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Stop the Struggle in Your Life - 4 Steps to Freedom

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Have you ever collapsed into your bed at the end of a hectic day and asked yourself, "What happened today? What am I doing? Is this my life?" Not getting an answer to this rhetorical question, you probably repeated your same hectic schedule the next day.

The answer that you may have been seeking was given to us by Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said, "Listen greatly unto yourself." By that he meant, the inner you is trying to tell you something; it is trying to tell you that you are "missing" your life. Even though there are things that you need to get done, in order to provide for yourself and your family, the question is how much is your hectic lifestyle costing you, your family, friends, and even your co-workers?

Dr. Abraham Maslow, the founder of Humanistic Psychology, once wrote, "The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness." Most of us do not live in the present moment - or even occasionally visit it - because we are rushing about trying to do all the things that society says that we must do, in order to stay or get ahead. These "things" are like bait that society and our peers use to lure us into situations that ultimately create uncertainty, stress, and suffering and - like a fish caught on a hook - we struggle for freedom.

Here are a few steps to help you shun the bait, escape the "hook of struggle" and return to freedom:

1) See Your Inner Beauty: Helen Keller wrote, "The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart." While your skills make you a unique person, it's your inner being that makes you beautiful.

Take a moment to recognize your inner beauty - compassion, flexibility, patience, tolerance, etc. Should you inwardly feel that one of those attributes needs to be improved, don't get down on yourself. Instead, view the needed improvement as a way to grow and expand your inner beauty. Try to include that growth in your activities throughout your day.

2) Consider Your Actions: Before rushing about, decide if what you feel you "need to do" will bring you peace or conflict. True, you have obligations, but how many of those are self-imposed? One of the greatest fears people have is the fear of being nothing. So they attach themselves to the idea of the masses that if you appear to be busy, then you must be doing something - and therefore you are "somebody." You are "somebody" whether or not you are doing something. Through the consideration of what you "really" need to do -as opposed to what others think you should be doing - you free yourself from the struggle of the masses - and then each action you take has strength and power.

3) Watch for Awesome Moments: Allow yourself the time to experience "awesome moments." Awesome moments are natural occurrences of beauty and wonder that happen in an instant and can never be repeated - watching a squirrel frolic on the ground or that a hummingbird flying by your window; noticing the rain falling on your car window; witnessing the brilliant colors of an evening's sunset. These awesome moments reconnect us with the wonder of life and aid in re-centering ourselves. Awesome moments have no goal or result - they just are.

4) Shun the Bait: The entrepreneur Russell Simmons said, "If I know 15 billionaires, I know 13 unhappy people." These billionaires are unhappy because what they thought would bring them peace and happiness - success, power and fame - instead, delivered the opposite.

The truth is that most people really don't crave wealth or power or fame. They desire what they feel these things can provide, which is peace and happiness - yet it rarely does. As the author Stuart Wilde wrote, "No amount of success can make you comfortable, if you are uncomfortable with yourself." Many fall prey to the false lure of success, power and fame, which they mistakenly assume will bring them peace and happiness. They take the bait and, instead of finding peace and happiness, they find themselves being whisked away and thrown into the boat of fear, stress, and worry.

As the English poet John Dryden stated, "Better shun the bait, than struggle in the snare." However, it's not easy, because society, peer pressure, and the desire for more makes the bait of success, power and fame irresistible. Even the most wise can find themselves taking the bait.

However, a wise person knows that - like some fish which after having been caught, jump out of the boat and return to freedom - they, too, can return to freedom. The route to freedom comes by rediscovering your inner beauty, considering your actions and taking the time to acknowledge and experience awesome moments. True freedom comes when you shun the bait and escape the hook of what others view as bringing peace and happiness and, instead, discover for yourself what delivers those attributes.

Freedom is about ceasing the struggle in your life.

© 2011 Bob Garner. All Rights Reserved.
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