"You know, being a free spirit is not all it's cracked up to be," said Eileen, a 75-year-old woman who had just finished listening to my presentation on what it means to be a free spirit as the founder of The Free Spirit Project. She proceeded to tell me a story about a group of self-proclaimed free spirits in the '60s who went up to the mountains outside of Calgary, Canada, and gave up everything they knew to follow their bliss. It all sounded wonderful except that these people left behind families, jobs, and a myriad of other responsibilities and never returned to them.
I could see that I would have my work cut out for me if to convince Eileen that being a "free spirit" is actually a good thing, and that it is, in fact, our very nature. In the simplest of terms, a free spirit is anyone who strives to live their life to the fullest regardless of what that life looks like. It doesn't mean you shirk your obligations, leave your family behind, and go to an ashram for six months. My version of a free spirit allows you to be YOU—with all your perceived faults and limitations—doing your best to live your life to its fullest potential.
These are the traits that exemplify a free-spirited woman today:
As a free spirit, you know that you are an amazing being (and so is everyone else)—even though you may not feel that way all the time.
You make decisions that are the best for you and don't let others hold you back or restrict you. But you come from a place of accountability and responsibility for your actions.
You choose to look at the world in a positive way regardless of all the negativity you see around you. Your glass isn't half-empty or half-full—your glass is full and you are going to keep it that way!
As a free spirit, you don't shy away from change because you know that there is nothing more satisfying in life than being able to look back and say "I did it!"
You won't stop reaching for your dreams just because others have told you you'll never make it. You KNOW you can!
You get back up when you've fallen. Even when the fall is a really big fall, you won't let it stop you from reaching for your dreams.
You get that the world is a place of unlimited possibilities, even if you're not able to tap into all of those possibilities in this moment.
What happens when you describe yourself as possessing each of these traits? Try them out. Say, "I am confident. I am independent," and so on. How does it feel to call yourself confident, independent, positive, courageous, determined, resilient, and self-assured? Do you feel intimidated or uncomfortable?
The most important thing to remember is that you don't have to be perfect to be a free spirit. You don't have to fully embody these traits in every moment to be a free spirit. All you have to do is set an intention to live your life to the best of your ability and strive to achieve the traits that are important to you.
It is up to you to make the changes in your life that bring you the joy and excitement life has in store for you. Your path is yours and no one else's. No one can do it but you. And that, my dear spirit, is the most freeing possibility of all.