Preview the Freedom Model Program


Freedom Model Program PreviewBefore you can begin writing your autobiography in your notebook, we want to explain the finer points of what constitutes the fabric of life: emotions, the mind, your body, and your Spirit. Understanding the components of what makes a human being a thinking, feeling and creative person can open you up to new information that can help transform your life.

Have you ever wondered why emotions such as anger and hate not only hurt the person who is the object of the anger or hate, but also the person who is harboring these negative emotions? Questions such as these have the potential to be life transforming. Looking just beyond the surface of your normal daily thoughts and learned habits is an empowering process...

...So, how do you deal productively with suffering that is caused by circumstances beyond your control? First, you must not feel singled-out by your suffering. It is a part of the human experience. Feeling alone just extends the period of grief and pain, keeping it in forefront of your mind. In a state of shock and deep sorrow, a person may sit and wonder how and why this could have happened. A person may be angry, may feel a deep loneliness, may feel like a failure or may feel abandoned and lost and/or disconnected from others. While in a stressful, deeply painful experience it is normal to experience irrationality and a dulled sense of your surroundings.

But through each phase from shock to acceptance, people can decide to be strong. They may have moments of near hopelessness, but still find the strength to survive another day. Thoughts are within the mind and cannot be the created by outside circumstances, unless, of course, a person so chooses. Happiness can exist in seemingly hopeless landscapes. But it is relative happiness, certainly not the type you experience when things are going great. Sometimes happiness is as simple as finding the inner strength to go on living. Time does heal. Happiness is relative to moments in time and circumstances...

...Because we can change how we feel about things, we can see the value of making decisions to have a better quality of life regardless of external circumstances. We can avoid pain by knowing our limits, knowing our values, knowing our desires, and knowing our abilities. Once you list these in black and white, you can use this knowledge for goal setting, and begin to guide this ship called life into safer waters...

...Change is uncomfortable and scares many people. It takes real work and energy. Fear of change and having to work for happiness often blocks people from fully applying these concepts into their lives. Many people who go through this program fall into that very trap, but there is a way out. As much as you may or may not intellectually grasp these concepts, they are meaningless until you experience some results. You have turned to alcohol and drugs so many times that you have deeply ingrained them as the solution to all of life's problems. This can be changed. It will take positive action and a new pattern to erase your negative thoughts forever. At some point you must experience concepts to truly understand them. If you have gotten hung up on overcomplicating things, keep in mind the saying: "Move the body and the mind will follow." In other words, move forward assuming the best and you will get better results than if you simply stay frozen in fear.

How do you treat the people who are around you right now; your fellow guests, your instructor, and the retreat house staff? Are you kind, considerate and a positive power of example? Remember this is a Social/Educational experience. This means that your success will be determined not only by how well you understand the lessons, but by how much effort you put into practicing the lessons right now. Many people learn how to have meaningful relationships with others for the first time in their lives while going through the program. Are you using your time to practice being a friend when it's difficult to be one, becoming more social, challenging yourself by trying to attain new personal dreams? Or are you spending all of your time being a passive victim and generally keeping to yourself, while quietly judging others?

There are a few daily habits we have found to be indispensable. Selfishness is one of the main causes of unhappiness, so try this: Be good for nothing! That is, be good for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Nothing will help you to understand the rewards of a positive lifestyle better than selfless action. Be kind and considerate to everyone in your life, starting with your roommates and other guests. When speaking with your family and friends back home, concentrate on listening to what they are saying; and make understanding with empathy and kindness your goal. Do nice things for others without expecting anything in return. Get out of your comfort zone and spend time doing what someone else needs or wants, rather than following your own desires. It will probably be uncomfortable, and no one will give you a medal for doing it, but eventually you will feel good about who you are and begin to feel a sense of real happiness. Remember that if you want friends you need to be a friend. In the next chapter you will begin the work of understanding how you have alienated yourself from the rest of the world. Then you will clearly understand how to stop hurting yourself and those around you. Let's get started!

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