Mojo Messages from Tama

Freedom Means Going Rogue: Burn up the Pictures of Where You Think You Should Be.

Where in your life do you want to be free? Let me guess: it’s a place where you’re judging yourself. That’s because you can’t judge yourself and be yourself at the same time. Freedom means going rogue. Burn up the pictures of where you think you should be. A life of vision means you are following what you cannot see-- but know. Following your heart is radical. It’s the commitment to follow a juice not of this world. Your life may look like less than you imagined, but do not be deceived. You do not yet know how to imagine. If you want to live a singular life, you cannot compare yourself to others.

I remember years ago, I was walking through the woods, a canopy of green, chirping inwardly, feeling groovy. Then suddenly, my mind slammed into self-judgment. It lit on a billboard I’d seen earlier, advertising Newport cigarettes. A young woman my age and a hunk of a man with shocking black hair and blue diamond eyes  were running  through a stream, kicking up water, smiles that would make any dentist break out into an aria-- and the ad read  “Alive with Pleasure.” Alive with pleasure? Oh my God, the pressure. Was I alive with pleasure?  Was muzzy contentment on a Saturday good enough?  Was I missing out or boring? Oh don’t tell me, were the cool kids really kicking up their heels in streams all across the planet? And just like that, I became self-conscious which led to self-absorbed which led to hell in a hand basket.

I think we’ve all cast ourselves out of Eden and it’s time to come back home. Adam and Eve were naked and free and fine and fabulous, letting it all hang loose like grapefruits. Then they listened to a sneaky voice that made them self-conscious --- which means they probably encountered an advertisement. They saw that they did not have a Toyota RAV 4, six pack abs, the best social media campaign, or Cymbalta for depression. It was not a pretty day. 

We live in a world where we know too much, and yet we know so little that matters.  We know what Kim Kardashian ate for breakfast. Still many of us don’t know what we want from this lifetime. We don’t know what brings us unmitigated joy. We do not know how to let go of information and comparison and listen, instead, to conviction and inspiration.

I suggest you take back your freedom. Take back your focus. Take back where you place your attention.

You are being hypnotized to define yourself by the standards of imprisonment: standards that make you feel “less than” while promising you that you can and should “have it all.” I want you to use the standards of liberation:  Does this thought, desire, or choice make me feel alive in this moment? If not, it’s a lie. It’s a veil over the truth. The truth is that freedom comes from presence. It doesn’t come from possessions or circumstances. It comes from true direction, purpose, love, and meaning.

Recently I almost allowed self-consciousness to keep me from experiencing one of my life purposes which is creating sacred, affirming experiences for others. I wanted to throw a potluck party for the students in my A Course in Miracles workshops. I was nervous about it.  I kept thinking that as “a national author and expert success coach” my home should look a certain way, you know like something from a movie, all sleek and self-secure, like women with long legs, stark bangs, and French accents who could star in James Bond movies. My house is more Bridget Jones, endearing, no photo shoots in sight.

We were going to have the get together in my backyard and there, too, I don’t have the sleek and secure thing going on. I looked at some of my worn out wood fence that looked like maybe it was going through menopause. And then there were the weeds and vines throwing a hoodlum party of their own. I said to my partner Paul, “Is this how a successful author lives?” He laughed and said, “Yes, this is exactly how a successful author lives. You’ve got other priorities. You are speaking in other cities, writing articles, moving your message into the world.” I laughed as I looked at more of the disarray. “God, am I successful,” I said.
Talking to another friend about having the party, she said, “No one needs another pedestal-perfect-expert or untouchable guru.” I felt relieved, since I really didn’t want to have to buy a chateau just so I could have an impromptu soiree. But the crappy voice inside my head wouldn’t relent, “This is where the national author lives,” it taunted. First, I defended myself. My house is sweet and wonderful—and I bought it with money made from doing only the work I love. My income continues to grow, and I choose to have more time and freedom in my portfolio of abundance than trinkets and trophies.

But then I stepped into a realization that was bigger than a mansion to me. I remembered my truth and core identity, one of expanse, passionate self-acceptance, and wild freedom, a few eagles circling my head, which I know you cannot buy no matter how much money you have. I am not here to be “the national author,” the image of whatever she is supposed to be. I am here to be a vibration. I am here to be electric. I am here to be alive. I am here to chase my good when it calls my name. I am here to serve the Presence that informs me. I am here to step out of all of my old ideas of good and bad and walk into self-discovery and uncommon transformation. I am here to be free.

Sometimes that means I will live in a box. Sometimes I may live in a castle. I am not my circumstances. I am myself and I will inhabit every circumstance I’m in. I will listen to my gut and my guidance. I will change in a flash. I will remain the same always. I do not want to have to live my life for what it looks like, but for what it feels like. Thank goodness, I decided to have people over, even without a remodeled kitchen or a manservant or a panoramic ocean view with whale sightings by the hour, never mind the fact that I live in land-locked Colorado.

The night I threw the party, there was so much love. People came. They brought their children, their dogs, their guitars, their spinach casseroles and their woes.  There was very little small talk, and big life talk filled the air. I am a billionaire of soul, I thought afterwards. I can die in peace. You can’t measure the return on investment of this kind of success. I didn’t get on Oprah or Good Morning America, and my company didn’t do an IPO and I don’t think I even understand what that is.   But I have a light in my eyes. My shoulders are looser, my blood is warm. I felt as though I’d stepped into real life.

My friend, who is a bit of a shaman and a life coach and who will pull anything out of her hat that helps started talking to me about Jesus-- the rebel, not the icon.  She said Jesus didn’t make distinctions about what was big success and what was small. He didn’t just attend the A-list parties, he entered all of life wherever it met him. Really, he washed someone’s feet—even when he had enough personal power to pig out at Cold Stone Creamery every day without gaining a pound, a zit, or a heart condition.  This is my paraphrase, mind you. She said, “The Dude was free,” and we both sighed with admiration. He was unattached to what the press would have written and he didn’t need his picture on the cover of Forbes with the caption, sexy billionaire of religious proportions. He didn’t have to be different, better, bigger, faster, sexier. He didn’t make distinctions. There wasn’t a better success up the road. Everything was streaming love here and now. He brought the garden with him. And it set him free. And I thought to myself, he would have loved my potluck.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have possessions, ambitions, or goals.

I’ve met my share of folks who believe that freedom comes by rejecting money, accomplishment, responsibility, or the “ego goals” of promoting their art. But they just seem twitchy and bitterly moralistic to me. I experience that kind of “freedom” as rejection or rebellion, not as expression, ease and revelation. I am all over the belief that freedom isn’t in consumerism—but it isn’t in obligatory austerity either. It’s in following your own independent heart in the moment, towards your own standards of grace, a nuanced and ever-changing idiosyncratic chemistry.  And it’s in the willingness to live unabashedly in your life, wherever you are.  

 For me, I might buy a yacht or a yurt.  I might get on stage or I might retreat deep into the woods, well, not really, since I do not believe that anybody can truly know freedom where there are mosquitoes.  But my goal is to make my choices based on what my wise, powerful soul says-- not on some mental picture that makes me contract as it depicts what my life is supposed to be. I am living a life of awakening and process, not of pictures. I am going to live whole-heartedly in the life that I have while I continue to create even more of the life I desire.
Years ago as an overworked and under-meaning-fulfilled attorney, I walked along a beach in Northern California and breathed in salt-drenched air. I made the wild and unorthodox decision to let go of that career, to let go of what other people thought, to let go of what society told me was safe and beneficial. I found my way of tasting exaltation, walking off into a life that didn’t have immediate external recognition or validation.  All these many years later, I am still learning how to let go. I am still learning how to run free in my own skin in this lifetime.  I hope you will, too.

Would love to hear anything/everything from you, dear one, on the blog or Facebook.   
©2013 Tama Kieves. All rights reserved.

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TAMA: Honors graduate of Harvard Law School turned mojo career catalyst • Best-selling author of This Time I Dance! and also Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work!
July 2013
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