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.

Self-Deception

 

masks we wearBy, C. W. Stratton:             The evolution and transformation of our existence is such a wonder yet profound process.  As we recall a number of beliefs we once held, during our early stages of life, this may bring some of us to many thoughts and realizations regarding our current place in life.  There may have been a point in time that we believed we would maintain the old thought process throughout our existence.  Assessing this creates a probable response of, “I was trapped”.  This trap may have manifested as being in a place where we needed to conform to the environment and others in order to survive; not survive in the sense that death was a possibility.  This type of survival is associated with saving face and maintaining a certain reputation among your association or peers.  This created self-deception to the point that a character was created along the way.  The character we’ve created presented as our reality.

The portrayal displayed needed to be maintained at all times, no matter the possible consequences of the deception.  It was like the actor who never goes out of character; even off screen. Over time, the portrayal almost felt like our “true-self”.  Although there were instances where breaking character was appropriate, but the pull to be other that ourselves was much greater.  The deceptive-self (portrayal) was greatly accepted amongst our associates.  However, during this process of self-deception, many of us experienced constant turmoil within.  The turmoil may have gotten so overwhelming that it may have even manifested as an explosion.  These explosions may have been toward those close to us or even towards ourselves.  We became so lost in the chaos, deception and explosiveness that it became even more difficult to get in touch with our “true-selves.”  There are those who have been able to come to the realization of the dangers that self-deception has created, and as result a moment of reflection, perspective and assessment was granted.  Many of us were able to break free of the “trap” we existed in for years.

Breaking free and coming to a state of enlightenment regarding the “true-self” eventually concluded that who we truly are enough, and the need to have that character to validate who we “thought” we were became non-existent.  Coming to terms with this requires hard work, discipline and a sincere effort of “Love Self”.  The evolution and transformation is an ongoing process.  Mara (the evil to that tempts, corrupts, instills fear and negatively influences us) is no longer invited into our lives once this realization is made.  However, we must always acknowledge it exists because the aforementioned were all active ingredients to our “self-deception”.  Taking time to continue working on self and utilizing concepts and practices that feed our true-selves will become the fortress that protects us from that character that we once harbored.  Having the courage to sit with our true-selves, daily, without fear, can broaden our enlightenment and willingness to grow as a person.  We are not perfect beings, but many of us strive to be.  Take off the mask, step away from the stage and lights to acknowledge who we truly are.

Searching the Bookshelf from Within

By, C.W. Stratton

Bookshelf

Searching and reading so many books about ways to improve our lives and how to overcome obstacles that we may face, has created so much confusion and increased uncertainty.  Trying to put all the pieces together from the books, social media posts, eBooks and blogs becomes overwhelming.  All the “How To” books lead us in so many different directions.  Going to the bookstore searching for “that right book” is like searching for a needle in a haystack.  When trying to narrow down our choices, we rely on those author names that we may hear in the media.  You know, the authors that relay how great their books are and how helpful their own words were for them.  This is by no means an avenue to discredit those author that spend countless amounts  of time dedicating their craft to reach those who may benefit.  The are great author out there who have been helpful and transforming many lives.

How do we sort through all the titles and advertisements to improve our situations?  It’s a lot of work for many.  The average individual is searching for something specific to their experience.  We want a fix to our circumstances and many want to situation resolved in an instant.  This isn’t realistic by any means.  Just as the our struggles and obstacles in life occurred over time, so does resolving them.  Yes, there is material out their that will be helpful but we must sort through the mess that’s before us; not the books, the mess within ourselves.  If we can get to that point, our search for the right material become less overwhelming.  We may then be able to find something that’s specific to our experience, which will eventually guide us in the direction we desire.

We may be awarded many suggestions from individuals regarding which material has helped them, but keep in mind that your reality and experience may be different than their.  Take the suggestions, look at it closely and decipher which parts of the suggestions can be applied to you.  Your motivation to improve your life or circumstances may initial manifest externally but as you continue to search, that motivation manifest internally which help in maintaining the discipline to continue taking forward steps.  The books are in abundance, life is in abundance and your desire to be the best you can be should be in abundance.  Stepping back and looking at the bookshelf, we begin the process of decision making, so step back and look at ourselves and do the same.  There is so much valuable information out there at our fingertips, lets use it.

The search for answers continue!

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.

Unique Like Everyone Else

By, C. W. Stratton

Wandering  through life aimlessly is a reality for many.  When asking a individual of there current position in this world, the response heard at times is, “It is what it is.”  The phrase sounds cool and slick but when these words are relayed to a individual full of purpose and direction, it’s like a fingernail going across a chalkboard.  There are circumstances in life that can actually be changed.  Having direction, passions and goals are integral aspects of change.  We must broaden our experiences in the world and with others.
Unfortunately, there are individuals who don’t recognize a need for change or improvement.  Associates, friends, colleagues and even family of  such individuals have difficulty pointing out, to that person, that there is a need for change or improvement in their lives.  We will allow that individual to remain in the unproductive state they are in.  Why is this?  We either have difficulty with confrontation, we are selfish, don’t want to hurt that persons feelings, or we let that person remain where they are because it makes our mediocre existence look better than want it really is.  The question posed may take time to actually answer, but I’m sure the response will fall within the realm of the aforementioned.  If we were that individual who was at a “stuck point” in our lives, wouldn’t we want some assistance or guidance to move beyond that place?
Each individual creates their own existence along the way, but there may be obstacles and stumbling blocks on the path.  There are those who have the capability of overcoming them and you have those who have great difficulty with these obstacles and as a result they remain stuck in that position.  Can we find a genuine and sincere way to assist others?  This assistance doesn’t have to be monetary in nature because a few spoken words of encouragement and direction can be of great value.
We tend to get caught up in the reality that we’ve created for ourselves and leave many people left out of behind in the process.  As time passes and our circle becomes smaller, we become so encapsulated that we no longer can see beyond our own existence and not have the ability to see what actually exists outside of ourselves.  In turn, when we make an attempt to step outside of our encapsulated lives, we can’t relate to the other parts of life that we’ve neglected.  We’ve created an existence that’s full of “stuck points” and limitations.  We prevent ourselves from expanding our learning and meaningful experiences in the world.  We have separated ourselves as if we are not like others and we go as far as thinking that our experiences in this world are unique.  Once we break through the barriers we have created and step outside the encapsulated reality we’ve created for ourselves, then we’ll find the truth.

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.