Declare Your Independence

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“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” 

― Jim Morrison


As we approach Independence Day (July 4th) in the United States I thought what an opportune time to take a look at declaring your freedom; in fact, to write your own declaration of independence.

First to set the context and to ground your reflection on this, we can look back to our school days when we learned that it was on July 4, 1776 that the second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, claiming legal separation from the British crown. And this set in motion the formal beginning of the American Revolution. It was not, however, until 1783 that the final treaties were ratified.

I’m not suggesting that it will take eight years to finalize or realize your personal independence, but that you need to allow yourself the time to reflect, to question, to think, contemplate and set (or reset) your intentions. From 1776 to 1783 people declared freedom and took action to gain that freedom. This is the moment for you to declare your freedom—freedom from expectations, unhealthy habits, the power brokers, etc. This is the moment to set in motion your freedom to question, to awaken and to be true to yourself.

Every day, every moment brings change. Change is a constant—even when you want to hold onto certain paradigms, circumstances, routines, etc., these things that you hold onto are in a changing and ascending world. One perspective is that by holding on to anything requires you to adapt or change just to hold on. With this, consider that holding on or being resistant to change is blocking your independence. You may be living in other’s expectations, in fear, denial, debt, or unconsciously, and the energy that you use living in this state impedes growth—and ultimately your freedom. man-before-clouds

You may have things in your life that you wish were different. Take the effort to understand them and what you vision for your life.  Remember what you think are problems and that these problems that are holding you down is really a mirror or out-picturing of your thoughts or even misconceptions.

Declaring your independence is about removing the restrictions and limitations you put on yourself, and exercising your universal right to be you—to be happy, content, productive and at peace.

Many struggle today and live in a paradox of saying they want freedom, to be untethered and seek independence but they wait to be told what to do and how to do it, they blame others, they stop to think for themselves or to formulate their own opinions and concepts. In declaring your independence, you take responsibility and ownership.

Let me be clear, freedom should not be just for freedom’s sake. It is what you do with it. It is about challenging your self and valuing growth. Independence and freedom is about choice—and living a fulfilling life. A good question to ask yourself when you are on the path to creating your freedom is what happens when you have it and what’s next.

So on this 4th of July weekend of Independence, celebrate you and take the first steps towards your independence from limitation and oppression. Remind yourself that you have the power and resolve to live consciously.  Declare you freedom!

What do you think—what does freedom mean to you?

Beyond the Horizon

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I recently had a moment that made me think I was somewhere between not looking back and what may be beyond the horizon I saw before me.  Of all places this moment took place in a gym while I was on travel. I was running on a treadmill in a bank of treadmills that were facing an ocean view. Behind me were more cardio and weight machines. As I ran on the treadmill along side my fellow “treadmillers” I was looking straight ahead to the beautiful property in front of me and beyond that to the horizon of where the ocean met the sky.

It was a good run. I felt good. I really was not thinking about or aware of what or who was behind me. I admired the horizon. Then it hit me. Essentially I was running in place. Maybe the distance or miles were accumulating while I ran, but I was not really moving forward. I was looking forward to the horizon but was not really getting closer to it.

So this got me thinking how I could be in complete motion but not advancing or having forward motion. I was intrigued by the horizon and thought what is beyond it, but I was not getting closer to it. horizon

I really don’t feel stuck, but this moment had me reflect on that place in which we sometimes find ourselves. We have let things go. We reduced or stopped our looking back, we see a wonderful horizon in front of us but we are in an interesting state of moving in one place.

Maybe it’s that we need to run in place for a while to contemplate and think about what we want at the horizon or beyond it. Maybe it’s because we are unsure of next steps or tentative about the forward motion that will move us—really move us—closer to that horizon. At times, it could be because we are fearful on what’s beyond that horizon.

I think it’s probably a combination of all of these and we rotate among them depending upon our current state, what’s on our minds and in our thoughts.

It’s good to get to a place where you stop looking over your shoulder or looking back. It is knowing that you truly have had forward motion, have embraced your experiences and have moved on and grown. It’s good to look up and see the space before you, including the horizon. But we have to remind ourselves not to run in place too long. To trust what lies in front of us and step into it with faith and confidence. It’s fine to admire the horizon for a bit, but just as you moved to where you are now you will move toward that horizon—and there will always be horizons in front of you.

So after my run. I left the gym and walked to beach and closer to that horizon.

“Groundhog Day” Syndrome

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“We can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one”

~Paulo Coelho


Many of us have seen the movie “Groundhog Day.” In this movie, Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, an egocentric TV weatherman who, during a hated assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, finds himself repeating the same day over and over again. After indulging in hedonism and numerous suicide attempts, he begins to reexamine his life and priorities—until he breaks the cycle.

In this post, I want to explore two perspectives of what I’ll call the “Groundhog day syndrome.” One is the individual perspective—thinking a bit about how or why you may be experiencing the syndrome and how to get out of the groundhog day cycle. The other is the perspective of when you are pulled into or are part of someone else’s groundhog day—where someone else may be experiencing a cycle of repeats, but you happen to be in their “movie” of repeats.

Your Groundhog Day

Albert Einstein has a well-known statement that says “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Many of us are living out our own Groundhog Day. We keep repeating the same dramas over and over again. We keep confronting the same problems and the same issues in most of the situations we are in, because we don’t really work too hard to reflect, learn and evolve in a timely way.

For some, there is a “comfort” in taking the same actions daily—but yet they will feel frustrated, angry or confused when the results they get are the same. They even may look to blame others or lash out at others. This is where a “time-out” is needed. If you find yourself in this mode of operation, it is time to step out of yourself and observe what you may be thinking and doing and put energy into altering your thoughts, words and actions. Deeply inquire into your life. Only you can make this change and begin to awaken. Cosmic Break

I have talked about this many times but to reiterate not being consciously present means that life will just happen to you. Think about it this way, often we know exactly what situations we are getting into but when the unconscious tendencies kick in, living our lives can become habits. We need to become aware of the unconscious habits that are the undercurrent of our realities—our lives—and see what we can change—our attitudes, our thoughts, what we say and how we say it, what we do and and how we do it. Overall, start to respond to life with all the built-in intelligence and instincts you have. When you arrive at this place, you will see amazing results that are more aligned with your intentions and your being.

Others’ Groundhog Days

It’s safe to say that for most of us we have experienced a scenario that goes like this. You have someone in your life—a loved one, friend, co-worker, etc.—that you encounter frequently and that encounter is often filled with thoughts of “didn’t’ we talk about this already,” “why wasn’t X or Y done yet,” “why isn’t there forward motion or things progressing,” or “I feel like I’m in a Groundhog Day.” But it is not your Groundhod Day. It is the other person’s but you are part of the scene in their life movie.

You may first question yourself as in if there is a lesson you need to learn, something you need to reconcile or make peace with, etc. I have to say, this is not always the case. The other person may need to learn and have the continuous repeats until the learning happens. You just happen to be part of that connected process. Here is where patience is needed. It is quite easy to get frustrated and maybe lose faith in the other person.

The first step is understanding that the other person needs to experience their life lesson, but if you feel that they are not quite moving forward, you may need to share your insight about reflection, letting go and making change. You can help coach them to respond to life instead of just reacting. When you are in another’s Groundhog Day, you need to be mindful of your emotions and energy and be careful to not get overly impacted. Stay grounded and leave yourself some space to breathe and recover.

I hope this provided some perspective that will help you break the Groundhog Day Syndrome, and I invite you to share how you keep from living your life as just a habit.

Everything Can Be an Opportunity

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“When one door is closed, don’t you know, another is open” – Bob Marley


I thought I would touch upon an idea that I feel has helped me evolve and grow more than anything else lately. This is the idea or concept that anything can be an opportunity. An opportunity for what you may ask? Simple, an opportunity to grow as a person faster than you could otherwise. Life is constantly throwing us into different situations and ‘curve balls’ at us so to speak whether they be positive or negative or nuetral. It’s how we react in the moment that matters most which will determine what we make of it.

We’ve talked a lot on this blog about how important it is to be in the moment, and for good reason! It sometimes sounds cliche even, but being present is really a huge key to recognizing things for what they really are when they are happening. Many times things don’t always go as planned and we find ourselves wishing we were elsewhere but where we are for example.  It can be really hard to not just react on auto-pilot, especially in a negative situation.

I find that re-framing what you would normally call a ‘problem’ or ‘challenge’ instead of as an opportunity can help you really take in the reigns of a particular situation you find yourself in and control your emotional state. Controlling your emotions can be easier said than done but is truly the holy grail when it comes to being able to stay calm in the eye of the storm. Allow emotions to wash through you, but don’t get caught up in any one in particular. Seeing the opportunity can help us do just that. open door light

But it’s not just about flipping negative situations and scenarios on their head into opportunities to grow and learn from. Everything can be an opportunity for growth. Sometimes we are just used to acting a certain way all the time out of habit or not taking action at all when we can. Sometimes opportunity can be staring us right in the face and we don’t even notice it or we do but don’t do anything out of fear. If looked at simply as an opportunity to grow and not as something to necessarily get or gain we just might go for it. In this way, failure or rejection don’t hold the meaning they normally do and are no longer relevant.

You end up doing things and acting for the sake of pure experience. There is nothing to get, nothing to gain but you always grow.  Also if you are acting with the intention to give instead, you can take this idea to the next level and you can’t go wrong because you are helping people for the sake of helping people. Truly a win win as they say.

Sometimes we tend to dwell on the past and over-analyze things, situations, relationships etc. I know I have a tendency to do this more often than I’d like to admit. Taken as an opportunity to grow and learn from, it’s never time wasted as some people are led to believe. I can see why the universe put me in that place, scenario or why I met someone for example.

As the Dalai Lama has said, ‘remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.’  Not everything is what it always seems, and in this case we have the power to change any situation we find ourselves in to be one of self-empowerment and growth. It’s just boils down to our perception of it.

Finding Your Voice

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In our world today there is a lot expectation, focus on fitting in, to be productive, to please others, to live a meaningful and impactful life and to find your purpose. This can create tremendous pressure and tension, not to mention distraction. In the midst of all we do everyday living in this paradigm, we can lose our unique voices. We start to use others’ words, concepts or ideas to express ourselves. We emulate others’ lives. We create desire for things or life styles that are not really what we want or even need. We may even follow beliefs that aren’t our own since we stop to question or maybe because it’s easier.

Yes, emulation to a certain degree is not wrong or damaging, since emulation is part of early growth and development. It helps us see what fits for us. It helps us try different personas on for size. But where it can become an issue is when we rely on it or lose the essence of ourselves. In order to find contentment, to live a meaningful live—a life of our soul’s intention—we must find our own voice. Our voices are not manufactured, they are uncovered and discovered.

Think of it from this perspective. The sources of the word “voice” are close to the Latin word vocare, which means to call or invoke. Our unique voice is the thing that is being called out in the midst of our living. One way to look at it is that your voice is the foundation or underlying why of who you are and your passions. sun behind rock

But in today’s world filled with noise and distraction (e.g. ads, television, social media, constant “news,” judgement, criticism, etc.) we sometimes forget about our unique voice. We give up or get lost.

So how do you re-discover your voice?  First, define your voice as not just your vocal sound or original thought. Your voice is your body, your mind, your heart and your soul. They are all connected.

Ask yourself these questions—preferably when you are not distracted or rushed. Have a conversation with yourself about:

  • What are you good at?
  • What do you really love doing?
  • What need can you serve?
  • What do you feel like you should be doing?
  • What one thing in the world would you change?

For most of us the answers will not coming flowing in or come in an amazing “ah-ha” moment. For most of us we may struggle with these questions, and for some, we may initially have an “I don’t know” response. This is OK. Think about it, we have become so conditioned to think and behave in a certain way. We are bombarded with all kinds of messaging. We live in a world of expectation and critical judgement, and have not had this honest conversation with ourselves for a very long time or if at all. Finding your voice is an evolving process, and you need to let that process happen.

For many, they live their lives in a state of quiet desperation—often deferring dreams and using the typical excuses of money or time. A first step to leaving this behind is to accept that you have a unique and special voice and it has infinite possibilities. Spend some time alone. Ease your mind in a few minutes of stillness. Listen to the world around you. What makes you happy, angry, sad, scared, etc. Listen to your emotions. Think about what inspires you and write it down. And always listen to your heart.

Own your platform. Build from where you are. Start from where you are. Do not dwell in the past or worry about the future. Think about what foundation you can build upon to begin affecting the kinds of change you would like to see in yourself and in the world around you.  Start your journey of finding your voice and letting it be heard.