality (things outside of ourselves; family, careers, friends, material things, certain behaviors, etc.), opposed to digging deeper to look at our Inner Self.  We can overcome the negative thoughts and feelings that we may have about ourselves by tapping into our natural abilities and talents that exist.  There are those times where we may say we are having a bad day, but what I’ve found over time, it’s really a bad moment that I hold on to for a whole day.  Self-assessment isn’t a bad thing, it an opportunity to see where change and growth need to occur.

Being Your True Self

By C. W. Stratton

You can find your purpose through your passions.  This is a statement that was quite profound when I was first introduced to it.  Looking deep within my being allowed me to acknowledge my natural passions in life.  This wasn’t an easy task but I allowed myself to quiet my mind, shut off all the chatter and outside distractions to enter the next level of consciousness.  It was difficult at times and even scary, but it was a necessary process.  Once the peace and comfort was obtained, my ability to find the creativity and true passions began to emerge.  Many of us have true passions that we don’t tap into.  This may be due to our passions being unconventional or they don’t meet the status quo.  This fear of tapping into our true selves can create unhappiness, discomfort, dissatisfaction and an abundance of unfinished projects in our lives.  Never be afraid of who you truly are.  Be yourself because everyone else is taken.

The Map Home

By C. W. Stratton

If we were to look at our lives as if it were a road-map; beginning with the past, it may appear that we are totally lost.  We’ve hit dead ends, closed roads, some paths even under construction or no longer exist.  We would eventually say, as we look at the map, “This makes no sense.”  If we begin to look deep within ourselves with a keen eye, open mind and an open heart, we could see that every road leads somewhere.  Organizing the pieces will show you how to reach your goal or destination.  With this knowledge about your travels you can begin identifying the things that are most meaningful to you.  Once we make an accurate identification, we can begin sorting out the barriers in the road to make a clearer path for ourselves.

Where the Leaf Lands

By C. W. Stratton

Throughout our lives we have been bombarded with information about ways to improve our lives and to be successful.  Some of us have wandered through life aimlessly in hopes to find the one place we fit in.  We’ve followed the direction of others but soon found out, “this isn’t a comfortable place either.”  As a result, we move on to the next adventure that has been suggested to us.  A continuation of these events eventually makes it appear that we’ve become “a jack of all trades.”  We may have full resumes of things we’ve done in the past but taking a closer look we can find that nothing we’ve done really aligned with our inner being.  Some of us engage in things for social status or to say “look who I am now” or “look what I’ve accomplished”, only to find that these things were temporary and were no longer fulfilling…superficial.  Envision our lives as a leaf falling from a tree during the autumn season, it looks beautiful but the leaf will blow wherever the wind takes it; it has no direction or control of where it lands.  Some of us have lived our lives accordingly to the point it has created suffering, confusion, frustration and total discontent.  We as human beings have absolute control of what direction our lives go;  during those dark times of our lives it may appear difficult to see.  However, or inner selves possesses a light that can guide us in our pursuits.  Taking time to sit with ourselves and begin searching within our core to find our passions in life is critical.  All of us have something that we’re passionate about.  This can transcend to a doorway for us to walk through.  Although fear of the unknown and fear of change surfaces, we are safe to identify our passions; this identification becomes our foundation for our direction.  Our passions will eventually lead us to our purpose.

More Doesn’t Mean Better

Placeholder ImageBy C. W. Stratton

We go through our present existence wanting and craving a variety of things to make us feel better or appear more than what’s actually inside.  Some sit with thoughts of ways to improve their experiences in the world.  Our society and culture has conditioned us to be the winner or most impressive in every given situation.  The messages conveyed with regard to this conditioning has many of us seeking ways to become better, smarter or more accomplished than the next person.  Being someone who’s ambitious isn’t a negative thing; having goals and dreams aren’t negatives either.  What happens in many cases is that we become consumed, overwhelmed and confused with what being accomplished entails.
The very things we bring to our lives we feel will make us more accomplished and fulfilled are the things that keep us confined and unappreciative of the natural necessities of life we are given.  The conditioning we’ve experienced has cluttered our thought process and other areas of our lives.  We tend to want more of everything that may makes us feel good; at the moment.  The materialistic world that we’ve become so accustomed to being a part of has taken away some of our humanistic abilities to prosper without cost.  To prosper isn’t about:
*Having the most money
*Having the most attractive spouse
*Having the most friends
*Having the most expensive and fashionable attire
*Having the most advanced degree amongst your peers
*Having the biggest home
These are very important things to people and many have allowed themselves to be defined by these things.  I’m a believer that anything you put before your natural care for self and others, you will eventually lose.  When this occurs, where does it leave us?  Are we still able to feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment despite the loss?  Some may struggle this.  The though alone can be terrifying and devastating for many.  Think of the addicted individual (drug/alcohol addiction) who consistently needs the substance to feel good.  Day after day they seek out the substance and once obtained there’s a sense of relief, happiness and even accomplishment.  However, the experience soon vanishes and the individual seeks more.  Then you have the individual who isn’t addicted to substances who may go through the same experience when it comes to wanting more things to make them feel good.  The individual becomes satisfied with their new thing and quickly the newness wears-off and they move one to the next new thing…never being satisfied, no matter what or how much.  There are those who are addicted to substances, then you have those who are addicted to “MORE.”
With this thinking and the behaviors associated with it, we can saturate our lives with “things” to the point that it encloses us and the only thing others can see are the “thing’s” we’ve brought into our lives.  The individual can no longer be seen.  Improving self requires that we actually look at ourselves and begin working from the inside, not from the outside in.  When we get to the point of self-accomplishment, self-care, self-compassion and self-love we can place ourselves in a better position to appreciate the small natural gifts that are already given.  Anything outside of that become bonuses.  When making a life plan that can ultimately change your life forever, we must remember to begin internally.  We should treat ourselves just as good as we treatment those “things” we incorporate in our lives.