I thought this was a nice t-shirt when I bought it.

I believe in living as a free spirit so this was the perfect T.

A free spirit has been defined as a person who lives by their wishes and beliefs and who is unconstrained by society’s rules.

My definition of a free spirit is someone who is powerful, happy and free. Someone who embodies the spiritual, who is full of love and all that colourful loveliness of being alive. Oh, la-di-da!

Pollyanna step aside.

I’ve been kidding myself. I have only dreamed about being a free spirit.

I aspire to live unconstrained by society’s conventions because I want to hide in my safe little box. I’m afraid (no, I BELIEVE) I’m not good enough to belong anywhere!

This is a pattern I’ve lived with for most of my life, and I’ve kept my spirit contained because of it. Sad!

In grade seven I was ostracized by a group of girls. We would stand in a circle at recess and talk. Well, most of us talked. I just listened. I was very shy, afraid to talk and afraid to be seen.

One day, one of the girls approached me and told me they didn’t want me hanging around with them anymore. I was devastated and spent the next five years in school looking for some sign that anyone might like me, that I belonged and that someone wanted to be my friend. I wanted an invitation.

I suffered in silence. The only person I spoke to about this was my mother, and that was only because she saw me running from the school bus one afternoon in tears. I ran straight to my room and she followed.

“Nobody likes me,” I sobbed in answer to her concerned inquiry. I can’t remember what her response was. I just remember sobbing uncontrollably and she eventually left without a word.

I went to therapy to heal this wound but the pain never went away. Why? I kept making those girls responsible for my pain. A part of me still wanted to believe they were insensitive cruel bitches (that felt good!), but I know now as an adult that kids will be kids.

The reality was that I was already in pain before being ostracized. I believed then that I didn’t belong and I didn’t have anything to offer. That was why I stood in silence in that circle during recess. In a sense I was using them to keep up an appearance. Why shouldn’t they kick me out? I was their weakest link.

What happened was only a reflection of my belief system. Thinking back, I didn’t dispute this with those girls. I accepted that there was something wrong with me and continued to live my life in a box, afraid to be seen.

So how can I free my spirit?

Somehow I don’t think that ripping this t-shirt off while walking along a busy downtown sidewalk is the answer.

I’m still learning that living as a free spirit doesn’t require an invitation from anyone but myself. It needs to be exercised and that will not happen while living in a box. And, there is no la-di-da here either.

These are 10 actions I believe will exercise the spirit into remembering the freedom that is its birthright.

  • Take the self and everyone else less seriously.
  • Make rules and then break them.
  • Make lots of mistakes; laugh at and learn from them.
  • Stop trying to have everyone else conform to my rules.
  • Give other people permission to be themselves and make their own mistakes.
  • Respond, don’t react.
  • Let creativity speak and listen to it; practice what inspires you because that strengthens the spirit.
  • Get out of the head and follow the heart more; practice to learn the difference.
  • Envision myself as already living as a free spirit.
  • Take my place in the circle; recognize that I have gifts to share and just share them!

I will leave you with this quote that a friend shared with me just today. “Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

As for that box I mentioned, are you in or out? How has this affected your life?

Please share your comments below and if you enjoyed this article don’t forget to subscribe to my feed. My next post is entitled “Creative Luny Landing in the Sand”.

Photo Credit: Davina Haisell

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