As I lie in bed, that’s the sentence that shoots into my head as the beginning of today’s Freedom Letter.
Every day I wake up with my brain already on overdrive. Thoughts race past the things I need to do today, this week, this month, this year.
I force most of it on myself. I need to because I want to: prepare for the future I want to live. I’ve previously mentioned the paradox of freedom.
It doesn’t always feel right and therein lies part of the fear. I’m too reasonable – no, indoctrinated! – to just ditch everything that doesn’t make me happy here and now and fully devote myself to my dreams. At the same time, I know that at the end of their lives, most people regret not what they did, but what they didn’t do.
My greatest value is freedom and my head is full of tasks, obligations and dependencies. That simply doesn’t match!
You’re not stressed because you’re doing too much. You’re stressed because you’re doing too little of what makes you feel most alive.
My morning routine brings me back to my center: breathwork, drinking water, stretching, affirmations, supplements. Then I go outside. Sun, wind, rain or snow: I walk.
Daylight gives my internal clock an important impulse, it resets it every day. Movement calms my racing head and my thoughts begin to take shape.
Out of fear, into solutions.
Fear has an important function. It alerts you to danger, activates your body and mind for fight or flight. But from this moment on, it only stands in your way.
After my morning routine, I can channel my energy sensibly and put it into accomplishing my biggest task. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been busy finishing with and letting go of the past.
I wrote about this last week. I hold on to too many things: gear for hobbies I no longer pursue; ideas for blog posts I no longer want to write; eight-year-old photos that I haven’t edited perfectly yet.
Since I switched my digital photography to the RAW format, most of my work consists not of choosing the subject and the right exposure, but in post-processing on the computer. I develop a photo to tell the story that I saw with my eyes and felt with my heart. Sometimes this is a fast process, sometimes it takes physical and temporal distance to get right.
Because one of my greatest weaknesses is starting and not finishing something, I have accumulated a catalog of over 18,000 photos – unfinished, mind you!
Everything you do takes up a portion of your mental bandwidth: every note you want to review; every saved recipe you want to cook; every book you want to read; every unpaid invoice and every unprocessed email.
They all need some of your attention all of the time, even when you’re not consciously thinking about them. If you don’t complete them, they’ll be stuck in your head forever – until you eventually get overwhelmed with the simplest things.
I find the tasks in the endless expanse of the digital realm particularly treacherous. You don’t see them, but they’re still there, unnoticed, costing you the energy and attention you want to invest in other things.
I deleted my dating apps and decided to go three months without social media. Not only will I gain an incredible two to three hours a day, I will also regain control over large parts of my mental bandwidth.
The basic rule of decluttering – the trash is always the primary option – also applies to digital spring cleaning or the tasks you have been putting off for years.
When you take a critical look at your mental liabilities, you may be startled by the masses to which you have attached yourself. Have no fear! With the right mindset and the right tools, you can find your way to freedom.
I’m happy to help you!