“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you”

“Follow your bliss”

Joseph Campbell

I believe that each of us has an obligation to make the most of the freedom we are lucky enough to enjoy – to use it to improve ourselves, to learn, to pass on what we learn to others, and to help others “follow their bliss” and achieve their own freedom.

Usually that freedom is thought of as fairly one-dimensional: the freedom to do whatever it is that we want to do, wherever and whenever we want to do it. However, in order to be “free to” do what we want, we must first get ourselves “free from” those things that are taking up our time right now and preventing us from doing those things we want to do.

In each of the Five Freedoms (physical, mental, social, spiritual, and financial) there are things we need to be free from in order to be free to do the things we want and need to do to fully express our desires and talents and make the greatest contribution to the development of ourselves and others. For example, in the area of physical freedom, we need first to free ourselves from those activities which are detrimental to our physical well-being (e.g., smoking, drinking, eating unhealthy foods) before we can do those things which promote our physical well-being (e.g., exercising on a regular basis, eating healthy foods, getting a good night’s sleep).

I’ve found it helpful to write down the things I want to be free from and the things I want to be free to do in a simple chart so that I can refer to it on a regular basis and remind myself of what I want to remove and what I want to add to my life. Here’s a sample chart that I’ve filled in for myself:

I’m continually updating this chart, probably once a month or so, as I make progress or as I realize I haven’t been as honest with myself as I should be. It requires a great deal of transparency and a willingness to tell yourself the truth about what you really want, and don’t want, in  your life in order for this exercise to be useful – the more honest and open you are with yourself, the more you’ll find that this exercise can make a real difference in your life.

Feel free to copy this template, or create your own, and start today to think about what you need to be free from in order to be free to have the life you want.

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