Restraint isn’t always restrictive


This week starts the 10th week of me going alcohol-free.

I didn’t plan to quit drinking alcohol. It started one Sunday morning when I grew tired of sleepless nights and scattered thoughts. Initially, I intended to take just a week off, which extended to two, then four weeks, and now here I am, approaching ten weeks alcohol-free.

I feel fantastic. Physically yes, but more so mentallly and emotionally. I am clearer of thought, can remember my dreams (which are such a gift), and I can also deal with emotional situations as they arise, with a sense of calmness & clarity.

But what's astounded me the most is the amount of freedom I feel. Freedom from having to make a decision of whether or not I’m going to have a glass of wine with my dinner. The unconscious and countless small niggles which used to pop up in my mind almost daily as to whether or not, ‘tonight was a good night to indulge in a glass of wine’.

Having made this decision, I’m freer to consider other more important things. more important things. And I can’t help but consider how when a choice is made, how the simple act of deciding, frees up your mind to focus on other things. JumpCut to other examples of life’s various activities, can we free ourselves from the mindless chitter chatter by simply making a choice in advance and then seeing it out?

What else do we mindlessly and unconsciously think about during the day?

And what sort of freedom would we experience if we make a choice  or an unfaltering commitment to a particular ideology?

Freedom of mind is a gift, and by being able to hear and follow the nudges and whims that are intuitively placed in your hands by your Soul, you will be led towards your freedom. That’s to say that the moment you surrender to your soul’s wisdom, is when you’ll find your own sense of liberation.

But how do you hear your soul speak? How do you know if the nudges you’re hearing are in fact, the wisdom of your soul?  Well, I often find that the wisdom is usually delivered to you in what you think are random thoughts & feelings, and then your mind will try and change it to suit it’s egoic needs.

Let’s say for example, that your soul asks you to start moving your body daily. It's trying to liberate you from the stagnancy which you’ve been living in lately. You know deep down that you desperately need for something to change in your life. And you've been asking for guidance as to what needs to change, and then this. Your soul whispers in your ear, and says ‘hey, why don’t you wake up tomorrow morning, and move that body of yours babe?’.

It sounds good in theory, but you know it’s going to be cold. And you know that you’re not a morning person, so you instantly dismiss the idea. Your mind / ego has gotten in the way of what your soul is requesting of you.

And here’s the prison of your mind at work - you dwell on whether you should, (or if the time has passed and you didn’t), how you should have, woken up early and moved your body. “I should have’. ‘Why didn’t i’? ‘I’ll start tomorrow’.

And then tomorrow comes; and the saga continues.

My point isn’t so much about getting up and moving your body (although that’s important in any story, but we'll save that for another time);  It's more about the brain space you’ve wasted in planning for the event, dismissing and or ignoring the event, and then begrudgingly cursing yourself for not doing said event; and then somewhat planning to do that all over again.

B R A I N S P A C E.

How much freedom could you gain from making a decision and then seeing it through? Either that, or if you dismiss the thing, or choose differently in the moment, let it go right there and then, and don’t think about it again. Don't plan. Don’t justify. Don’t try and do anything about it. Decision made, done and dusted.

Capice?

There are moments of expansion that are uncomfortable, and in those moments, you have the power to choose. Sometimes, you’ll make decisions that are in alignment with your Truth, and then there are moments when you’re not so woke, and it’s in those moments, that you can call on self-compassion, and the art of moving on.

This is why I find so much freedom in restraint. So much space in decisions. So much spontaneity in discipline.

There are things that I do nowadays which are routine for me. Things that I don’t have to think about at the time, this gives me the freedom to just get up and go.

Examples include: setting my wake-up and bedtime routines, laying out my clothes the night before to eliminate morning decisions, planning my yoga practice ahead of time before rolling out my mat, and confirming calendar appointments at least 24 hours in advance of any event. These simple decisions allow me the freedom to navigate my day smoothly and adjust as needed without unnecessary stress or last-minute decisions.

These seemingly small decisions, having been made before the time, allow me the freedom to flow throughout my day and my life. It allows me the freedom to pivot and change on the spot if I need to, and if I’m feeling out of sorts, or I’ve had a bad night’s rest, there aren’t any blocks to me crawling onto my mat in the morning. It’s all laid out and decided upon before-hand.

FREEDOM.

Boundaries and parameters around what time I look at my phone?  What time do I clock off from work? How often do I check my emails / social media? All of these elements and aspects, can fog the mind and cloud our decision-making skills (if we allow them to). Why not make and set some boundaries? Decisions ahead of time.

To embody the sacred takes courage of the heart. Listen in to what your heart and soul are calling you to do. Who they’re asking you to become, and play an active part in your becoming. Stay true to your commitments, and devote yourself to freeing up some space in your mind. Allow your greatness to flow through you without the 'shoulds & musts'. Settle into the freedom from obligation. Allow yourself to BE, and give yourself the space to create.

It’s often the simplest things that make the most profound difference to our lives. You don’t have to perform grandiose tricks to bring the light in. Small acts of devotion will do. Start small, and add as you go along. This tones your nervous system little bit by little bit. And in this way, there’s no need to shock the system by making big-huge decisions that will only create distortion in your life. Make the decisions as you're ready to. Organically feeling into their essence, and then committing to going along for the ride.

Being open to the full experience of whatever that decision brings. Fear. Resentment. Anger. Resistance.

Feel it all, and then notice how you react to it.

Is your pattern to pull back and negotiate or justify the reasons why you’re choosing different? Do you talk yourself out of said decision? Or do you plough forth, come hell or high water? Inquire into the reasons why you react and respond the way you do. If it’s a lifelong pattern of you reacting this way, you have the opportunity to ask yourself whether this way of being is serving you? And then if not, to change it and to choose differently.

Sometimes, we learn the most when we’re living it, more than what we can read in a book. Make your life an experiment. And give yourself the space to truly know yourself. Not just your habits, likes and dislikes, but the way you optimally function. What decisions can you make today that will serve your tomorrow? And how do you handle your mind once that decision is made? How can you find freedom in restraint?

What does devotion look and feel like to you? And have you experimented with it in a visceral way?

Take your journal out right now, and write down at least five menial tasks which you’re constantly throwing around inside your head, and choose ONE or TWO to commit to. Commit to practicing this new way for one week only, and notice the difference in your life.. And then if you feel the freedom of having made these decisions, then you can start adding more to your list. Notice the cascade of events as they occur from freeing up your mind.

This requires a willingness to try new things. An openness to self-compassion (if or when you trip-up), a curiosity to approaching a new way of being, and a deeper understanding of Self.

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