How free do you feel in this moment? Are you available and appreciating what is? Or do you find yourself in tension and resistance, burdened by life and wishing things were different than they are?
For us men, freedom is at the core of so much of what we value and strive for. The lack of it can be one of the greatest sources of pain in our lives, and can cause us to feel quite alone.
Often we will fall prey to one of the greatest myths about freedom – the belief that we’ll finally get it when something happens in our external world, examples including:
- Getting a raise
- Losing 20 pounds
- Finishing a to-do list
- Paying off debt
- Finding “true love”
- Breaking a personal record in fitness
- Traveling the world
Those are just some examples, and I’m sure if you take a minute right now to think about your own life you could probably list at least a few of beliefs like this of your own. “I’ll finally be happy when” or “Once I X, then I’ll…”, or however you phrase these ideas in your mind.
Talk to any star athlete, artist, business executive, or high achiever in any arena, however, and you may be shocked to find out that no matter how great the success, it rarely actually brings the relief being sought after.
I like to call this the “receive or achieve” myth of freedom and it always lives somewhere off in the future.
The freedom I want to talk about today, however, is totally different. This type of freedom comes from within, and is something we actually “generate and create” moment to moment in our lives. In fact, it’s just another expression of another term I talk about a lot in the men’s work I do: presence (video, webinar).
This moment to moment freedom is something we can cultivate as men by doing our work, meaning putting in the time and effort to make our physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies as whole and healed as possible. The more we cultivate it, the more we’re able to relate to any given moment rather than being stuck trying to control it. Usually when we’re trying to control a moment, we’re actually resisting it in some fashion or another, not fully comfortable or present with how it’s unfolding.
And here’s the deal, when we’re resisting the moment, others around us can feel it, whether that resistance is showing up as control, tightness, avoidance, sharpness, anxiety, or dissociation. You can probably think of some experiences right now where you could feel someone else’s lack of freedom in the moment, and remember how it didn’t feel very good to be around.
The good news is, however, that the opposite is also true. People around us can feel our freedom– and are energetically able to sense how open and present in the moment we are. Freedom is infectious, as when we’re around it we start to feel it more in ourselves, and naturally feel drawn towards it. Quite simply, freedom is magnetic. People want to be around freedom – it’s that powerful.
As I’ve mentioned before, presence and freedom can be cultivated by both yogic and therapeutic routes. On the therapeutic side, one of the most powerful ways I’ve both experienced first hand, and now facilitate with others, is through shadow work. Shadow work is a broad term that can cover a lot of different techniques and modalities, but ultimately is about us clearing out anything in our body, mind, and soul that isn’t free and isn’t present. Often these are older wounds, traumas, and moments from the past that were too overwhelming for our nervous systems to process in the past. Shadow work allows us to bring light, space, and yes freedom to these stuck parts of ourselves, liberating us to be more fully available in any given moment.
The more we do this work, the freer and more magnetic we become to those around us – be they strangers, coworkers, children, intimate partners, or friends. Our freedom is one of the greatest offerings we can make to the world.
If you’re ready for more freedom in your life, I have a few offerings that can help:
- A Shadow Breakthrough Weekend for Men coming up in Los Angeles.
- My Men’s Group Facilitator Training for men ready to step into leadership.
- For men wanting to have deeper relationships with women, the signature program I co-lead along with men’s dating coach Melanie Curtin called Pillars of Presence.