Wisdom Freedom According to Wanderlust Wanderlust staff shares stories of freedom and release. By Wanderlust Photo By Ali Kaukas We all wish to find our personal freedoms. What do you want to let go? Maybe negative thoughts, comparison, toxic relationships? Expectations, or the ego? In this piece, we asked Wanderlust teachers, staff, and presenters the big question: How are you freeing yourself? Freedom means to act and think without hindrance. And while we tend to think of external blocks to freedom, we can create our own internal barriers that prevent us from finding true independence. Through sharing our own fears and dreams, we find that we are not alone. Our struggles are often just as universal as they are personal. Control what you can, and let the rest fly free. I am freeing myself from focusing on him or her or them and what they can give me and revealing how I can do for myself what I would like to receive from others. I want to feel desired, lovable, worthy, recognized, seen, safe. I don’t believe I am horrible for wanting this from others but I do believe that I am working an emptiness out of my emotional body that wants real change. Because I see where freedom lies. I really do feel worthy of true love. – Erica Jago, Wanderlust Presenter I am letting go of the need to know what comes next. To let control go and surrender to whatever is being offered at this present moment. This helps me stay in the flow of life and I am more connected to the moment and those around me. When I’m settle in this moment, I am more peaceful and can appreciate life so much more! – Joan Hyman, Yoga Teacher and Wanderlust Presenter Last summer I spent five months road tripping all 50 states alone. I think that a lot of emotional freedom comes with physical freedom. I learned in real time how to change a tire when I was 23 miles down an abandoned dirt road and got a flat. It took (a lot) of mental and physical strength to do that and taught me to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, because I was strong enough to do it. Ultimately I believe that it takes strength to be free. – Amanda Crooks, Administrative Associate of Integrated Partnerships Every day I get better and better at honoring my body for the season she’s in rather than trying to get her to go back in time. I’m in the process of freeing myself from the idea that to be skinny is to be better or that my worth is determined by how I look. How am I freeing myself? By paying attention to my monthly cycles and planning my time around how I feel on any given day. I’m listening to my body and feeding her what she wants to be fed instead of restricting her. I’m putting down my fork when I’m full. I’m moving to feel good rather than look good (while knowing that feeling good makes you look good!) It’s a journey, that’s for sure, but each day I feel freer and freer and more and more at home in my skin. – Kate Northrup, Wanderlust Presenter Freedom from judgement—from others and from myself. I feel most “free” when I give myself permission to be awesomely OK with who I am in this moment. -Michaela Best, Senior Account Manager I want to free myself from the urge and effort to control things that are outside of my control. It’s tempting to spend way too much time and energy fighting things that won’t ever change. By releasing this compulsion, I free up my resources to dedicate where they will actually make a difference. This works on the mat and in life: control the things that you can, but let go of the things that you can’t. -Sage Rountree, Yoga Teacher and Wanderlust Presenter My biggest work at the moment is freeing myself from assumption. My hope and efforts are towards being more open, more curious, more inquisitive for learning sake, rather than to disprove or discredit. In other words, returning to innocence, inner-sense, and everything in between. – Caley Joyner, Yoga Teacher Stuck in traffic in the back of a Lyft, I decide it’s the perfect time to tend to my neglected dating app. Yet after only a few minutes of swiping, my energy starts to wane. This is my struggle, each step I take toward my desire to be partnered, something gets in my way. I put on the Blindfold and Dance for an answer that comes immediately. The pain of losing my first love when I was in the Army in Israel still lives in the corners of my heart. And so I take this pain to the Dance floor, I put the Blindfold back on and in the seclusion of darkness I dance to find freedom in trust and heal my heart once and for all. – Parashakti Sigalit Bat-Haim, Yoga Teacher I’ve always been afraid of getting stuck in a rut—so much so that I often find myself flitting from one thing to the next without giving myself time to absorb, learn, and process. Stability doesn’t have to feel stifling; routine doesn’t have to be a rut. This summer, I free myself from the need to always be moving onto the next thing, and give myself permission to be truly invested in the here and now, even if it’s not pushing me onward and upward in obvious ways. -Lisette Cheresson, Digital Community Director For a long time, a core character trait of mine has been to please others. As I have evolved both professionally and personally, I am less of a ‘people pleaser’ however my truth is: the desire to put others happiness above my own still creeps up for me. I continue to work through this and let this go as I know at the root of it is insecurity and worthiness issues. So many of us have have this core character trait. My intention is to free myself from this by being present, aware and tuned into my heart rather than my head. My heart knows my worthiness and my soulful purpose, it knows that I can say no to others and yes to myself and allow myself to soar the way I truly long to. -Aimee Raupp, Wanderlust Presenter I am currently working on freeing myself from negative self image. It takes a lot of self talk and constant reminders: I am smart enough, I am capable, I am a good person. If the voice in my head was audible – nobody else would be able to get a word in. Self talk has been an instrumental tool in allowing myself to squash negative thinking and push my boundaries. Even though I may be scared or anxious in certain situations, I remind myself that I can handle anything and do it anyway. Once I overcome even the smallest decision I doubted myself in—it becomes a triumph and gives me the oomph I need to keep moving. -Kelly Casey, Associate Event Manager The process of knowing myself has been a great unraveling. Over time, and with practice, I have learned to liberate myself from false ideas about who I am, unbound from limiting beliefs about that which I am capable of—freeing myself from the confines of my mind. The discomfort of broadening perspective is integral to continued personal and spiritual growth. I spent much of my life operating from my ego until I became very sick and it nearly killed me—one year ago on the Fourth of July. The blessing of this metaphorical unspooling led me back to the wisdom of my heart; my internal compass. She has yet to lead me astray. – Andrea Rice, Yoga Teacher and Wanderlust Presenter I free myself from toxic relationships that are no longer an energetic match. Being a sensitive person, other people’s energy drastically affects me. When I was younger it was much harder to severe toxic ties due to loyalty a people-pleasing streak. Now, in my 30s after doing the necessary work to get truly know myself better, confusion and fear have been replaced with clarity and action, making it much easier to release misaligned relationships with ease and grace. The proverbial “they” says we are the culmination of the five people we spend the most time with. I encourage you to take inventory, covet your own time and energy and give it away judiciously with a focus on symbiotic relationships. – Christa Orecchio, Wanderlust Presenter Consciousness plus thoughts is the mind. Consciousness minus thoughts is Infinite Creative Freedom. We do the work of yoga to release attention from limits; to recognize this Freedom within. -Scott Schwenk, Meditation Instructor Freedom is equal parts magical and terrifying. But the choice is always ours. I am not the doubts, thoughts, labels or feelings I experience. I am made of soul and universe stuff, just like you. I choose to use my asana practice to find light and clarity through movement so I can physically let that stuff go. I always choose to keep my mantras close to my heart. (Be here now. It’s all connected. What’s meant for me will always be for me.) But there are no shortcuts to freedom. Fight for it, demand it daily and allow your beautiful life to unfold as it should. -Heather Chmielewski, Retail Manager I am always collecting; memories, ideas, thoughts, things. I am always letting go; shedding, freeing anything I’ve accumulated that is a hinderance. It is a cyclical process and, as if it isn’t hard enough, the goal of “freedom” always changes! There is always MORE! Like a yoga pose, at first the challenge is in one area of the body and as that eases, it is somewhere else! The challenge moves from the body, to the mind, to the spirit and back—each cycle taps a little deeper to also deepen the lessons learned. Always freeing, always learning, always more. -Melissa Masser, Ticketing Systems Manager There is power in routine. If my body knows what nourishment it can expect, then it can perform at a higher level than when it does in the throes of unpredictability or abandonment. I trust myself when I care for self. Awareness of instinct. There is something to be said about flexibility too. The old saying ‘bend without breaking’ is resounding when finding one’s edge, or limitations. Say no when you need to. Know when you need to. Knowing myself is the ultimate sense of freedom. -Karen Cygnarowicz, Writer I’d very much like to shed my tendency to grasp, onto little habitual patterns I assume will make me happy, but only provide fleeting pleasures. It provokes behaviors and emotions on extreme opposite sides. Sometimes I’m up and sometimes I’m down. I want to be neutral, subtly excited about the small things in life. I want to free myself of grasping onto being someone, something. I don’t have to be AMAZING. It doesn’t have to be the BEST, for me to be happy. Life is a wonderful thing, all on its own. I want to truly and practically understand this, and acquire the full capacity to receive it all, just as it comes. – Matt Phippen, Yoga Teacher and Wanderlust Presenter I free myself from fearful assumptions, and all of their noisy whisperings. This sort of mental clutter prohibits in the moment living, and prevents me from finding the small joys I know to be present. For me, letting go of this fear is to let go of the need to see the future. I chose to accept the unknown, and to hold faith in life’s little delights. -Amanda Kohr, Editor Freedom is moving beyond your self-imposed limitations. To be free, you have to move beyond the confined space of your internal dialogue. -Katie O’Neill, Executive Admin and Special Projects I give myself permission to say “no” because in doing so, I am respecting my own boundaries, my energy level, my whole Self. There is so much freedom, liberation, moksha in embodying my truth – trusting that I am doing all that I can and not feeling guilty for saying “no” to doing more, more, more. -Justine Malick, Yoga Teacher and Wanderlust Hollywood Social Media Coordinator Want more inspiration from Wanderlust? Visit us at our Hollywood Center or check out our locations for summer festivals.