One of the first things I try to do upon rising in the morning is to meditate for five to ten minutes. Since it is so early in the morning, I often use a guided meditation from one of the apps I like to use. No thinking required.

This is such a sacred time for me because it sets the tone and intention for my day. During these guided meditations, I have been amazed by some of the words or phrases that are spoken in the meditation. They land on me in such unusual ways. My heart, my curiosity, and even my body can feel a shift.

It is amazing how a single word can shift everything within me, taking me on a deep journey. One morning, “freedom” was the word that rented space within me for days. Parts of me have always associated the word with Independence Day and all things external. When I asked Siri the meaning of the word “freedom”, the first explanation that came up was, “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” Although I was thinking about freedom in a more external context, there are definitions that point to the internal experience of a person as well. Truly, they are intertwined.

As I began to wonder more about the word freedom, it became more personal and closer to me. I asked myself, “How do I experience freedom internally within my daily life?” I just kept hitting a wall. A part of me kept thinking about all the responsibilities in my life, which at times, feels so constraining and overwhelming – the very opposite of what freedom ought to feel like. I am longing for that internal experience of freedom.

Then it hit me. The experience of both internal and external freedom for me is when I am paddle-boarding at the local county park. It is so serene. A place where eagles, turtles, fish, trees, water, sky, and everything beyond connect. So expansive in every way. I feel such joy even thinking about being out on the water on my “mini boat”.

I’d like you to take a moment and wonder…

Where are the moments of joy in your life?

Where do you sense that inner freedom of peace and serenity?

How does your body, heart, and mind respond to this sense of freedom?

To experience inner freedom, one needs to be intentional. Freedom needs to be cultivated. Do not leave it to chance.

As summer dances through our days and nights, may you discover and experience inner freedom. May the fruits of freedom, joy, and serenity be with you on your journey this season.