by Melanie Butz | September 8, 2015 3:26 am
Several weeks ago, I spent my days sequestered to a courtroom to serve on a jury for a federal court case. All sorts of witnesses testified – including convicted felons as well as law-abiding citizens. There is nothing quite like seeing an imprisoned individual walking into the courtroom, literally with shackles on their hands and feet, to make you appreciate the freedom of life. Of course, it was the defendant’s own choices in their life that had brought on her consequence. In this case, a woman was tried and convicted of bank fraud by the United States Government. As she was hearing the jury’s decision of guilty on all counts, I wondered if the penal system would be the source in her life to find remorse and rehabilitation from wrong doings.
This opportunity to see the literal sense of imprisonment led me to wonder about our own shackles that bind us from mistakes within our past. Just as our penal system takes the committed to a space of solitude and confinement, how many of us have confined ourselves from socializing or felt so remorseful to a point of feeling imprisoned in our own lives?
Breaking down the chains and shackles
The emotional shackles that continue to constrict and weigh us down may actually be the source that lead us to freeing our minds and spirits. My hope is that the woman convicted may find that imprisonment will allow her to self-reflect and explore what matters most in her world. In the face of unpleasant emotion, we may find it excruciatingly hard to dive into the darkness of that what we fear most in our lives, but nothing will move us faster toward the light at the end of the dark tunnel then to truly understand the disbeliefs and misunderstandings of the shackles that keep us bound.
Challenges in our lives allow us to make a deeper connection. With better focus and witnessing the pain, it may reveal the actual meaning of the challenge. The next time adversity strikes, ask yourself, “What feelings are arising from this challenge? Do I want to be loved, accepted, trusted? Am I trying to take control of something?” When we embrace and understand where our feelings come from, it allows us to LEARN and to know we no longer need to be constricted by the challenge.
For some, it is easier to remain in the confinements of our past lives – but the richness in life is there for all to embrace right alongside all that we fear. It takes courage and just one small step toward ‘that light’ to begin to unravel that what binds us. Maybe it takes us crawling before we can walk, but eventually, one step forward will lead to many and, you may just find the freedom you so deserve.
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