Choose Freedom Over Comfort

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo credit: Emelda  De Coteau
Photo credit: Emelda
De Coteau
In each of our lives, there is a distinct moment when we choose between the certainty of fear or invigorating freedom. Earlier this year, sitting in an office, alone, cloaked in deafening silence, I learned about the power of choice.

God has a way of extricating noise from our lives, past priorities become irrelevant; clarity, I believe, is the root of freedom. Without it distractions imprison us and liberation becomes an illusion, a mirage in the dizzying mundaness of life.

Years ago, I discovered Pamela Sneed, a talented poet and actor whose arresting book title, Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom Than Slavery?, peaks out from my mahogany stained bookcase, an ever present challenge.

Far too many of us convince ourselves these chains are necessary, the standard rite of passage into adulthood. Everyone treks to jobs they hate, right? We live for the weekends, and grudgingly endure the weeks. I did it for years.

Others were far more deserving than me of happiness, I told myself; they were smarter, prettier, bolder… I dreamed big, but took small actions. Afraid of freedom, yet desperate to soar.

Then my choice presented itself one afternoon. I could stand in the smallness of convention, holding fast to others opinions, their direction for me, or I could embrace new possibilities, in spite of fear and those insistent voices of defeat and doubt. I started a new journey in that moment.

Each day God teaches me this is a journey of surrender. It’s an arduous concept to wrestle with because on the surface it sounds like giving up, but in actuality its the opposite. Peace emerges in this quiet place, there is no room for superficial markers of self, only authenticity.

Several weeks ago I came across a C.S. Lewis quote, an ever-present reminder that we must remain wiling to abandon ourselves, or who we think we are in order to live fully, submitting to  communion with God.

Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

Reexaminig our lives is messy, and at times confusing, but without this courageous action, we are sleep walking, living a life unworthy of our potential.

Two Life Lessons from my Toddler

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Naima De Coteau Photo Credit: Emelda De Coteau
Naima De Coteau
Photo Credit: Emelda De Coteau
Naima is an avid explorer. Even in the womb, this girl moved with agile determination. She enjoys a good swing or sliding board as much as the next toddler, but also likes walking through the park, picking up flowers, digging for rocks and climbing into trees.

A few weeks ago she layed down in the grass, gazed toward the placid indigo sky and smiled. Not a tepid smile either; one filled with the kind of innocence we see in children, before the world has convinced them to hold fast to reality and stop dreaming  Her quiet exuberance is contagious.

Oh, what lessons she taught me in 2 minutes:

1. Stop expecting and start experiencing.

Hitting the park together does not mean staying on the swings, or sliding board, Mom. There is a world beyond what I “should do,” and I intend to embrace it.

What kind of lives would you and I lead if we turned away from the “should” syndrome? This tendency towards compartmentalizing expectations for our kids goes beyond them and impacts other areas of life, too.

How often are we frustrated because partners, friends, or family members defy our expectations, choosing a path we do not approve? It’s difficult, this pulling back, but there is freedom in releasing the need to control. Every day, I am learning this lesson.

2. Slow down, and enjoy.

We live in the era of multitasking on speed. Everyone, everywhere is busy, all the time. Between floods of emails and navigating social media, our minds move incessantly. Being still is a lost art. It’s not lazy, this desire for tranquility, I promise you all, those times heal us in numerous ways.

In those few moments, lying next to Naima, I absorbed the natural beauty of birds, their rhythmic songs. Oh what lovely sounds.

While my pre-kid life included random meditation (when I could sit still! Ha! ) and walks around the track, headphones were never far away. Reflecting back on those days,  I missed so much.

When you and I are open, the lessons come to us in many forms. These days, mine are often taught by our spirited three-year-old who is determined to help Mommy see life with different eyes.

What lessons do your kids teach you?

Freedom is Yours

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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One’s spirit can soar, unbound, within the confines of prison walls, or sadly sink, burdened and oppressed in a luxurious mansion. Freedom is a choice; its yours if you embrace it, courageously and fully. Otherwise, the silent acquiescence of stifled dreams slowly eats at our souls.

There are moments when the lesson becomes lucid, denial of truth, however arduous, becomes impossible to face. As I write this blog post, I release an albatross from my neck, and instead usher in promise where self doubt took root.

In this moment, close your eyes and envision yourself transcending the most arduous obstacle.

Would you abandon damaged relationships, concern about others perceptions, or your own myopic view of yourself? Unpack it all mentally, and then make the decision to be free.

Here are some suggestions to jump start your journey:

1. Prayer & Mediation – Take a few moments each day, turn off the television and radio. Seek God’s guidance through prayer.

It’s simple. Try saying: “Show me the way, God. Help me to walk into freedom by leaving behind my damaging realtionship, etc.”

Find a quiet place. Sit alone, breath in and out. Nothing constructive emerges from confusion. Before you plan those next steps towards freedom, you require an unencumbered mind.

Image Source: http://www.poeticaperture.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/vision-board-piece4.jpg
Image Source: http://www.poeticaperture.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/vision-board-piece4.jpg

 

2. Vision BoardDr. Wayne Dyer talks and writes about shifting the focus towards the life we would like. This is the purpose of a vision board, its an authentic visual representation of your dreams and goals.

Get busy! Head to your local store for a cork board, poster or any other material and begin posting what you would like to see in your life.

Include all of the important elements – relationships (spiritual, familial, romantic, etc.) Is it a new business / career, or home? Tack it up where you can see it everyday.

 

3. Write it Down, The Next Steps – Move from visualizing your future to insuring it takes place by writing out your goals – 1yr., 5yrs., 10 yrs. For instance, list the goal and then the steps needed to manifest these new phases of your life.

For Further Reading:
Your Sacred Self: Making The Decision to be Free Dr. Wayne Dyer
Share your progress & feedback below. How are you becoming free?