“Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice.” Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk

What does freedom mean? It’s the power or right to act, speak, or think as you want without restraint. Hmmm. Why has this come up for me this week? It’s been coming up for a while really. So much has been going on in the world with freedoms and human rights being taken away. I’ve been reflecting on what it means to be free and have experienced a wide range of emotions that have included anger, fear, frustration, and helplessness. I’ve spent introspective time in my inner monastery as well. Upon reflection I agree with Thich Nhat Hanh that we have to cultivate it ourselves. Once cultivated it can’t be taken from us. Yes, our external environment can change but how we feel is ours to feel. This cannot be taken away unless we give it away. Peace and feeling free begin within!

The spiritual teacher and author, Eckhart Tolle, has said, “You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” Who you truly are can never be taken away from you. For many people this coming week is a meaningful time. It’s an important time for reflection. In the Jewish tradition Passover begins and for Christians Holy Week begins. Freedom, life, death, and resurrection are commemorated in these religious traditions. Whether you practice a specific religious tradition or not, I feel that there’s an opportunity, in your quiet moments, to ask, “What does freedom mean to me?”

Being and feeling free is a conscious choice. I feel that everyday we can choose to live our best life ever and become more loving, accepting, kind, and compassionate. If we’re having a challenging day we can rise up to a new day! We can help lift someone else up who’s day is challenging too. We can experience miracles at any moment. We can choose what we believe, who our friends are, where we work, where we live, or what we’re willing to change. Is it necessary to belong to a religious tradition? Not really; however, many find comfort and God in more traditional religions. Remember, you can

be spiritual without being aligned with a religion. After all, we are spiritual human beings who are on a journey of ‘remembering’.

I believe that God is in everything! The German Catholic theologian, philosopher, and mystic, Meister Eckhart, has said, “Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.” In other words, I believe that we must find peace and freedom within ourselves first and then we can find the calm within the chaos wherever we are. Being free is ours to choose!

I will hold space for you this week. Some of you will take time for inner reflection. Others will practice and enjoy your religious traditions. And still others of you will plan for family and friend gatherings, Easter egg hunts, and having your kids color Easter eggs. Regardless of how you navigate this week please enjoy and remember how amazing and loved you are!

I’m available for private coaching and channeled information sessions at Storm Wisdom on Tuesdays from 1p – 6p by appointment. Please call Storm Wisdom, (602)334-1204 to schedule. I’m also available by phone or Zoom. To schedule please go to victoriabarna.com.