One of the important teachers in my life was my 89 year old friend Reuben. Spending time with him was like being in a school of the Spirit - really learning the true meaning of our journey here. One of the things that Reuben would always do is point out when he saw that someone had a "free spirit" - what he saw in this person was aliveness, vitality, warmth, openness, a twinkle in their eye - their energy open and accessible - you felt drawn to connect with them.
Can you think of people you know that you feel that their Spirit is free? They are open, they exude warmth and vitality, and they generally are laughing or smiling and are very relaxed, peaceful. Generally these people are memorable because, unfortunately in our culture today, there are few people who are experiencing this kind of freedom of the Spirit. So many people are locked in fear and attempts to control themselves, others and the outcome of events. One cannot feel this freedom of Spirit and be in a state of trying to control something at the same time. So the first guideline in Freeing Your Spirit is:
1. Let Go of Control
In this moment, are you attempting to control something - check in and see. If your body is feeling tense and your breathing is shallow you are probably trying to control something - you may not even be conscious of what you are trying to control but your body is giving you feedback that you indeed are trying to control. When we are in a state of Freedom of the Spirit our bodies feel light and relaxed. If you worrying, then you are attempting to control by the worry. The belief is "If I worry enough about something I will be able to figure out a way to prevent something bad from happening."
As you may guess, Reuben was so in tune and aware of people who had a free spirit because he himself had a free spirit. I can't recall anytime that I saw him worry about anything, even though he had health issues - things that we would normally "worry" about. Anytime that I brought up a concern of mine about my own life he would say "Honey, let's pray about it" and he would hold my hands and he would say a brief prayer and we would quickly get back to visiting and laughing together. It was a true turning over the concern to the hands of the Divine - fully trusting that Spirit would handle the situation. I have a quotation in my kitchen that I had gotten from Reuben who had this posted in his home "Good Morning this is God. I will be handling all of your problems today. I will not need your help. So, relax. Have a terrific day!" How do you feel when you read this? Does your body relax and you feel relief or are you like my electrician, Joe, who said when he read this "Yeah right, I'm just going to sit at home and not do anything and God will handle everything." Joe's comment reflects an all or nothing attitude towards Spirit - either I need to do it all on my own or if I open to Divine assistance I can let go and not do anything. Remember the phrase "Spirit helps those who help themselves". In the case of Reuben, he took very good care of himself physically and did all that he could to address his health issues - and then from that point he let go to Spirit his health concerns.He did not allow himself to indulge in worry, fear and control over the situation (which by the way would have negatively affected his health). Whatever your concern, do what you can to address it and than let it go into the hands of Spirit. Trust that whatever the outcome it will be in your highest good.
The other benefit of letting go is you give room for Spirit to work in your life. If you are trying to do it all on your own and micromanage every detail there is no room for Spirit to enter. Notice if you tend to do this and consciously let go and back off from "overdoing" and see the magic of Spirit happen in your life. You won't experience this if you never let go. Once you experience the support of Spirit it will be easier to let go the next time. Let go and let the magic begin!
2. Move from thoughts of Fear to thoughts of Faith
Thoughts of faith and trust are true thoughts connected to your true nature - which is Spirit. You are a Spirit living in an earthly body. Fear thoughts are generated by the ego/false self and have no basis in reality. They are generally thoughts of projected fears of the future or fears from false/limiting beliefs handed down from the family system. People often buy into these thoughts - begin to react to them and then think they are true. So often we can terrify ourselves with these kinds of thoughts. Choosing to be in faith and trust is a choice - it does not happen automatically. Moment by moment ask yourself, is this thought one of faith or one of fear? An example of a fear thought vs. a thought of faith - "I can't achieve my dream, I don't have what it takes" (fear thought) vs. "I can do anything I can dream of - the world is full of infinite possibilities." (faith thought).
Faith thoughts are light and expansive - and have that same effect on the body. Fear thoughts are heavy and constrictive - creating tension in the body. So you can observe which kind of thoughts you are entertaining throughout the day - ones of fear or faith. If you identify a fear thought just say to yourself "This is not true" and switch to a faith thought - like switching a channel. The good thing about practicing this thought switching is that each time you switch from fear to faith, you are actually building neuropathways that support these positive thoughts, which make it easier to shift into these thoughts in the future. The more you are able to NOT go into the fears and negative thoughts, the more you help to extinguish the neuropathways that reinforce these thought patterns. By not reinforcing them, their strength is lessened, making it easier to avert getting pulled into this fear and negativity in the future. (This idea was illustrated in the movie "What the Bleep!?") Keeping your focus on thoughts of faith and trust will free your Spirit and make it easier and easier to stay in that space in the future.
3. Move your Body, Free Your Spirit
Fear thoughts can be so entrenched, especially if those neuropathways are well established, that initially attempting to shift the thoughts to faith can be challenging. So then it's time to move your body. Walk, or one of my favorites is dancing. Anything to move the stuck energy through your body. You see the negative thought patterns actually energetically clog your energy system and it is difficult to shift to the lighter, higher frequency thoughts with the lower, dense energy of the fear pulling your energy down. When you feel "stuck" it is literally because your energy is stuck, clogged in your body from your negative thought patterns. What can be helpful is to move this energy through so you can open up to the lighter, positive thoughts of faith. Any kind of movement - walking, running, dancing and other forms of exercise will help this congested energy release. Breathwork(deep diaphragmatic breathing), singing, chanting and laughing are also ways to move this energy through. I work as a holistic psychotherapist and often I will have my clients dance before we begin the session to help this stuck energy move through so they can be more open and receptive to the lighter, positive thoughts that bring healing and insight. One great way to move the stuck energy through is to dance to your favorite uplifting music - this helps move the stuck energy through and because you love the music it automatically shifts you into a positive state. I literally do this a few times a day to keep myself in a positive, high energy state. One other benefit of moving your body is it gets you out of your head and more into your body. Your Spirit is housed in your body and it is important to feel all of the sensations of your body. This allows you a deeper experience of your Spirit.
4. Practice being in a "Free Spirit" state
We all have had experiences of feeling our true self, our Spirit fully expressing itself in the world, not holding anything back - the love in our hearts flowing out. This sense of freedom, joy, lightness, and openness is our natural state of being, so if you are not feeling this very often then it is safe to say that you had a lid on your true self, your Spirit. It is being confined and held back. It takes a lot of energy to suppress the enormous energy and vitality that is in your Spirit. Often people put the lid on so long ago they forgot what it feels like to have the lid off - to be in full connection with their Spirit. What can be helpful is to begin to practice being in this state again. It may feel foreign or uncomfortable but it will be the most important journey you will take - the journey back to your Spirit. Spending time with people who have a Free Spirit can be contagious and supportive of you becoming more free. I spent a lot of time with Reuben because he was so free and open - it was amazing to be with him. People were drawn to him. People were changed by spending time with him because of his Spirit being so fully expressed. He was my "Free Spirit" mentor. People with Free Spirits love to laugh and play together, so find others to explore this with. Go to environments where you can practice taking risks in being more open - a support group or an Inner Bonding Intensive. I facilitate "Free Your Spirit" workshops. This is an environment where you can practice freeing and fully expressing your Spirit, surrounded and supported by other people on the same journey. It is a very fun and inspirational experience, and what I find is the more people practice and place themselves in these kinds of environments the easier it becomes until being a "Free Spirit" becomes your natural state - which it truly is!
Shelley Riutta MSE, LPC is a holistic psychotherapist in private practice specializing in Inner Bonding, Life Purpose Direction, and Techniques that move people quickly into more Joy/Passion/Freedom. She has been supporting people's light and passion to shine since 1994. For more information call Shelley at 920-265-2627 or email her at SRiutta@msn.com.