Practicing for Independence & Liberation

It's time that we drop the chains and fly! Read on to consider what that could look like for you.

Happy Independence Week!

I write to you sitting in the Charleston airport, heading off to California to see a good friend from my Peace Corps days in Salinas and then taking an all-day train to see friends from other walks of life in Los Angelos. Getting in my *much appreciated* solo travel on this Independence weekend makes me ponder my own sense of INDEPENDENCE – what it means for me and how I practice maintaining it.

Since I was a kid traveling with my family, I loved to express my sense of independence by wondering off to see what was around the corner. One time while scuba diving, my friend and I literally swam after 2 nurse sharks “to see where they were going”…yes, we rightfully got in HUGE trouble! My first time traveling solo was junior year of college, when I went off to Barcelona for a 5 month Study Abroad program – without knowing a single soul. Then there was Peace Corps in the Philippines for a 2.5 year stretch shortly after. I presently aim to travel somewhere solo once a year.

There’s something so absolutely LIBERATING about traveling alone. Much like my sacred mat time, there is the feeling that I can show up *exactly as I am*. I can be my quiet, reflective, observant self. Or I can be my social butterfly self, making friends with all the lovely people around me. I can be “socially normal” or say whatever outlandish things come to mind. And since no one knows me, there are no expectations of what will come from me. That said, it’s a wonderful practice of AUTHENTICITY and an opportunity to get to know the layers within myself. 

And what a wonderful time to be practicing all of these themes, the week that our country found it’s own independence from Great Britain about 250 years ago! We as a country pride ourselves on *INDEPENDENCE* and yet there are so many of us that are not actually free (from doubt, judgment, anger, regret, etc.etc.etc). And these self inflicting chains will keep us locked up in so many situations that further pin us down such as stagnant or unhealthy relationships, dead-end jobs, living a life expected by family or society but not fitting to the SPIRIT.

Siddhartha Guatama (Buddha) speaks on this, teaching that “no one outside ourselves can rule us inwardly. When we know this, we become free”.

Thich Nhat Hanh takes it further with: “letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free”. 

I share a part of my personal story along with these Buddhist quotes to encourage you to also reflect. In what experiences do you feel your most INDEPENDENT, AUTHENTIC, & LIBERATED self? What does it look, feel, sound, smell and taste like when you’re in that state? And what needs to happen so that you can do more of those things, be that version of yourself more often than not? These are wonderful journal prompts – I bet you’ll find that it’s more attainable that you often give your life credit for.

Practice finding your sense of FREEDOM with Eagle Pose

To do this, find chair pose with both knees bent, feet hip distance. Wrap your right leg over your left and then bring the right arm under your left. You can wrap your arms all the way around each other and bring your hands together like in the picture or just wrap your arms around your shoulders as if you’re hugging yourself.

Now that you’re there, take a few big breaths in and out. Even though you’re physically tied up in knots and maybe a little wobbly standing on that one foot, can you find a sense of FREEDOM within your mind – as if you’re soaring peacefully through the sky like a wide-winged eagle?

Then switch sides, notice the difference in body, mind, and spirit, and LET YOURSELF BE FREE.

Share Post:
It's time that we drop the chains and fly! Read on to consider what that could look like for you.

More From The Blog

Lessons With The Wind

Finding oneness with self, my fellow sisters, and nature’s elements on a Healer’s Retreat in Bacalar Lagoon, Mexico.

2023 Year in Review for FIY

It was a big year! And in order to continue moving forward, I always find it helpful to look back to see what went well