No one breaks your heart –they break your expectations!
No one breaks your heart –they break your expectations!
Here is a simple practice for clearing the decks of material that has given you problems in your spiritual work, or that could be a challenge as you delve deeper….
You know the negative reaction you have in your day to day life that gives you frustration or upset? No matter how inconsequential you think that thing is, it is a sign of inner work that remains. It is also something that once you really look at it objectively through the lens of the “Watcher,” “Observer,” or “Witness” can provide you with a clear view to what the root of the problem is.
If you fall for thinking that everyone else is the problem, you won’t get very far in doing this type of work. Instead, try to see that the world is full of people who have their stuff, their own baggage, and they all act based in large part, at least negatively, to what that baggage is about. This isn’t personal, so don’t make it personal by getting hooked into their junk.
Instead, witness your own reactions in your day to day to the world around you and this will tell you perfectly what YOU have yet to clean up. When you do this work, it clears you of the kinds of reactions that form the basis for your junk. You see? This is about you and the work that remains for you to do.
All of our suffering stems from our own self-made expectations about how we want the world to be. But the world is the way it is. The fact remains that when you can make a deep substantive peace with this fact, your life will fill more and more with peace, calm, and bliss. Only then can you hope to bring substantive change to the problems that beset the world around you.
Trying to wrestle with the problems of the world by using life force energy that brings bliss by turning it into anger and frustration leaves you weak and defeated. It is a tar pit; the more you struggle, the more stuck you become. So you choose to change yourself, and when you do enough of this, the clarity of bliss begins to emerge.
All of us are vessels for a very fine vibrational energy that is our birthright. It flows through all things. It is the love that flows through the veins of an infinitely large awareness that we call Creator, Source, All That Is, and God. We are like cells in this vast body, able to soak up this amazing energy that is its lifeblood. So I ask you, wouldn’t it make better sense to first get in touch with this seemingly subtle baseline experience first and then take on healing the world? If you do, you will be coming from a place of greater love and compassion, and it will make your and everyone’s lives much better.
You might think that I am somehow glossing over the best ills of the world. I am not. People do indeed do some pretty gnarly things, and when someone says or does something that is a violation of sound principles of behavior, we have a duty to point out the deficiency. This does not mean that we must bring suffering on ourselves for the misdeeds of others. That’s their junk. If someone lies about you, this can be hurtful only if you are unsure whether the lie is really a lie. If you are centered and confident in who you are, a lie is simply an error and nothing to take personally. But does an eye for an eye do anything to end the suffering here? No, it does not.
I come from a place where I know we all want to do good, but our baggage, our reflecting on past unresolved hurt, gets in the way. So if someone cuts you off in traffic, they could be working from their own hurt, which makes them feel entitled to do what they do. They could also need to get to the nearest bathroom, too, so you just never really know. The point here is you react the way you do as a result of a reflection upon what remains in you…. otherwise you might not jump the gun and assume that someone is just intending to be mean (note: you have not fully dealt with someone who was mean to you in the past…something to look at and let go of).
Observe, identify, then change through awareness. This is the path to a peaceful and fulfilling life.
If you know what I write about, you know a lot of it has been centered on how to escape the maze of karma. Before my awakening, karma was one of those heady concepts that seemed over my head and out of my control. The cycle of reincarnation, destiny, journey of the soul, those kinds of things. And yet, when awakening took hold in me the force which some want to call kundalini had the very effect of removing the karma by removing not just the blocks that kept the energy from flowing, but the conceptual biases, the beliefs, which had kept those knots and blocks and the karmas in place.
We are all littered with little programs that run in our awareness which are the result of different beliefs or biases we have taken on in one form or another and these in the aggregate serve to form what our karma is all about. Yes, karma is defined as “action” in its most simplest form, and while this is a very good way to explain it, my experience has been that this action is the result of certain positions, ideas or beliefs about HOW we think things work….and for the negative karmas, that means that we feel the world works against us not for us (and then this notion serves to guide our actions henceforth) for example. Beneath all of this is a sense which is in all people that has served to remove us from our own divine natures, a kind of deeper notion or bias about how we feel things are that isn’t really true but becomes true because of how the law of attraction works; you create your reality and then the character of that reality can serve to attract others with similar qualities of energy and consciousness and feeling.
Instead of just feeling our divinity, we have allowed this clutter of programs to proliferate that get in the way of our own purer awareness of what we are in our root, primordial, or authentic selves. The Zen teachers who tell the story of the student staring into a pond that has a lot of pond scum obscuring its depths is THE image of what I am talking about. We can’t see the depths because we have too much in the way to even see it. Remove that, and the view begins to clarify. The curious thing is that when you do this, you also wind up seeing into the rest of creation from the inside out. For people so used to using just their physical senses, this is nothing short of an epiphany. And for most people who do awaken, all of this is a bit of a process so that one day one layer is removed while on another day another layer is removed. Slowly, or perhaps quickly depending on how you define “slowly” and “quick,” your view begins to change. You still see the same view, but your awareness has changed. What has changed is that you no longer have these beliefs and ideas that serve to keep you from seeing the real deal. the other thing that you might know about me is that I do little about creating systems and methods and more about speaking into the essence of a given thing since that is where I think I am best able to reach the problem or issue in its origins, its essence. But for this entry, I am going to make an exception.
So let’s talk about seeing what is there instead of seeing what we think we see (or what we feel we see).
I have known many people who have each helped me to understand how this works in the world. At the time, the experiences with these people were all hard and this was learned at great cost because it meant that I experienced how their schisms affected me, but that also meant that I got to see some things up close, which has its benefits. What I had was a front row seat watching how people were interpreting what it was I was doing (which was effectively reading into my actions their own interpretation of what was going on inside of me). If I worked long hours, this meant I was actually wanting to escape my family in order to work in my business. I didn’t care about my family and preferred my work instead. Now I know how I feel. This is not a big mystery. I could hear all of these sorts of things being said and I know just how far off the mark they are. This was really more about HOW someone felt things were instead of how they actually WERE. Truth was, had this person actually KNOWN how I felt, she would have used that as her guiding principle instead of making all kinds of assumptions that were incidentally factual, but in reality not true.
To add more depth to this picture I will say that I was all along expressing how I felt. When we have our illusions wrapped around us, we literally become blinded by these things that we are so invested in that they seem to make up the whole of our reality. It is easy to say this is the result of the false self at work, and while in a way this rings true, in other ways I find such words or terms to be distortive. This is NOT a false self, it is an illusion, a pure creation of ourselves which we then most often project in perfect Jungian style onto the world. We use people and how they seem to us as we look at their behavior through our lenses of illusion. It is just as true that my life as an artist meant many long hours. I was the maker, the packager, the webmaster, the accountant, promoter, and salesperson, shipper, and receiver. I was the finisher of the work, and I designed the displays that helped sell the work. I developed new work, I supported the work that was more mature. I had to hustle and the day did not fit into a neat 9-5 regimen like most people’s lives. None of this was a mystery, none of it was any surprise. It wasn’t like what I did was a big mystery to anyone. THIS is how deeply we can hold our illusions about what we think or feel is true.
What kinds of illusions do you live under? What colors your world and life? What keeps YOU from seeing the clear light of day?
The path through awakening is most often one that leads to a place of neutrality in a sense, a removal of the lenses and thus the ability to see all sides and to see how the sides are or are not distorted by these self made lenses. Now, having said all of this, the reality remains that I attracted a person like this into my life who was like this, so in all honesty, it is easy to point out the mote in my neighbors eye whilst ignoring the mote in my own. Continually pointing out the problems in the world or in others is actually a waste of time because the most productive thing you can do is to take care of your own stuff. If you find yourself continually focused on others’ ideas of you or feelings, then you simply are not focused on your own inner garden. In this way, yes, there is a certain importance to taking care of YOU first. It is madness to assume that by being a servant to everyone else is going to naturally lead you to a life of spiritual abundance when your bucket needs to be repaired. You just wont really ever receive any lasting satisfaction from trying to fill others’ buckets with your own leaking like a sieve. So you heal your own fractures first and then suddenly the light and life begins to fill you. You no longer point out the problems of the world simply because you feel so full. When you feel so full like this, you do not feel lack or loss. You only feel……full. Imagine a world full of people working from this side of the equation, of inner abundance instead of running around pointing out the problems in others, which is only pointing out your own short comings in a rather backward manner (via projection). The curious thing is that if you have a leaky bucket, you will find yourself surrounded by others just like you. Fix your own and you will find others around you doing the same. It is a scheme that works very well all the way around. You can heal the world by healing yourself. Heal your own fracture and you often find the same happening around you. This sounds like magic, but it is a common feature of how this kind of work goes.
Not to belabor the point, I will give you a quick example of what I mean. I read somewhere someone who was quoting something from Ram Das’s Be Here Now. His teacher and Das were talking about how his old teacher’s students were not catching on to a certain teaching that the teacher had espoused. Das was one of these people. He wondered aloud to his teacher why it was he was unable to embody this important teaching. I forget exactly what this teaching was, but the specifics of this wasn’t the point. What was the point was that his teacher observed that the teacher had not himself fully embodied the teaching. The teacher probably heard that something was a good idea and thus he passed on the good teaching. But the teaching was not really part of who or what the man was, so he quite naturally attracted people who could not embody the teaching either. This is what I mean, and if you think this is magical thinking, this happens ALL THE TIME and is most obvious when you have a way to observe what someone says and what they do. Eventually you will, if given enough time, be able to observe if the teaching has sunk in and is part of who the person is. Without that, the Law of Attraction works perfectly. On the other side of the coin, having a teacher who then is able to embody a given teaching can result in freeing up all of the people s/he taught this teaching to to also embody it. When we heal ourselves, we offer an opportunity to the world we have created to also heal. So in this way, healing yourself is actually very huge. Its just not as immediately apparent to most people, but it is nonetheless how things work.
Being caught in our illusions is a bit like how someone makes the assumption that fire trucks cause fires. Now we all know that is preposterous, and yet, it IS true that fire trucks ARE at an amazingly large number of fires, so it does make a kind of sense that they could be construed to be involved in creating them. But in using this example, I am trying to underscore what we all tend to do at one time or another about the events in our lives. In the words of the writer Anais Nin, we see the world as we are instead of as it is, and it is this tendency that leads not only to misunderstandings, but it also leads to suffering because, well, its so far off the mark of what is REAL. I would later meet someone with the same kind of karmic issues as my (now ex) spouse who would make even more difficult statements that had to do with how I abused my students, how I manipulated people with my new-found powers. It was all pretty crazy to me, and yet it all had a basis in something that existed before I even came along. I had stepped into a karmic merry-go-round and was experiencing something I had not yet cleared from my consciousness. When I saw and heard these things being said, it was hurtful, yes, but it also showed me so clearly how people describe a world that they FEEL is happening rather than what is really there. We have this habit of not stopping and actually looking at things from a dispassionate perspective without bias and belief playing into the moment, and this is how a distorted world view emerges.
All of this is the result, I contend, of just what Buddha was so famously known for espousing, which is how expectation plays into our own suffering. Instead of expecting something that is realistic from people or events, we choose to expect what we feel we desire. This is actually based on something NOT realistic at all, but actually forms our own karma, the thing that serves to cloak our own divine selves. Some desires are soaked in karmic issues and so will not adhere to what is real but will speak instead of something deeper inside of us that also happens to be unresolved and most often, volatile, hurt, and broken feeling. All of this material is brought to bear in the moment, at least potentially, so that our desire governs our actions and feelings instead of our being able to see what is there. So instead of accepting what happens, we kind of fight with outcomes so they serve to make us feel bad or hurt because we feel we did not get what we wanted. But what we wanted was itself based on these memes, the beliefs that we have floating around inside of us, and this all traces back into our karma. There is a reason for all of this and you CAN release all of this in time if you want to go that deep, but for now, a more modest approach to keep things simple.
When you enter an experience, stay open to what is happening. Try not to put too much investment in an outcome. Try to simply go with the flow and make your mind up in the moment about what you want to do for that time. This will keep you from leaving THE MOMENT. A curious thing happens when we leave the MOMENT. We begin to imagine and our imaginations naturally form based on our beliefs and inner Karmas. Try to shorten that and keep yourself in the here and now. I know how hard it is to keep imagination out of it, I am myself highly imaginative, so it’s not easy. But try it. You might feel like this is just too passive an activity. I am not suggesting that you not voice your opinion or just go along for the ride, but rather to observe the moment more and give yourself some time to really feel into that moment and into what it is you feel that you want. Before you make your decision, ask yourself if this is really what you want. This is not something you have to agonize over. But over time, by doing this, you may find that your choices may change first in a small way and then in larger ways. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of doing what you think others would have you do; do what YOU want to do.
Observe your thoughts and watch how your own thinking naturally may turn back to a sense of expectation about something. When you find yourself doing this, stop for a moment and allow yourself to suspend this tendency, first for a moment, and then the next time, for a longer time. As you go through each moment in life, you will find you have an endless series of opportunities to do this careful self observation. It might not be easy at first. In fact, it might be downright cumbersome to you. But I ask you, if you are interested in overcoming the things that lead to your suffering, isn’t something like this worth it?
When you meet someone for example, resist the desire to pigeon-hole them. Keep your mind open about them. I knew someone once who identified me with her father due to one important but really incidental trait that we both shared. The result was that I found myself being compared to her father about a whole list of things that actually had nothing to do with me, but were actually things that she had not yet reached peace with her father. It was interesting and also painful to watch and experience, but it sure was educational for me. Here a person had become blind to the real me and was no longer really dealing with me but someone from her past. This is a very hard thing not to do, so it means you need to practice what is called mindfulness. This is simply being aware of what you think and feel at any moment. You do this through a practice of observation. You simply allow yourself to be more in an observation role and for some, it takes some practice, but after a while it can actually lead to a nice little space inside of you that is both quiet, calm, and even happy. It is a place of peace inside of you if you let it.
This method can work a variety of ways and you can actually adapt it to your own use, but the core of the idea here is that you stop yourself from forming opinions about things based on your first impression. Rather, allow yourself to register those thoughts and impressions, but just don’t make up your mind about them, because once you do and ego gets a hold of it, the next step is in placing those impressions into a belief about something. Once something is a belief, however small, it takes on a life all its own. It is actually something that has a life of its own. You let it drop into your subconscious self and the rest becomes more or less automatic and hard to change once set in motion unless you have a supple ego who can give up the good readily.
This is a modest approach, but is one that you can use to help change your own level of suffering in your life by being aware of the process AS IT HAPPENS that results in unrealistic expectations or expectations that simply do not fit reality. This can also lead to a simpler life and calmer self.
Now one path through this is to actually release karma, which will result in a lessening of these expectations, but for some doing this type of karmic release may be too much to take on right now. Besides, it is also possible to come at this from another direction without such heady issues at hand. Goodnight and good luck!
I tried to edit this so that it would be short(er) and it seems it needs to be about 2k words. It was 3.5k. I hope that you can get through this and that it can offer you some food for thought….I was talking last night about the concept of ego death with a friend and how misleading the term is….but what lies at the core of that term is itself something that can help people a great deal, which has to do with HOW the ego is used or resides within the self. Unfortunately the term ego death also does not help anyone who has not yet gone through this to understand what on earth it could be. What I feel is important is learning how to let ego sit at the back of the bus. Ego is still there, though, because ego death is itself a misnomer.
I also want to make it clear that acceptance is something that you use for entirely productive pursuits, right? What is the line between simply accepting someone’s bad behavior and not? Obviously, you do not let someone roll right over you. That would not be healthy. However, you also don’t put yourself in harms way by getting involved in a situation where its pretty clear that the person or event that is problematic for you is going to cause you problems or hurt or injury. In both cases, you have to exercise discernment.
Acceptance. It seems so simple, so straightforward, right? You are right, it is. Things that are this simple and uncomplicated are most often won through a very simple and straightforward process. It is so simple, in fact, that it eludes people. It eludes us when we are upset because we are stuck in an emotion that wont allow us to feel what we need to feel in order to accept. That and being upset is the antithesis of acceptance. The advantages that acceptance offers are huge and are like a bank that offers ever-increasing interest over time simply because you grow better and better at it as you go along if you remain focused on acceptance. Acceptance is something that is learned and that you respond to in an ever-increasing way in your life as you pay it heed. What things do you need to aid in acceptance?
The first thing I am going to tell you is that acceptance is a choice. If you understand anything, understand this. Your seeking to change how you feel about a given situation that has had you tied up in knots is going to be a choice that you will make.
I am going to offer some suggestions that are all part of my own practice that have led me to success in the past. Some of it is even rooted in older traditions (whether I knew it at the time or not). So consider acceptance a practice that you grow into incrementally. It might not be reasonable to expect perfect results within a given period of time. Be patient with yourself and grow into it at your own pace.
Let The Ego Go
Acceptance requires that you allow ego to drift into the background. To do this, identifying too much with a position or feeling that you feel you are entitled to that serves to keep you upset is obviously doing you no good. Ego does this! One very good way to let your grip on ego (or its grip on you) go is to simply become an observer in the moment. Step back for a second and forget what you were so upset over and just WATCH. Don’t judge. Just watch and observe. As you do this, you will probably find that you are already becoming more relaxed and calm. It isn’t that what you thought or felt isn’t important, you just aren’t worrying about it as you begin to become an Observer. There is a very good background in meditation practice for observation of ones thoughts and feelings and surroundings for the simple reason that it works. Being the Observer allows you to drop your investment in a harsh feeling and shift from emotional investment to something more neutral. It is also a capacity that we all as humans have because of our primate brain. Using it can be very positive and could be key in unlocking how you respond to things that keep you upset.
Its All About You
The really great thing about acceptance is that you don’t have to get into a heated exchange with someone in order to learn acceptance. In fact, you can start small and build your way up. Buddha spoke about suffering and he was clear that the suffering he was talking about was small suffering that found its way into our daily lives. Of course there is larger scale suffering, such as the loss of a loved one, but what happens when the store is all out of the sour cream you need in order to make the dish tonight for company? I know it may sound a trifle, but these are the very things that create within us a low level form of suffering….
Observe and Shift through Breath
The next time you are in a situation where you wind up not getting what you want, say, not getting the sour cream or bread at the market that you need, step back for a moment as you feel yourself feeling upset and pause for a moment. Not getting the sour cream is perfect because its less likely to overwhelm you and you can use your training wheels more and observe without knocking over the apple cart as might be the case with harder issues. If you don’t know how to observe yourself, do what my third grade teacher told us to do when we were upset; hold our breath to the count of ten. What this does and other things like it is it breaks the chain of obsessive thought or recursive thinking so you have a better chance of returning to stasis or greater normality in your thoughts and feelings. Until you can master observing your feelings maybe holding your breath or having a time out will work for now.
One very good way to calm yourself emotionally is to use breath. One very good way to relax is to use single nostril breathing. It works! Simply plug up one nostril and breath deeply in and out through each nostril for a count of four to five breaths, alternating between each nostril until you begin to feel yourself relaxing. Keep doing it if you want, since the benefits will continue. You can also use deep steady and slow breath as well, but it does not work quite as well as single nostril breathing. Once you have done this, observe how it has made you feel. Build into your mind and awareness the shift that has taken place as it will likely be easier next time when you are looking for that elusive state of calm!
Change Your Mind
This is the hard part….which is where your own choice comes into play and is also the part that makes acceptance so hard for some people. You have to WANT to accept something that just moments ago had you upset. You literally have to CHANGE YOUR MIND. To do this means you have to decide to actually change the character of your thoughts and your feelings. You have to be willing to take the yellow brick road and pave it over in, say, purple brick instead. The entire landscape of your feeling self has to change. This is why I have mentioned observation as a key player in helping you edge closer to acceptance because most often acceptance requires a change in your mind.
To change your mind one very useful means to this end is to reach a state of grace. Now grace might sound like an almost esoteric thing to you, and I say that it need not be. I have observed grace quite a bit and I can tell you that there are some very clear alternative routes to grace that do not require you to carry a Rosary or bow down in saffron robes.
Let Grace Flow
Grace is itself the act of opening ones self. Grace flows when you are receptive, not when you are rigid angry and shut down emotionally. To know grace you need to first be calm and neutral. remember the Observer? That, or hold your breath tot he count of ten. Once calmer, you REMAIN calm and then allow this receptivity to move through you and change how you feel. It is this receptivity that is Grace that will lead you to a place of acceptance. I will tell you that when you are creative, Grace is there. IN fact, what we call Grace is actually a form of cognitive function that involves a broader brain being put to use. Creativity is itself connected to Grace. In order to be creative, you must be willing to PLAY. You must be willing to set aside whatever you were thinking and feeling in order to throw yourself into the imaginary world of that play, whatever it happens to be. For children, this might mean being in an imaginary realm. For adults, it might mean solving a problem using creativity. It also means being open to the possibility that things could change.Ask yourself over and over “whats the greatest and highest good for this?” By doing this, you train your mind to consider that there are options you may not have considered. It also keeps you more pliable. And just so you know, feeling as though you want to “give up” is itself NOT a bad thing! This is itself most often letting go of an outcome and letting go your attachment to a position your own ego self may have held. This is part of what I am writing about….which is a form of surrender. You can still surrender while you are wrestling a 600 pound gorilla. You just quit. You give up (ego).
It is also coincidental that when you are receptive in this way creatively, that you are much more likely to have those inspired moments and visions that saints and seers talk so much about having. I can tell you that a religious experience or spiritual experience only happens when we let go and allow our imaginations to be free enough to bear the information necessary for the experience to unfold. Yes. You heard it right; you have to imagine. But what is so different is that once you have met the spiritual half-way, it then takes on a life of its own. It is more than what you alone could have probably come up with. Einstein did the exact same thing when he discovered Relativity; he let his mind wander and he let his imagination out for a walk and that was when he and the universe smacked into one another in a rather marvelous sort of way and changed our world and the world of physics forever. This same state of mind or being can help in any number of pursuits or problem solving. it can also lead you to a solution beyond the problem you are having, which has to do with acceptance.
Some other things to bear in mind that may be helpful to you is to learn to be present in the moment. When we direct our attention away from the present moment several things happen, but one really big thing can happen, which results in string of challenges for all of us. When you leave the present moment you are suddenly dealing with what is not yet known. That is a very uncertain space. On the one hand, this type of thinking allows us to do some planning in our lives, but it can also get entirely out of hand. We can plan so much into the future that we are simply not living in the present anymore. The reason why this is so undersirable is that it is a misuse of your energy. It also can lead to fear and uncertainty….and while I wont call this sort of thinking a high level form of fear (fear of the car going off the road or the sky falling) but smaller and thus more insidious sorts of worrying and edginess. Like small particles of sand, they infiltrate into the substrata of our emotional lives and help to create a low level form of dis-ease. Small things can grow into big things over time and this can all turn into neurosis. I have observed people first hand in my life and how this can take over your life in ways that can entirely blind you to the fact that it is even happening. After all, what harm could a small grain of sand do? So be present! The more you wander, the more what-ifs you will be dealing with and these just can’t be answered properly except in the present. SO do what you can do in the moment and let the future be the future and you will have to deal with it when it becomes the present. it isn’t even that you don’t care about the future, its just that you cannot change it except by what you do NOW. Don’t get caught up in the what if of the future. DO what you can do NOW so that as each moment passes, you will live it in as calm and happy way as you can.
For full disclosure I will say that I have had to deal with some pretty tough forms of acceptance in my life. I have. I had to accept the death of a parent and move on. I had to deal with the loss of a child. I am still dealing with these things and I have found that all of this work goes in layers. There is a lot that I have let go but there is more I have yet to dig down into and decide its no longer worth holding onto. I know that the things I have passed on to you do work because they have helped me a great deal in doing the work I have done in my life. I wish I could just drop things entirely, but it seems that our feelings and souls are built the way we dress, which is in layers. But layer by layer, these things fall away. Big things often go first and there is great relief from letting them go, which builds enough momentum for me to be very hungry for the next layer to go, too. Just don’t get discouraged if you find that there is more material beneath the layers you have shed. Be easy on yourself and be kind. The deeper you go in this kind of work, the more interesting it can become, but it can also seem kind of endless. Well, perhaps it is, but isn’t it worth it?
So be present. Be grateful. Check your ego at the door and keep expectations down. This doesn’t mean that you scale back hopes and dreams, you simply do not focus on them at this point in time. And then have at it. See if this results in your having a bland life or one that is quite unexpectedly exciting and wonderful. You might be surprised. Go at life with wonder and let grace filter in as part of the transformative mix that aids you in your work. Let the glass be half full and it will be. You can do this by simply learning acceptance. It soften ego, it makes your mind more pliable, and your emotions far more fluid and accommodating. When you do this, you wind up being closer to your authentic self, which is at peace and filled with bliss. Suddenly all the problems of a moment ago begin to fade and the angst does too. And you will begin to uncover your native natural self if you are lucky. You will feel this very delicious feeling….almost like you are falling or floating. Energetically, this buoyancy points to your being more free. And that is a very good thing!