Today is the 4th of July, America’s Independence day. Hundreds of years ago, Americans fought a war to gain their independence from the Crown their territories belonged to, and though the independence won might be degraded and misunderstood in the modern day, the self-autonomy this holiday is meant to celebrate is probably a thing many of us here (at the FA) value regardless of nationality. So the exercises that follow shall be centered around the independence so many profess to cherish, in the spirit of Independence Day.
I. Observing Your Freedom
All of us, every day, do things because we want to and because we need to or are expected to. Pay attention to which category your actions fall into: For Yourself, and For Others. Throughout the day, be mindful of what you do and what you don’t do, the activities you’re engaging in and the ones you refrain from. Catalogue them, track them to the best of your abilities. Observe how much you are doing because you freely choose to, and look for what you do to satisfy the needs, expectations, and decisions of others.
Whether you confine this exercise to a solitary day or to a period of one week, review the actions, inclinations, and activities you’ve catalogued and evaluate them with the following questions in mind: Do I allow the expectations of other people in my life to stop me from doing things I enjoy or benefit from? Do I rebel without purpose? What are my tendencies? Am I as Independent as I want to be? (Try to discern he patterns that emerge, to understand what the details indicate on a bigger scale.) What (if anything) needs to change?
In your review, go into details as much , or as little, as you like while evaluating your observations. And summarize your overall conclusions. If there were patterns you didn’t like the first time around, repeat the exercise once more, and in the next review of your logged actions and activities, evaluate how well or how poorly you implimented the necessary changes.
II. Observing The Freedom Of Others
Observe the people around you on a daily basis. Your family, friends, acquaintences, anyone you can observe well. It’s recommended that you hone in on one or to people. Take note of their actions, of the activities they’re participating in, the tasks they take on, and note the ones they avoid. Watch for what they do because they must, and what they do to satisfy others. Pay attention to what they do because they want to, whether it’s simply voluntary or it’s in spite of the people the interact with.
As with the first exercise, it’s suggested that you do this for one day, or for one week. Review all the actions, activities, and tendencies altogether, and evaluate them with the following questions in mind: Are they rebellious more often than not? (Or) Do they try to please others? How independent do you think this person believes him or herself to be? Does their overall behavior line up with how the see themselves, or how you see them?
In in evaluating your observations overall, the more you know the person and the more time you spend around them, the more observations you can make and the more accurate they can be. Further pursuit of this isn’t necessarily called for at this point. However, if you want to move forward with this exercise, then share your observations with the person (or people) you’ve payed the most attention to or are closest to.
If they seem receptive, make suggestions, repeat the exercise (privately), and determine as best you can whether they implimented your advice or ignored it. It is not recommended, in most cases, to inform them of the deliberate nature your observations had. If the interactive part of this exercise is pursued, a casual conversation is suggested in which you can share your findings without explaining they were a subject of an exercise.
Observing Your Freedom centers around you, the individual; the second focuses on the people surrounding you, centering around one or more people you know. It’s completely understandable if anyone wants to refrain from sharing or following up with Observing The Freedom Of Others, as it requires a more interactive aspect some might be uncomfortable with, but the exercise itself can still be done the first time around without including follow up.
Additionally, if anyone prefers to do one over the other (rather than both), that’s totally permissible and even encouraged. For those interested in trying both, it would be wise to do each one independently of the other, not concurrently. Regarding the appearance of a passive nature in these two exercises, don’t forget that fully pursuing either one of the two requires action and subsequent evaluation of successes and failures.
(OTP 7-4-12: Observing Freedom (Happy 4th Of July!) | Anyone that comes across this is welcome and encouraged to try it out, regardless of membership, aspect affiliation, or lack thereof.)