Set Yourself Free

by Claudette Rowley

What does it mean to be free? How does one become free?
I believe that individual freedom starts from within and that we each would define it differently. What follows are some guideposts on the path to personal freedom.

Let go of judgment. 

Most of us spend a high percentage of our time judging ourselves and other people. We beat ourselves up for the smallest transgressions and have difficulty forgiving ourselves for the large ones. Our inner critics make up stories about what we “should” and “shouldn’t” be doing or being. They sabotage us through judgments like “who do you think you are?” or “you aren’t good enough” or “what a stupid thing to say”, and other equally destructive comments.

We project the same level of judgment on to other people. I know I’ve done it. Judged someone else, and felt just a little better. It’s the old tear-someone-else-down-so-I-can- feel-better syndrome. It’s the root of gossip and it feeds off of itself. We often judge others so we don’t need to look at ourselves.

Release the rules. 

We are all conditioned into maintaining a set of rules of behavior. This socialization begins in our families, continues in school, with our peers and filters in from society at large. We become adults with set of rules for behavior that sometimes hold us back – keep us chained into an existence that doesn’t work for us. It can be challenging to break free of these “rules”, albeit necessary to live a life of personal freedom.

Here are some examples: 

“Don’t brag.” Now I’m not a fan of bragging. The difficulty with “don’t brag” is that it can get translated in our minds into “don’t accept compliments”, “it’s wrong to say something positive about myself”, and for some people it even gets twisted into “It’s wrong to think highly of myself and my skills and abilities.”

“Be nice,” is another favorite conditioning rule. Again, there’s nothing wrong with being nice when nice is the authentic way to be. “Be nice” can morph into “Always be polite” or “Never, under any circumstances, act anything other than nice” or “Don’t ever express or address your true emotions.”

Sometimes we need to state exactly how we think or feel. The truth is that we are free to express ourselves in a way that’s authentic to us. At times, that expression may be assertive or angry or sad or exuberantly happy. 

Other situations call for us to ask for exactly what we need at the risk of someone else feeling uncomfortable. Sometimes, we just need to be truthful and the truth isn’t always nice.
Letting go of judgment and releasing your rules are two important elements of personal freedom. 
What will it take for you to set yourself free?
About Author: Claudette Rowley, coach and author, helps professionals identify and pursue their true purpose and calling in life. Contact her today for a complimentary consultation at 781.538.6616 or by email. Sign up for her free newsletter “Insights for the Savvy” at metavoice.org

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The Language of Your Intuition


by Claudette Rowley –

How many times, when we hear a foreign language for the first time, are we struck by the interesting sounds coming from the speakers – even if we don’t understand what they’re saying? How quickly do we then begin ignoring those sounds because what we hear doesn’t spark comprehension?

Identifying and deciphering the language of intuition that’s chattering away in our minds can be an equally foreign experience. Yet learning the translation key can bring abundant understanding and opportunity. 

Where can you find the key?

Start by tuning into more obvious intuitive experiences: a song lyric that pops into your head, a gut feeling or a recurring dream. Intuition is largely a form of sensory knowledge – a sixth sense that’s as available to you as your sight, hearing, taste, touch or smell. Just like the other five senses, it’s a knowledge that has little to do with your mental capability.

Becoming acquainted with your intuitive voice is a personal experience and usually involves expanding your perspective of intuition. 

Unfortunately, it’s rarely as conventional wisdom predicts – that intuition will come in dramatic “flashes” that are so obvious we feel as if we’ve been struck by lightening, hit over the head with a two-by-four or heard angels sing.

More likely, intuition shows up in the dialect of the ordinary, often taking the form of a fleeting inner comment, such as “I really should call Ken and tell him about my new business idea,” or “You know, every time I drive by that restaurant, I feel compelled to stop” or “I should look through that pile of mail.” 

How easy it is to dismiss these seemingly benign thoughts because the thoughts come without the context of why each thought is intuitively important. Or, worse yet, those thoughts are followed by our inner critic, eager to jump in with “Now there’s a stupid idea.”
How can I start to recognize and listen to my intuitive dialect?
  • Pay attention to fleeting inner comments. Follow the direction of these messages and see where they lead you. For instance, today I got a sense that I should go through a stack of mail. I did, and found a long-awaited check that I had missed when I flipped through the mail just a day earlier.
  • Notice repeated experiences, such as three people recommending the same book to you in the space of a week. That’s a sign that you should run out and get the book.
  • View intuition as a sixth sense – use it as you would your eyes, ears, nose, mouth or skin.
  • Practice asking your intuition a question and listening for an answer. Then have patience. The answer may come immediately, or it may not arrive for several days, weeks or even months.
  • Observe your body. The body is incapable of falsehood; if it gives you a message, it’s best to listen. An acquaintance recounted a long-standing internal pull to move to the U.S. Whenever she resisted this urge to move from her home country, she literally felt punched in the stomach. Once she made the decision to move, the stomach-punching stopped.
  • Use your energy levels as a barometer. As your energy rises, plummets, and centers you, what do you notice? For many of us, energy can serve as an intuitive gateway, and a useful way to heighten our awareness of our intuitive dialect.
Start learning the language of your intuition today. 
Listen to the information your body, heart and soul share with you. Just as learning a foreign language will allow to communicate in new places, deciphering the dialect of your intuition will transport you to whole new worlds. 
You have all the tools you need to learn your own intuitive dialect. With practice, you’ll be fluent!

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The Power of Presence

by Claudette Rowley –

BEING PRESENT IN EACH MOMENT:

Being present means being aware or conscious of what’s going on inside of you and allowing it without judgment. This level of consciousness gives us full freedom to be who we are. It also brings a tremendous sense of inner peace.

How do you know when you’re present?


You know you are present when you feel at ease with yourself. There’s no underlying tension, your mind isn’t chattering on in judgment of you or someone else. You are also present when you ALLOW a moment to be as it is. For example, you notice that you have a story in your mind about a situation. And you observe it as a story not as truth. Or you feel a negative emotion and you notice that without judging it. You stay in the moment of whatever you are feeling.

What stops us from being present?


Reviewing the past and projecting into the future. Many of us spend half of our time ruminating about the past and reliving our emotions about it. Then based on what we’ve experienced in the past, we project into the future about circumstances that may never occur. Our mind makes up fear-based stories that catapult out of the present and into a made-up future. In other words, we end up resisting the present moment in fear of what the future might bring.

Let me clarify: 

By future projections, I mean imagined scenarios that cause emotional strain, such as “What if this happens or that happens?” versus planning for the practical matters of life, such as scheduling your January vacation. Another way of thinking about this is psychological time which always causes fear or strain versus the time we keep by clock which we use to organize the practical matters of life.
What are avenues for being present?
  • Observe. When you notice that your mind has made up a story about the past or the future, simply observe it. Observation of the story will bring you right into the present. After a while, you’ll start to notice that you are not your story, and that two separate entities exist: you in the present and your mind with its story.
  • Allow. Allow whatever is in the moment to be there. It is what it is. Once you begin observing and allowing, you’ll notice how often you resist the moment you are in. That resistance keeps you in your head and out of the present.
Here’s an example of the distinction between allowing and resisting. At times when my nine month old son is cranky and I’m frustrated, my natural reaction is resistance. In other words, I want the moment to be different than it is, which creates stress.
Those times that I’ve allowed the situation to be what it is, I felt present and experienced peace. Once I’ve become aware of my resistance to what’s occurring – I’ll often experience it as physical tension – I’ll say to myself, I don’t like this moment. Or I’m noticing that I feel frustrated and impatient. 
Simply observing and allowing what I experience brings a conscious level of awareness.

We each have an inner peace and freedom that already exists inside of us. Our job is to release the muck surrounding it and reclaim as our own. Stay present by ALLOWING what’s there to be there. Then you can accept it, change it or talk to someone about it. By spending so much time in the past and the future, we often resist the gem that’s right in front of us.

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