Nothing moves me more than a story of freedom. I think it is one of the human experiences that I treasure the most. This deep instinct to be unrestricted, to live a life that is equal to everyone else, to have everything you need to move forward with your hopes and dreams. This movement towards freedom is woven into the fabric of who we are as Americans and even deeper, as human beings.
Each of us have our own freedom story to tell, our own chance to break out of the things that hold us down. Luckily, you are probably reading this article from the comfort of your own home or in a quaint little coffee shop where freedom and peace reside. We can’t deny that we are more free now than many people across the world, and at the same time we feel the looming threat that this freedom can be taken from us. But what if there is a freedom that can’t be taken from you? What if the new freedom story is one from our inner worlds? A freedom from beliefs that hold you down, a freedom from emotional repression, a freedom from that part of you that boxes you in and keeps you repeating unhealthy patterns.
I firmly believe that the more free we become in our own self, the more free the world around us will become. Through my own personal work and music therapy, I started developing a process that was fun and effective. I call it ‘4 Steps to Freedom’. I practice this myself and help my coaching clients do the same. It is a perfect way to let yourself really feel your emotions and experiences, so that they don’t get trapped inside you. When we don’t allow our emotions to express fully, and complete the cycle they need to, then they get stuck in our body. They manifest as pain. They mask as the ego and start to hold captive the truest version of yourself, the part of you that is always free. If we can learn to express those emotions in a safe way, then we can start to make room for freedom to rise within us, and we become creative and find new opportunities for growth. We begin to soar to new heights and so do the people around us.
If you have been held captive by your own physical or emotional pain, here is my 4 Step process to try. It is free, easy and anyone can do it!!
Be Open to a Song Whether you want to write a song or just find a song to add to your playlist, start this process by being open to receiving a song that is perfect for your situation. The act of surrendering to some force bigger than you, along with intending to co-create with this force, can really bring Freedom. Some might call it Grace. So, think about the emotion or experience that is churning in you. Feel into the theme, or even just the ‘feeling’ that arises in you, and open to this. Turn on the radio, shuffle your playlist, or go grab your songwriting journal. With an open mind and a willingness to surrender to this feeling, you will find a song that will be your companion on this journey to freedom.
Know It So you have found your song, now is the time to really know it. Listen to it on repeat, learn the words, learn the chord changes. Even go deep and know how this song relates to you and what you are wanting to express. You might notice waves of emotion arising through this step, keep going and find your resource. Watch how you move through the intensity of these feelings and stay in your heart space until the emotions have moved through and you have gained a sense of peace that comes with understanding.
Embody It You were able to do a lot of mental processing through step 2, but emotions and human experiences stay with us at a deeper level, at a somatic level. Use this step to get into your body. Move your body to the song, dance, tap your feet. I like to really shake it up and notice any sore or tight spots in my body. I do movements that bring blood flow and energy to these spots. Then use your voice!! Even if you can’t play an instrument, hum along. Vocal toning is a great way to loosen up any bits of trapped emotion. If you do play an instrument, go to it and learn how to play this song. Feel your fingers on the strings of the guitar, notice how your body expands and contracts as you breath to sing or play a wind instrument. Let all that you have learned in the first 2 steps become embodied.
Get A Witness This final step is so important. Look for a willing witness to hear your song. This can be by recording it and sharing online, by playing it out at open mic, or by playing for your therapist or close friend. Be smart and look to share with people who know the Art of Listening. Take a healthy risk and share your song, and you will find that it not only empowers you, but it empowers others. I have found that once I get to this last step the emotion or heavy situation I was dealing with releases and it doesn’t come back.
Practicing these 4 Steps To Freedom can prevent emotional stress and physical pain and improves mental clarity and inner peace. It is an easy way to develop your emotional capacity which can be just the thing that sets you free!!