In every thought that we bring forward and action that we take or don’t, we’re ‘serving’ something or someone. To have freedom and it be taken away from you against your will is beyond terrible. To be free and choose to be enslaved by anything is mind-boggling. Yet at some point in time we have all been there. After watching 12 years a slave (and no spoiler alert needed for those who have not seen it), I thought about the ‘masters’ in our everyday life:
As defined by Dear Webster, a slave is a person entirely under the domination of some influence or person and a Master someone having authority over another. Some of us are slaves to a bad attitude, others procrastination, others a ‘rich’ appetite – which does not comprehend “I’m full, time to stop”. There are times we make others our Masters, and times when we choose to be enslaved by being low living dwellers – a place not determined by financial status, but instead a basement mentality which chooses to intentionally not reach for what’s best for you. Comfortable in sitting on your talents and never reaching beyond eye level.
So often we give away our power by simply failing to ever fully realize and function in our freedom. Our fears control us while insecurities own us, and we hook our desires to pursue our dreams on a permission slip from others to be ourselves. When you find yourself constantly needing validation, consultation and direction on what is “okay” for you to do, you have clearly assigned life masters and deemed your own thought process incapable of leading you. Seeking advice and wise counsel is one thing, but being dependent on the constant voice of others can be crippling.
How many among us are controlled by the appearance of things, heightened by social media and the many ways to now enhance ones ‘appearance’ on Facebook, Twitter and the like. We can fall into the trap of starting to believe our own facade of how we wished the things we portrayed were realities in our life. How does that then set us up for success to deal with the reality and not lose focus of our goals? As we’ve often heard: keep it real. No, that does not require you to air all the things not going right, but if you find yourself dodging certain friends and certain conversations because you’re afraid it will be revealed that life is really not that kosher, then be honest with yourself and others. Man, that will set you free! Trust me, no one has the luxury of always enjoying a seamless experience across the board in all areas of life, but there is such richness and beauty in the growth process when honestly embraced.
Next stop, What I like to call The Two ‘E’s: Being driven by our Emotions and our Egos. Emotion says, “I didn’t even let them finish, I had to set them straight,” while Ego its partner never too far behind says “do you know who I am?”, and I ask where does that question come from? I am not asking to infuriate you to the point that you may want to set me straight. But when we ask people if they know who we are or reference that they clearly have no idea who we are, does asking them tell them and what are they supposed to know about us? On another note, do we constantly announce our name, our gender and the core things about ourselves that are simply the facts? Not typically, because we ourselves are pretty confident that those are, well, known. The combination of an emotionally charged and ego infused exchange can be quite the cocktail. As entertaining as it may be when we consider all the scenes, the fragility of life reminds us that each precious moment we’re given is all we have. Do we really want to spend it holding grudges and setting people straight over things that in the end won’t matter? Are you driven to always have the last word, always be right and always win the war? Where has that gotten you and has it made the cost of freedom worth it? Let love in and choose to live freely. When we know better, do better. Choose growth and it will have you laughing out loud at your former ways. – Written and understood by yours truly, a recovered “let me set you straight in an email 2 pages and 6 paragraphs long, indented and spell check applied. No caps, no profanity and nothing bolded”. That’s not something to be proud of. Such a waste of energy and time. Here’s to setting our own selves straight.
Substance abusers grip my heart strings in a special way. To watch someone desire change while in a never ending battle with a stronghold is to watch a recovering drug addict tremble and sob in pain from the idea that their bodies cannot function or live without a drug or an alcoholic giving up their valuables for little to be able to buy another drink. While I don’t know what that experience feels like, sugar is my struggle which I have placed on the same shelf as a substance that people (depending on your weakness) can become addicted to. I’ve walked that walk, and came to the realization that my sugar battle is a lifelong fight. On a good day–no problem. On a not so great one–its easier said than done. The thing I’ve learned though in any struggle is that when you start to believe and function as if you’ve ‘arrived at a destination’ and that’s no longer your struggle, your guard is down and what you were once in a fight with has the potential to creep right back into position. Stay conscious of your weaknesses and know your limits.
Feenin’ for food, alcohol and the next shopping thrill is one thing. Being driven to discover and kept in the loop regarding other peoples business is a different matter altogether. To feel entitled to know the details of another’s plight or great news that they did not feel the need to share with you, is to pound on a closed door to someone’s home and demand entry. When it doesn’t open, you climb through the window on the side. Why must you know so badly? You can still pray for them and send them good thoughts without knowing the details or any of the ‘juicy’ hurtful tidbits. The next time you find yourself in a tizzy because you don’t know something about a situation, remind yourself “this is not my business”. Carry On.
You are so many things to so many people. Always ‘there’ when a friend has a 911 and the cheerleader to all when life demands an extra push. If all your commitments were noted on a calendar it would be full from the 1st of the month till the end. While that is wonderful, where are you on your own schedule? Being at the constant beck and call for others and not carving out 15 minutes for yourself makes you a slave to the calendar of others. Choose ‘you’ more often than not. Feed your dreams and your spirit. Still your mind long enough to hear your own dreams call your name. Run or walk a mile and know that your heart thanks you for showing up to do some cardio. Life does not stop because you did not attend to every emergency or weren’t there to out every fire. When you function from a depleted soul what you deposit in the life of others comes with a silent but hefty price tag of expectation: “I expect you to do for me what I am now doing for you”. We hold others captive by that conditional exchange and call it friendship and love, forgetting that it is what we give freely that comes back to us and in giving from another place we postpone the arrival of our own blessings. When you find yourself announcing the kind deeds you’ve done for others, quickly check yourself on your motive. Be pure in both thought and deed, and be kind…first to yourself, do what you can, give what you can, and when others mirror how you treat yourself you will feel the love and if they happen to not, you won’t even notice or perhaps your perspective will be changed from seeing them through the lense of love…maybe, just maybe, they’re doing the best they can or know how to. Food for thought.
The story. We have all been there. The person who lives in a moment to the extent that they have become the incident(s) in their lives and at any given moment something someone said or did becomes about them. Even the most patient among us will try to stray away from those conversations after a while. It is easier to identify these qualities in someone else as we’re on the receiving end. But let’s do an honesty-check. Have you been draining your conversations as well, by repeating certain stories so often that regardless what the conversation is it ends up being about you? Not only is that not being fair to your friends, that’s not being fair to your future. Time to take your head out from the cloud of your past, and move your thoughts into the present. Live there and move forward, only. Your friends will welcome the change, as will you.
The music is on repeat and the refreshments are stale. This pity party has gone on for way too long. Seasons have changed. You have two choices: continue to dance in a corner mourning what was, or leave the party and rejoin life. Either way nothing is added to your life from dwelling in the season of mourning and lost time is never regained. You’ve told yourself a story so many times that your mind is trained to believe that this is all there is. Correction: That’s all that was. Nothing can erase the events that brought you to this point, but let’s not confuse events during a season in your life with the true story of your life. Well, not if you choose to leave the party any time soon.
Who Runs Your World? CC. Plastic cards have increased their worth by decreasing your net worth. Shopping uncontrollably and becoming enslaved to credit card companies is to give your hard earned cash over to someone you don’t even know, repeatedly. Before your next charge on a credit card think for a second, can you really afford this and even if you can, do you really need it?
The struggle as they say is real, but when the work is done to get to the root of it all nothing compares to the euphoria experienced in deciding to live freely. If you’re still waiting for permission from exterior forces to present freedom “papers” – friend, you’re set free.