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I touched down safely from my wonderful trip and went straight into the hectic and overwhelming preparations for Passover.  In my exhausted state, I cooked way too much food (oh wait, I always cook way too much food) and sat down wearily at the Seder table to discuss freedom.
It was really easy for me to talk about freedom because I had just had 2 weeks of freedom away from work and family responsibility.  The discussion turned to how horrible it must have been to be a slave and how lucky we are to be free today.  My younger son piped up that he was not free at all because he lived a life governed by rules at home and high expectations at school.
We tried to explain to him that there is a big difference between being enslaved and having to do homework.  He agreed with that fact but would not back down on his argument that he was far from free.
Truthfully, although we live in an environment (fortunately) where we have relative freedom of choices, movement and speech and nobody ruling over us and beating us with a stick at every wrong turn, there may as well be a slave master watching over us.
Because we seem to be our own slave masters – we constantly beat ourselves up.
Ideas of never being good enough, never having enough, not being able to please others, not living up to others’ expectations of us, putting far too much pressure on ourselves, aiming for perfection and never finding happiness in the moment that we are in – these are all forms of ‘slavery’.
We are never going to be free until we allow ourselves to soar – to be true to ourselves and free from expectation, to let go of perfection and just enjoy the process.  To enjoy the moment instead of wishing for bigger things.  To be grateful for what we have rather than thinking that we will be happy if we had more.
You have the ability to be free – if you choose it.
Nobody else is going to set you free except for yourself.
Right now, right this moment, take in a deep breath and free yourself from all of those unnecessary stressors.
You will be amazed at how much more you can do when you give up the shackles – and throw away that big stick please.