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Latosha Martin
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Latosha Martin   My Press Releases

Half-year check-up/Structure vs Freedom

Published on 8/19/2013
For additional information  Click Here

If it is true that the unexamined life is not worth living, and if you are reading a newsletter devoted to quality of life issues, then... when did you last examine your life?
Today marks the half-way point through the year. Yes, it is exactly six months since many of us made our New Year resolutions. What became of them?

This issue starts in the form of a set of questions to help you to check up on what is happening to your goals and hopes. I suggest that you re-format this, either printing it double-spaced or cut and pasting it into a word processing program, so that there is room to write your answers to yourself. Keep them, and revisit them regularly. What are you seeking that you don't presently have (your goal)?

What is stopping you from getting it (the obstacle)? Is the obstacle something that is actually a stepping-stone to what you really want, something you have to achieve before moving on to achieve the goal? (For example, finishing college or achieving a degree before getting a job.)

If the obstacle really is an obstacle, and not a stepping-stone, how can you get rid of it?
But wait, what are the consequences of getting rid of it?
Would you lose more than you would gain? Think carefully before deciding what comes next...
Then you need a plan of action. What is it to be?
You need to break that plan into small, achievable steps.

What are they?
And you need to take the first step toward what you really want out of life. What will that be?

Do you see someone or something as stopping you from achieving your heart's desire? If you can't find an acceptable way out or around, perhaps you need to turn to someone who can give you objective advice and feedback. There must be such a person in your world. Not someone who will tell you what you want to know, not someone who has an investment in you staying as you are, or becoming something other thanwhat you want to become. Someone who wants you to be what you want to be, who celebrates your wins and helps you to overcome your losses. Find that person and use their help to clarify where you are going and what you choose to do.

Only you can know your goals. Only you can live your life. Are you REALLY LIVING IT!!!?
Or are you just barely living it?
Is that your choice?
If not, then choose to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
And please write and tell me what happens.

A reader had sent me a question about deadlines, and how to transform them into allies rather than considering them "negative stressful villains." I think the issue is wider than that.
A part of the problem is that deadlines represent structure, and our relationship with structure is almost always intensely ambivalent.

One of my most enduringly favorite quotations is from poet Robert Frost, who wrote that freedom is "being easy in the harness." Harness represents structure. Structure comes from walls and windows, it comes from deadlines and schedules, and it comes from the harness of a horse's bridle and bit and all the bits and pieces that hold it to the cart it is pulling. It comes, too, from the rules of the societies in which we all live. The walls and barred windows can be seen as keeping us in, or they may be protection from the wind and the rain and from outside terrors. The deadlines and schedules may cause pressure, or they may be guides that help us to know when we have spent too long on something, when it is time to have done with it and to move on. A harness can be a symbol of being unfree, but it can also be a guide that helps the horse to know where he is to go, and to fulfill his potential.

(Have you ever seen a trained guide dog when someone goes to put his harness on him? He comes alive with joy! Wearing the harness is not a dreary signal to work, it is what enables him to become all that he has been trained to be, to do what he does best, and to make his contribution to the world--in this case his beloved owner. Do not ever tell a guide dog that his harness is a symbol of being unfree. If he could understand your words, he would laugh in your face.)

Some of us habitually see various forms of structure as pressure, as constriction, others see them as safety and guidance. It is your choice. You may look around a room and complain that the walls hold you in, or you may look around the same room and delight in the space in which you are able to dance, and the fact that the walls represent safety.

Societal laws, for the most part and when they are fair, serve the same purpose.
We can look at all of these things in many ways, but mostly we need to choose whether our view is positive or negative. To use a much over-used metaphor, is your glass half full, or is it half empty? (Yes, yes, I know, to the humorist in the back hall there, the glass is just too big for the water!) But humor aside, how you look at the glass, or at anything else, is a matter ofchoice for you. Choose wisely. Choose what will bring you true, inner joy.

They say that one sign of being addicted to the Internet is that after getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, you check your e-mail before going back to bed. I would say that a sign of being even more seriously addicted is when you wake up needing to go to the bathroom, and you check your e-mail BEFORE making the visit to the bathroom

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