Freedom Blog

Monday, November 26, 2012


No Limits | The Freedom Blog


Written by Steven Griggs |

“Integrity has no need of rules”
Albert Camus

“Never separate the life you live from the words you speak”
Paul Wellstone

“Integrity is not so much a value in itself; it is rather the value that guarantees all other values”

I think we have all been raised to be honest, to always tell the truth.

Since childhood we’ve been told the stories of store keeper Abraham Lincoln being meticulous about not taking advantage of his customers and the honesty of George Washington who got carried away with his new little hatchet and cut down his father’s cherry tree.

We understand what honesty and truthfulness is. And most of us probably try to be honest and truthful.

But somewhere along the line some of us started to modify our commitment to honesty. Somehow being honest became more of a matter of convenience, a matter of expediency.

It started small, maybe with just a slight exaggeration or a small bit of non-disclosure.

We began to tell ourselves that it’s not really a “lie” and that, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. “It’s just a small white lie….”. Then we would search our mind and come up with a variety of justifications and rationalizations and the guilt or uneasiness would go away.

Eventually we became so used to little whites lies that we stopped noticing.

In time it became easier and easier to “stretch” the truth or tweak it a little bit here and there to smooth the situation or enhance it.

But this is dangerous and little white lies can grow and evolve into a hard wired way of thinking, creating a serious disconnect from reality. You can never be free living with deceit. It works to undermine you and if not eliminated can expand into something much darker. 
Don’t go there. 

Honesty does matter.

At our core we know what is wrong and right. We cannot be free if we carry one little bit of guilt or have any misgivings. About anything.

Dishonesty in any amount becomes a heavy burden.

Integrity starts within you. You have to become totally honest with yourself if you are to ever be honest with anyone else.

What do you do? How do you start?

This is tricky because we are so used to lying to ourselves that we don’t even know we’re doing it.

How many people keep their New Year’s resolutions? No one keeps their resolutions and no one expects you to keep yours. It’s almost like a national agreement to lie to ourselves.
How many diets have we all started? How long did you last? Several months, a few weeks or several days? Again, not keeping our promises is almost accepted as normal behavior.

So, again, it all starts with you. You must begin the habit of keeping every promise you make to yourself. You might not be used to having conversations with yourself but you must stop saying things to yourself just because it sounds good or to appease your guilt. “I'll start tomorrow....” or “I don't feel good today, I'll start next week...". Who are you fooling? You are simply soothing your ego mind. It wants everything now with no effort. 

So you have to stop the lying. You have to stop being wishy-washy and flaky.

Don’t say it if you can’t do it.

If you can’t do it or aren’t able to right now, fine. Tell yourself I’m not ready yet. This can begin the dialogue. You are being honest with yourself. When you are ready then commit and keep your promise.

Get off the cycle of promises not kept. Get real with yourself and start meaning what you say.

Commit to start today. The past doesn’t matter nor does the future. It’s just now.

Right now.

From now on do not make any promise to yourself that you aren’t prepared to keep.

This is the first step to becoming a person of integrity. Eventually this personal mantra will expand into your dealings with everyone else.

Build integrity, keep your promises. This is a huge step towards being free.


Thursday, November 15, 2012


No Limits | The Freedom Blog


Written by Steven Griggs |

“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. 
It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it. 
 Sylvia Boorstein

“Attachment creates illusion”
 Buddhist Saying

“He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment”
 Meister Eckhart

What is detachment? How do you define it?

I have heard some people describe being detached as if it were something negative, as someone who is disconnected or aloof.

Detachment is nothing of the kind. It is simply the opposite of being attached.

It means you are not attached to any outcome. You don’t have any expectations because you aren’t attached emotionally to what happens next.

What happens is what happens, you simply accept it and make your next move.

Expecting “something” and being disappointed or angry when it doesn’t happen is considered a normal response in our culture.

But is it really necessary to set yourself up for never ending disappointment?

And having expectations sets you up for continual disappointment; it keeps you on the razor’s edge of happy and unhappy.

Why is this happening?

It’s because our ego mind always has its agenda. It wants things to be predictable. It craves predictability and it hates to be contradicted.

The ego mind loves to be in the driver’s seat, and if you let it drive it will create all kinds of chaos and stress for you. You can never keep it happy.

So how do you take back control from the ego mind and start driving the car?

You must learn to become an observer.    

One technique I use is to imagine I am looking down at myself from a place above and to the right of me.  It’s almost as if I am watching someone else. As I watch I can “see” what is really happening to me and I can tell myself how to react.

It’s almost like there is a bit of stop action going on. The part where you would normally react is slowed down and you can actually choose a different response, a more thought out or moderated response or no response at all.

Try it.

Start watching yourself. Begin to see the reactions you have to situations. Begin to feel your buttons being pushed.

It becomes very interesting.

You will learn to see yourself beginning to become angry or have an emotional reaction and then, like a surfer you dive under it and let the emotion wash over you like a wave. You don’t feel the emotion, you go under it and come up on the other side.

That’s the best way to describe it. It is an amazing feeling. It will change you.

There are constant opportunities to practice your responses. Anytime your ego mind is contradicted you get a reaction. Test yourself.

For example, you want to go for a hike so you want tomorrow to be a sunny day, but it rains. So you accept the rain and remind yourself that another sunny day will come. You tell yourself you’ll go to the movie instead.

Watch your reaction and modify your response.

A more challenging opportunity is in the area of interpersonal relationships. These are much more emotionally charged but you can still deal with them in the same way.

Usually, your mate or partner will be the best button pusher of them all…..

By watching and observing you will be able to step back from the constant seesaw of frustration or anger.

You’ll step into a new, peaceful place. A place where you realize that almost everything we worry about, obsess about, or are afraid of, is really nothing…..

Detachment is a major step in becoming truly free.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What is Freedom?

No Limits | The Freedom Blog

What is Freedom?

Written by Steven Griggs |

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask.” 
Jim Morrison

“Freedom means you are unobstructed in living your life as you choose. Anything less is a form of slavery.” 
Wayne Dyer

“If society fits you comfortably enough, you call it freedom.”
Robert Frost

What is freedom? It sounds like an easy question, but what does freedom mean to you?

Are you free? I mean really free?

It can be really difficult to think about freedom, especially any lack of it because we are so conditioned and habitual in our daily lives. We conduct our lives within the framework of freedom that we have grown up with, within the structure of our culture. Because we have grown up this way the boundaries and limits imposed on us have become more or less invisible and normal, we don’t really notice any limitations or lack of freedom.
But we do have limitations and restrictions on our freedom. Most are quietly hovering in the background, not too obtrusive but there nevertheless, watching, compiling and following.

Examples would be RFID (tracking) tags embedded in all sorts of consumer products and clothing, cell phone tracking, GPS chips implanted in our vehicle’s computer, chips implanted in passports, driver’s licenses, and credit cards, security cameras at every intersection (look up), facial recognition software in public spaces, and government eavesdropping on every phone conversation, email, or text you send.

This isn't the future, this is now.

Did you ever wonder how law enforcement always seems to find certain criminals so quickly? They always say it was a routine traffic stop…...

This is our reality. This is where we find ourselves at this particular time in our history. But this isn't a rant against our government or society. It is a commentary on freedom. 
I’m not advocating revolution, I am advocating awareness.

Be aware. If you aren't already keenly aware of what is going on around you, begin. 

Learn to watch.

Living a free life starts with awareness. Not humming along in 5th gear, flashing through life, but noticing, paying attention……

I define freedom as the lack of restriction.  The definition of restriction is limitation and the definition of limitation is restriction. They are one and the same thing.

There are two ways you can be restricted: in your mind and in the physical world. We've talked about externally imposed restrictions and those aren't going away.

That leaves our internal restrictions.

It is our internal restrictions that we need to understand and if we desire true freedom from restriction or limitation, that’s what we need to work on. That's where it all starts.

For example, in my article 15 minutes to freedom. I talk about being able to drop everything and leave for the airport in 15 minutes. I know that this is unrealistic for most people, probably even for 99.9% of us but it is a way to gauge your level of flexibility, or conversely, your rigidity.

You are probably thinking that not a lot of people really want to jet off to a far corner of the earth on 15 minute’s notice and I agree that this is an extreme example but it can serve as one end of the scale, yes, perhaps the far end…..

Stuart Wilde talks about how most of us live in tick-tock, the 9-5 daily grind, within the dull hum of repetition and habit, the comfort of routine.

You might be saying you are not in tick-tock because you’re self-employed or you have a great degree of freedom in your daily life and don’t really see it as anything rigid.

But again, I am not talking about a factory type of rigidity. I am talking about more of a sleep walking type of existence, the same thing every day in slightly different mixtures, in slightly different settings, in slightly different contexts, but nevertheless mostly the same thing. We settle into a life that has become a quiet monotone of comfortable repetitions.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not judging or attaching anything negative to any of this. 

I’m just like you.  I have created my life structure, heaped on a ton of responsibilities and made many commitments. I've coasted through many, many years in a safe, comfortable routine.

But I have decided to wake up, lessen my burden and restructure to create a more fluid and flexible lifestyle. 

We have all “created” our life. We have created obligations and a life structure that is not easily changed at the drop of a hat. We have a mate or partner, children, maybe grandchildren, a home, financial obligations, and commitments.

Mostly we are deeply embedded within our own structure. As Jim Morrison said, “You are locked in a prison of your own devise”

Maybe your life is exactly the way you want it to be, if so, fantastic. But maybe, if you’re like me, you have begun to question your structure and are beginning to see how it has weighed you down and actually encroached on your freedom. You know you need to make changes.

First it is crucial to create a picture of what you want your life to look like and then to see where you are now in terms of your vision or plan for your life.

To help in doing that let’s create a freedom scale, a way to help us take a look at how we stack up on the freedom scale.

Let’s place the extreme of 15 minutes to freedom at one end of the spectrum, say at 10, this being the most freedom and Stuart’s “Tick Tock” life which has the least amount of freedom and place it at 1 on the scale.

Now look at your life. Where would you place yourself on this scale?

Are you in the middle, at say a 5? Or are you closer to 3, where you have less freedom? Or maybe you are at a 7 with a larger degree of freedom?

Please remember that this is just a way of getting a snapshot of your current level of freedom. This is a way of setting up a basis for contrast, to see where you are now and help you to get a picture of where you want to be.

And again, I’m not saying you have to dump everything today and leave for Greece. There are many ways to adjust your current situation without massive changes, without upsetting all your constituents.

The first step to move our freedom needle towards 10 (maximum freedom) involves gaining control over your mind. You must free your mind from the programing you have received since childhood. You cannot be truly free if you are stuck in old, repetitive patterns.

Here are 6 things you can work on to begin the process:

1.       DETACHMENT. Learn to detach from outcomes.
2.      INTEGRITY. Build integrity, keep your promises.
3.      ACCEPTANCE. Learn to define nothing, accept what is.
4.      DISCIPLINE. Become disciplined. Control your thoughts & actions.
5.      NATURE. Become aligned to nature. Remember where we came from.
6.      LIMITING BELIEFS. Learn how to release limiting beliefs. Open up.

These are not really steps but processes that address your mind, the mental aspect of you. I will address the other aspects of each of us in a later article.

Since you never really “get there”,  you just continually apply these processes. If you make these your habits, the way you operate, they will become more and more automatic.

The next step, number 7, would be your living, how you make your money.

How do you make a living? Most of us have or have had jobs. We have worked for someone else. Can you be free working for someone else? To a degree.

Does this mean you have to quit your job and start your own business? Not yet.

True, to be at a 10 in terms of the freedom scale, you would need to be self-employed. But there is more to it than that. Simply having your own business does not make you free, actually unless it is the right kind of business and run in the right way, you will be less free than if you were working for some else. It can become a trap.

The ideal business must give you not only financial freedom but time freedom and location freedom, I call it FINTILOC.

I will talk more about these 6 steps to help your mind, your mental aspect and the Money aspect of our life in later posts.

In the meantime, begin paying attention. Become more aware.

Friday, November 2, 2012


No Limits | The Freedom Blog


Written by Steven Griggs |

“Reality is merely an allusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
Albert Einstein

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
Pablo Picasso

“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.”
Earl Nightingale

What do you think is the major cause of our misery and pain?

It seems we’re always mad or frustrated about something: the rain, the snow, the neighbors, work, friends….., you know, it goes on and on.

But really, how can weather, other people or anything else “out there” cause us to feel anything?

They don’t and can’t.

Everything we experience is an interpretation, an opinion. Our mind attaches an emotional opinion of the event and feelings are then produced by that opinion. We then feel as if our feelings were caused by the event.

If you let this go too far you could live a very frustrated and unhappy life.

How can you end this seesaw of happy/angry, frustrated/accepting?

It all comes down to contradiction. Contradiction of the ego.

You want a clear, sunny day and it rains. You want to take a trip and your car breaks down. You wanted to spend time alone and friends knock on the door.

You expect one thing but something else shows up.

If you think about it the opportunities for frustration are constant. Every hour of every day brings you an opportunity to be frustrated.

But on the flip side it also brings you the opportunity to step out of this never ending struggle and learn to accept what is.

You actually have to train yourself to change or eliminate your opinions. Yes, train yourself. Reacting to circumstances is a very ingrained response that requires a bit of work to change.

It starts with not defining anything. You learn to not define or attach meaning to anything.

If it’s raining, accept rain. Do something else or go for a walk in the rain. In fact that is one way to begin the process of retraining your mind.

My teacher Stuart Wilde would always recommend walking in the rain as a way to tell your ego mind you are in charge.

The ego mind does not like to be cold or wet or uncomfortable. So make it uncomfortable!

I always seek out water to jump into, usually very cold water. But I do it to remind my mind that I am in charge (it’s kind of crazy telling yourself that you are in charge but crucial). 

Another way to push back against your ego mind is to accept everything that is presented to you.  Begin the practice of accepting what is presenting itself as much as possible. After a while it becomes automatic. 

(I always recommend that you not talk about what you are doing or explain yourself. It's best to keep your personal work to yourself.) 

If you are served a meal and it doesn’t taste great, so what? Eat the meal. Remind yourself that every meal is a gift. If you were starving would you criticize any food?

Of course not.  It is the height of arrogance to reject food.  

Once you realize that all frustration, anger, sadness or anything else comes from the mind’s opinion and the emotion attached to that opinion. Once you get that, you can change your opinion and begin to let it go.

Accept what is. Don’t define, don’t judge, don’t criticize.

By starting to accept more and push back less in your daily life you can begin to lift yourself up. This will begin the process of freeing you from the daily struggle against circumstances.

Don’t fight circumstances.

Relax, what it is, is what it is.


Thursday, November 1, 2012


No Limits | The Freedom Blog


Written by Steven Griggs |

“Depend upon it that if a man talks of his misfortunes there is something in them that is not disagreeable to him.”
Samuel Johnson

“I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do”
Joe Walsh

Have you ever found yourself blaming? Blaming something or someone that is the reason for your loss, your frustration, or your lack of progress?

You know, about anything that you feel you should have, would have had or could have had if it weren’t for _______________? Something you felt you were entitled to?

There are plenty of targets: the government, the schools, your parents, your childhood. Pick anything, the list is endless.

Mirriam-Webster defines entitlement as:
1.    a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract
2.   a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also : funds supporting or distributed by such a program
3.    belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges

As you can see entitlement mainly refers to benefits specified by law or a government program or the belief that one is deserving of or entitled to privileges.

So unless you are on some government program or own a country you aren’t really entitled to anything.

But you might say “I am entitled to my freedom”. And you would be wrong.

We aren’t entitled to anything. The freedom we take for granted is a gift from others (unless you are in the service), from earlier generations who have sacrificed. (Actually the feeling that we are entitled to our freedom has created a certain passivity in our culture and is one of the reasons we are quietly losing our freedom…. but more on that later.)

We aren’t “owed” anything.

What you have now or want in the future has depended and will depend upon your own actions, upon your efforts.

If you have traded your time for money to earn a living, that was your bargain. That was the deal you made.  

If you are an entrepreneur, you accepted the stress and pleasure of being in business for yourself and that was your bargain. That was your deal.

But in all cases, you are the driver. It is a choice you made and you reaped the results, whatever they were.

The second you look outside for a reason or for the cause of your current circumstances, you step into "victitlement".

Because believing that you are owed anything is being a victim, it is giving up your power by believing that things come from outside of you, from somewhere else. That life happens to you.

That is not true. You happen to life.

You are your creator. You visualize and through your actions (or inactions) you create your own reality.

You have created your current circumstances.  Whatever you have now or are doing now, whatever circumstances you find yourself in, you created.

And that is sometimes hard to accept…..

I am assuming you choose to be the master of your destiny and not answer to anyone. But for some that is uncomfortable and maybe not be achievable at this time. If so, for now you compromise and do what you have to do. You wait and plan until the time is right.

Your level of independence and freedom is a choice.

But wherever you are, you don’t get to complain. No one does.

By being a victim and feeling entitled you allow yourself to become a floating blob of helplessness, pushed by the currents of others, never consciously in control, always the victim.

“Waiting for someone or something to show you the way” as Pink Floyd says.

That would be living in a state of “victitlement”.

Accept responsibility and accept that you are in control, avoid victitlement and create the reality you choose.

It’s never too late.