Maybe this is a silly question. You’re at work right now, checking out the latest Greenster articles in between phone calls, or at school, reading about why you should juice cleanse as you sort of pay attention to why you should care where ‘X’ is. Maybe you’re at home, sneaking in some much needed self-time while the kids nap. It doesn’t matter. Are you free? Do you feel free?
I’m not in prison, I’m not shackled or chained, and I don’t have someone shouting orders at me about when the appropriate times to wake up, go to bed, and brush my teeth are. So, are you free?
I have to admit that I don’t feel free today. I recently filed my taxes by myself for the first time, the day before the first of the month, when rent and all of my other bills are due. I wake up earlier than I would like to. I go to a job that pays enough for me to enjoy only the very basic necessities of life, and I spend the remainder of my time trying to find something that gives my life meaning. Does this sound familiar?
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to teach yoga here in Austin, and that has given me tremendous joy and satisfaction. However, sometimes I just feel trapped, stuck, overwhelmed. I’m not complaining, I’m just confessing because I think we all feel that way sometimes. No matter what our financial or familial or relationship status is, we all have a tendency to feel overwhelmed by the reality of our daily responsibilities.
Howard Thurman, in his book For the Inward Journey: The Writings of Howard Thurman, says “To be free means the ability to deal with the realities of one’s own situation so as not to be overcome by them.” Here, I offer a few suggestions on how to deal:
What would you do if you had all of the time in the world and money was no object? This question was posed to my teacher training group during a goal-setting module, and I think about it often. Have you always wanted to backpack through Europe? Make your own clothes? Write a book? We all have fantasies, but for some of us they feel like just that: ideas that can only come true in our wildest dreams. It doesn’t have to be this way. Take some time to meditate on what moves you.
2. Do it!
To operate in our society, most of us have to work to make money. If you’re lucky enough to work doing something you love, count yourself truly blessed! However, some of us have responsibilities that outweigh our ability to make a living off of our Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your dreams! Instead, take small steps in that general direction. Want to write a book? Start with a journal. Take a writing class. Want to travel the world? Start small. Take a day trip out of town to experience a change of scenery, or check out some tourist attractions in your own city that you’ve never been to before. Make your own chai latte at home, and save the money you spent every day at Starbucks to take that trip to Thailand that you’ve always dreamed about.
Your dreams are in your reach so long as you don’t stop reaching.
3. Do something about it.
If getting out of bed every morning is a challenge for you because you dread going to work, then quit. I’m not saying just go in and throw your keys in your boss’s face like you’re the star of the newest Romantic Drama-dy blockbuster, but think about real ways that you can change your situation. Look for another job. It might take some time, but putting that intention into action will send your positive vibrations soaring out into the universe. What you put out will return to you, in time.
Take these three steps and realize that you can deal with the situations of your own reality without being overcome by them. You can (and will) be free.