Teaching and Giving Freedom

Some of our most rewarding moments can be teaching another person a skill so that they feel more able to create their own life and be free.  Here’s a poem on this subject:

GEOMETRY AND YOUR BIRTHDAY

In the season

Of your fifteenth year

We often start out

Moving in different directions

Along tangents off the circle

Of our commitments

Only to return

By radial routes

To the center

And one accord.

 

Dr. Jerome Freeman, who is my father, and whose birthday coincidently happens to be today, wrote this poem when both he and I were some years younger.

Think of the teachers you most appreciated.  At the time, they may have taught you very challenging material.  And if you are anything like me, you may have gotten frustrated because the material was so difficult. But once you learned these skills, you enjoyed a new sense of accomplishment and a new sense of freedom.  You enjoyed more freedom to “mov[e] in different directions” because of what you had learned.

Around the time of my fifteenth year, my father was teaching me how to drive.  This wasn’t an easy task because while I very much wanted the freedom of knowing how to drive, part of me was convinced that I would never be a good driver.  So that part of me that lacked confidence drove my dad and myself on many a hair-raising adventure.  But my dad was a great teacher who had confidence that I could learn to drive safely.  When I grew frustrated and wanted to give up, my dad’s confidence helped me get back in the driver’s seat.  Eventually and without major mishap, I learned to drive.  Driving has been a crucial to my daily life ever since.

My dad taught me how to drive and then gave me the freedom to choose where I drove.  This is a true gift from a very gifted man.

I realize now that because of my father’s commitment and love in teaching me how to drive, I could actually, at this point in my life, teach a teenager how to drive and then give him or her the freedom to drive where they wanted.

Maybe this is what it is like to come totally into “one accord” with our teachers; to have learned well, savored our freedom and progressed to the point where we are capable of passing our learning and freedom on to others.

*Something At Last: Dakota Poetry and Sketches  Poems by Jerome Freeman, Sketches by Jean Bailey, Pine Hill Press,  1993

Game of the Day

  1. Who have been the great teachers in your life?  What did they teach you?  How did they give you freedom to go in your own direction with what you learned from them?
  2. Wouldn’t it be nice to let at least one of them know the impact they have had on your life?
  3. What do you most want to teach others that you have learned from your teachers?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

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What Do You Get When You Combine…

the best of your childhood with the best of your adulthood?

Answer— You get the life you can live TODAY with no one telling you when to go to bed or to eat all the food on your plate.

Are you with me?  Now ask yourself these fun questions:

What did you enjoy most about being a kid?

What activities and games did you find the most fun?

(Luckily, toy stores don’t ID and refuse to sell Legos to anyone over 18.)

If you were anything like me as a kid, besides having a great time playing, you also dreamed of being big, being grown-up, being able to drive a car, being able to stay up late.

As kids, we dreamed of all the freedom we have today.

Now that we have all of this freedom, let’s remember what we loved about being kids and recombine it into our lives.

I’ve heard of research studies that have concluded that children laugh much more than adults.  My fellow adults, there’s nothing saying that we can’t catch-up and match our wonderful kids laugh for laugh.

We had a certain wisdom, and joy and wonder when we were kids, which means we can seek to recall it and employ it in our grown-up years.

Now we would do well to remember to maintain the best of our adulthood too, the freedom, the ability to be responsible, all of our grown-up wisdom and knowledge.

We could call this playful combination of the best of our childhood and the best of our adulthood, our CHOICEHOOD because we are free to choose to live it.

May we all live our CHOICEHOOD to the fullest and savor every minute of it.  Yay!

Game of the Day

How can you combine the best of your childhood with the best of your adulthood to have a truly fantastic CHOICEHOOD?

 

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Creating Freedom For Yourself When You Are Offered Advice

Can you relate to this?  Sometimes even if advice is offered in a kind and supportive tone, I notice that I immediately don’t want to take the advice simply because I don’t want to give the person who offered it to me a chance to be right.  At these times, I definitely don’t want to admit that they know more about a subject than I do.

And my desire not to take another’s advice is much, much stronger if the advice is given to me in a stressed or angry tone.

I notice that these reactions have little to do with the actual value of the advice I am being offered or the impact that it could have on my life if I implemented it.

When did this resistance to taking advice set in?  When we were kids in grade school, we took a great deal of advice as we learned to read and write. There were countless decisions on how to pronounce and spell words that needed to be made.  And we needed our teachers’ expert counsel to make them.  Think how our lives would be if we hadn’t taken any of this advice?

Our immediate reactions of not wanting to take advice are helpful in that they remind us that we are free not to take another’s advice.

If we ultimately have complete freedom not to take another’s advice, wouldn’t it also be useful to give ourselves complete freedom to choose to take advice, if it is useful to us, no matter who offers it or what tone it is offered in?

It occurs to me that we can create a way of separating advice from the person who offers it and then at our leisure deciding whether or not we want to implement the advice into our lives.

So I’m going to give some advice on creating freedom around deciding whether or not to take advice.  (Please remember that I’m typing this advice in a very kind and supportive manner:)

When someone gives you advice and you immediately feel yourself resisting it because of the tone or the manner of the person giving it, simply remember the advice and write it down as soon as possible.  After doing this, just leave the piece of paper somewhere where you can find it and let your feelings about the person’s tone or manner totally dissipate.

Once your feelings about how the advice was given to you have dissipated, go back to the piece of paper and consider just the words on that piece of paper, as if you are reading it out of a book written by an author who you have never personally met.  After reading the advice from this perspective, consider whether or not the advice is useful to you and something that you want to incorporate into your life.

Game of the Day

What will you do to create freedom for yourself the next time you are offered advice?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Believe In a Key To Your Freedom

Is there an activity that is the key to your freedom?

I pose this question because I notice that every time I go to yoga, I free myself from a physical circumstance I once described as a disability.

Not only did I describe my coordination uniqueness as a disability, I believed to my core that I was a VICTIM of my disability.  To me my physical disability was an unchangeable FACT, just like there’s sky above my head.

It’s very human to believe that we are the victims of our limitations or circumstances because they can seem so permanent and insurmountable.  However, it is our BELIEF that our limitations are permanent that holds us captive, not the circumstances themselves. 

No government or judge or prison guard can set us free from circumstances that we determine that we are captive to.

Yet with every prison cell, comes a key to open it. 

A person is not obligated to find the key to his or her freedom.  I was living a fine and productive life when I was certain that I was disabled.

At the same time finding the key (or more likely keys) that free us from our limitations can be an amazing adventure.

Game of the Day

How are you finding the keys to your freedom?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Dealing With the Vastness of Our Lives

Last week, I was walking on my favorite San Diego beach.  The tide was very low, so I discovered many large shells.  I called them clamshells, because I had no idea about the nuances of which creatures had inhabited which type of shell.

Then I began thinking about the tropical fish in the ocean.

The Pacific Ocean is vast beyond imagination.  Tropical fish and clams deal with this vastness in far different ways.  The tropical fish swim about and reveal their beauty and grace to the world, while the clam hunkers in its shell.

Notice the range of motion a tropical fish has compared to a clam.  A clam is constrained by its solid walls of protection.  A tropical fish enjoys a freedom of movement that is impossible for a clam to realize.

It occurred to me that as humans we have the capacity to act like tropical fish in some parts of our lives and clams in other parts of our lives.

Furthermore, I started to realize that when I paid attention to my thoughts some of my thoughts were Clam Thoughts and some were Tropical Fish thoughts.

The same went for my actions.  Some of my actions were Clam Actions and some were Tropical Fish actions.

For example, I like to type my blogs in the upbeat, social atmosphere of coffee shops.  But sometimes, I let my Clam Thought that I won’t find a table with a near-by outlet; create my Clam Action of staying home.  My choice to act on my Clam Thought keeps me in the shell of my apartment, instead of enabling me to “swim” in a public space.

A Tropical Fish thought on this same subject might be, “I’ll simply drive between coffee shops until I find one with a free table and near-by outlet.”  Then by acting on this thought, I would take the Tropical Fish action of finding a coffee shop that met my desires.

Sometimes as we deal with the vastness of our lives, we choose to act like clams and retreat into our shells and sometimes we choose to swim about like tropical fish and reveal our confidence and grace to the world.

May you find the balance between living like a tropical fish and living like a clam that brings joy and satisfaction to your life.

Game of the Day

1. In what parts of your life do you act as a tropical fish?

2. In what parts of your life do you act as a clam?

3. Are there parts of your life where you now act like a clam, but would prefer to act like a tropical fish?

4.  Are there parts of your life where you now act like a tropical fish, but would prefer to act like a clam?

Do You Have a Unicorn Horn Secret?

Pretend for the next few minutes that I have a unicorn horn growing out of the center of my head.  (Please bear with me.  It’s a big step for a grown man to talk about a unicorn horn in his blog.)

Now pretend that when I talk to people, I never acknowledge that I have a unicorn horn growing out of the center of my head.  Furthermore, I become defensive and change the subject when people who are just getting to know me comment on my unicorn horn.   And if they inquire how I feel about having a unicorn horn or ask for any explanation of the medical condition that caused my horn, I make it obvious that they have offended me.

Since, I react in this way at any mention of my unicorn horn, soon nobody speaks to me about my horn, not family, not friends.  Even acquaintances who have made the mistake of inquiring about my horn once, never speak to me about it again.

People are only willing to get so close to me.  (How close can you really get to someone who refuses to trust you enough to talk with you about the unicorn horn growing out of the center of his head?)

I never know what people really think of my horn.  Maybe they think it is the height of fashion and pray that they will wake up with one growing out of the center of their head tomorrow.  Maybe, they think I would feel better about life without the horn and know a professional to refer me to who removes unicorn horns.

Now remember this unicorn horn stuff isn’t autobiographical.  (If you were about to call Guinness, you can hang up the phone.)

However, I have a unique feature that is like a unicorn horn in that there is no way to hide the reality of it when I speak.

For years, I refused to talk about my speech impediment and made it an awkward conversation, to say the least, when people tried to talk to me about it. When I finally did begin talking with people about the speech impediment (my Unicorn Horn Secret) I soon discovered that no one thought my speech impediment was nearly as big of a deal as I thought it was.  I learned to my surprise that some people actually even find the way I speak cool.

By talking freely about my Unicorn Horn Secret, I also opened up a way for people to suggest that I go back to speech therapy, which I hadn’t done since grade school.  Following their advice, I went back to a speech therapist and after about three or four sessions, she said that I had accomplished what I needed to accomplish and didn’t need to come back to see her.  (When I was trying to keep my Unicorn Horn Secret, I had feared that if I ever went back to speech therapy, I would be going once a week for the rest of my life.)

These were the wonderful benefits of finally talking about my Unicorn Horn Secret.  However, by far the biggest benefit of talking freely about my Unicorn Horn Secret is that people now find it much easier to be around me and connect with me because I am not trying to hide and not tell the truth about what is obvious.

Now my Unicorn Horn Secret, that for so long I refused to talk about, has become part of my “Limitations To Extraordinary Results” message.    As a professional speaker, I am now proud to share this message and my Unicorn Horn Secret with audiences both big and small.

Our Unicorn Horn Secrets can become some of our greatest assets once we find the courage to talk freely about them.  We then have a pathway to open up to the idea that the way we view our Unicorn Horn Secrets can transform from a source of shame to a source of strength.

Game of the Day

Do you have a Unicorn Horn Secret?

What would it be like to talk freely about your Unicorn Horn Secret?

What would it be like to transform your Unicorn Horn Secret from a source of shame to a source of strength?

What is your next step?

Our Lives Are Our Free Time

Ok, here I am at Subway about to write a blog entitled, “Our Lives Are Our Free Time.”  Suddenly, I catch myself thinking, “I HAVE TO eat fast, so I can get going on this blog.”

In the moment, I say, “I HAVE TO eat fast,” I realize that I’m not allowing myself to be free.

In truth, I could choose to spend the next seven hours in Subway savoring each morsel of my sandwich.  Then I could spend another couple of hours at home eating the leftovers.*

Now my recognition that I am free to take as long as I want to eat my sandwich is admittedly a small recognition in the grand scheme of recognitions.  However, it’s amazing to think of how often we speak to ourselves in the language of “I HAVE TO,” instead of the language of “I choose to.”

When we insist to ourselves that we have to do this or that, we fill our lives with self-created burdensome obligations instead of noticing that we are actually free to choose what we do.

One of our biggest areas where we say, “I HAVE TO” relates to work.  How often have you said, “I have to go to work”?

I know being self-employed as a professional speaker and writer; I find myself saying “I HAVE TO” work on a regular basis.

It is often easy to complain about having to work.  But when we say we have to go to work, we drastically reduce the hours of our lives in which we have the opportunity to be free.

There are two solutions that I can think of to this dilemma.  One solution might be that we could all in mass just decide not to work anymore.  (This would probably create worldwide chaos.  So, let’s not try it.)

Or we could start considering our whole lives as our free time, even the portion of our lives that we chose to devote to work.

And think about it, we really do choose to work.  We choose to work to make the money we need to support the lifestyle we want to live.  There is no law saying that we have to live the lifestyle we do.   We choose to live the lifestyle we do, so we make the amount of money we need to make to live out our choice.

Seen from this perspective, our lives are our free time.  With a portion of that free time, we choose to work.  This is a unique way to think about work.  May it help us recognize our freedom in everything we do.

* (Note the idea of me eating a sandwich for nine hours is purely hypothetical.  At this point in my life, I’m far more likely to spend nine minutes eating a sandwich.)

(Can you imagine what a person would learn about life by spending nine hours eating a sandwich?)

(I can’t.)

Game of the Day

The next time you are at work, try thinking to yourself, “My life is my free time and I chose to use some of that free time to work.”

For bonus points, say this to three people at work.