Each season, I place framed quotes in my workplace employee breakroom that are motivating or thought provoking in nature. Last November I was in a hurry to get everything in in order, so I didn’t spend significant time in choosing these new quotes which I framed and displayed on the walls. Ironically, one quote had a subtle impact on my psyche which has made me continually ponder its relationship to my own well-being.
This quote was by Anne Lamont, an American novelist and non-fiction writer, “If you want freedom, practice discipline.”
Numerous times while passing this quote, I contemplated the deeper meaning in this message and its impact upon my life.
It wasn’t until someone in my inner circle went through the unfortunate experience of a DUI that this quote started making sense. From that point on, I found that it related to many daily experiences and the myriad ways we approach wellness in our lives.
Witnessing someone navigate through all the complications and restrictions resulting from a DUI can bring about self-reflection. There is a moment of realization that when we drink alcohol socially and then drive, there can be consequences. There are the financial implications of this infraction, as well as the restrictions on driving. Also, the stigma and personal scars upon one’s legal record may affect opportunity. In the end, all of these experiences restrict personal freedom.
An important approach in everything we do is to understand the interplay between the freedoms created and bestowed upon us and how choices can affect this delicate web.
We live in a country where we are afforded many freedoms but must not take them for granted. As we go about our comfortable daily routine, we should keep these freedoms foremost in mind. Acknowledging another side of our lives, we create a level of excitement in non-structure and have a tendency to look at structure as boring and non-structure as exciting. Learning how to keep our freedoms requires us to look at the daily structure and discipline of our lives as a gift that affords us freedom.
As children we learn from the structure of discipline set by our parents and teachers to become self-actualized, enjoying certain freedoms. Being vigilant about discipline and proper structure guarantees freedom which may materialize as the ability to take time off to enjoy things, freedom to be healthy, freedom to feel supported in a relationship, or time to travel and explore the world. These freedoms and numerous others are the aftermath of some type of discipline creating opportunity. Relative to wellness, whenever we step foot in the gym, take our supplements in the morning, eat a healthy meal, or meditate, we are taking healthy steps in creating freedom in our lives. We may experience and benefit later from the culmination of these efforts. A balancing act takes place as our productive, mundane, and structured habits give way to the liberation and freedom in our lives which we must not take for granted.