While driving by a prison last week, I gawked at a few men digging a new grave. Two other gravestones nearby marked newly tossed mounds of dirt.

“Hm. People die as prisoners…” I’d never really contemplated it before.

freedom!Quickly I recognized two kinds of captivity: physical and mental.

There are people who are not physically living in a prison, yet they’ll die as prisoners. Their gravestones won’t be located on the corner of the prison grounds, but they’ll be buried as a person who was held captive, nonetheless.

The mind can be a prison guard. It can run us, like automatons, if we let it. We’ll just go through the motions in life, wearing our orange jumpsuits, never really stopping to consider what the meaning truly is behind those motions.Wake up. Eat. Go to work. Go home. Eat. Sleep. Wake up. Do it all again.

Captivity might take on the appearance of certain beliefs, strong opinions, blatant expectations, or subconscious life “rules”.

We may have created these thoughts ourselves, or they were imposed on us, but either way, allowing an unconscious mind to drive our daily life is like working as a slave in a cotton field after the emancipation proclamation declared freedom.

I don’t have a link in which to “prove” this analogy I’m about to lay out, but a friend texted me about it after he watched a movie about it so…totally reliable. (This is the internet people. It’s all true.)

After the document in 1863 issued “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free”, there were still slaves in the fields. Of course, there are a lot of reasons why so many didn’t just walk out and never return, but for the sake of the analogy, I want to point out that many remained in a slave-like state even though technically they were free.

I would also like to point out that you are free.

Not just technically, but actually.

What? How can I be free? I have debt! I have to work with a moron! I want a divorce! I’m already divorced! I have bills to pay, which requires hard work and long hours! I have taxes to pay and “the man” to answer to! Have you seen the news lately? The world is falling apart! I’m too fat! I’m too old! I’m not smart enough, good enough, attractive enough!

You get the point.

Captivity.

I still go there on occasion myself.

While most of life feels strictly external, the way in which we view it and
respond to it is actually what determines whether we keep the shackles on our feet.

Whether we continue to pick cotton or step out of the field.

Whether we’re buried in orange jump suits.

Challenge your beliefs.    

Examine your opinions.    

Release your expectations.

Rewrite your life rules.

Bring all that is hidden out into the open and take control if your mind has incarcerated you.

Set yourself free. You already have the keys.

 

 

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INspired Leadership Team                          Rachel Thalmann

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