When you see the word "freedom", what comes to mind? Weekends? The Fourth of July? Never hearing a Michael Bolton song again? Freedom always has at least two aspects. We get free from something: old habits, an overbearing boss, pain, or a lousy cell phone contract. We also get free to do or be something: be happy, start a new business, or speak the truth fully. Unless we channel our "freedom from" into a "freedom to become or do", our freedom is likely to be short-lived, either because our new found energy is taken captive by another draining situation or because we squander it on self-absorbed gratification, which becomes its own prison.
How do we get free and stay free? A good place to start is to take the advice of Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt Therapy: "Lose your mind and come to your senses." The controlling, critical aspect of the mind keeps us trapped in old patterns that rarely serve anyone, yet we continue to justify the status quo with any number of irrational rationalizations. What's needed is a trip back into our senses, our subconscious, our deep spirit, our inner light and our deep joy.
Whether we do this through nature, meditation, prayer, creating art, singing, yoga, or playing with dogs, the form is not as important as the benefit, which is liberation from our habitual thought patterns. When the old mental chatter simmers down, clarity emerges in which we see things as they really are and respond appropriately with grace and ease. We become fully alive. Our hearts and minds open. We freely give back all that we are, all that we have, and all that we do to Life, to God, to the common and highest good of all. We finally come to our senses.
Coming to our senses is more likely, fun, and enduring when we collaborate with others who share a common intention, supportive energy and wise feedback. If you would like to take a deeper dive into freedom, come join us for a series of day retreats this fall. The theme of the three retreat days is "Path to Freedom: Using Challenges to Revitalize Your Life". For more information, check out the page on Classes.