Independence Day: the day to celebrate the many freedoms of life in the good ole US of A. I am grateful to our forebears for establishing the many liberties that this country enjoys today; that make this the country to which people immigrate. No Berlin Walls here….well, actually no Berlin Walls anywhere these days, but I think you see my point. People want to come here, not leave here.

But does freedom guarantee happiness? Actually, no, our founding fathers gave us the freedom to pursue happiness. They never promised we’d find it. That’s a journey we travel on our own. The ultimate freedom is personal and spiritual. We carry it within us, in our souls. But we can get a little guidance along the way, as I discovered while reading Diane Lang’s “Creating Balance and Finding Happiness”. Ms. Lang’s goal is to empower people to find their inner balance, released from the emotional baggage that we carry around; the emotional baggage that weighs us down and prevents us from being in the moment, being our true selves…...being free.

The freedom within the soul, emotional freedom, is the basis of all freedom, the foundation for all true happiness. We are never free if we are making decisions through the veil of defenses that we carry from past hurts. Emotional freedom creates a balance that can’t be upended by outside events or people because it comes from a freedom in our soul. But how can we rid ourselves of the ghosts from our past and attain emotional freedom? Lang says we always have a choice and we can choose to live in the present, where we are free and calm, but it takes some work. And that’s the first thing I noticed about “Creating Balance”: it’s a work book, right down to the spiral binding. Not just theory, but lots of exercises for the areas that you identify as your problem. And she includes options too. Not into yoga or meditation, no problem….try pet therapy, pay it forward, make a collage, keep a journal, work on your budget, develop a routine. Lang describes paths to happiness in all areas of your life.

For instance, Lang talks about people that I call energy vampires; people who are constantly negative and who drain our energy. We all have them in our lives: at work, at home, in our social circles. Lang recommends an exercise called “snap to awareness” to bring attention to these vampires, as well as other issues. Wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it every time someone around you is negative or begins to sap your energy. You might be surprised how red your wrist is at the end of the day. I even decided to “snap to awareness” every time I was the negative party. Ouch….what red wrists I had….

Lang says you might need to remove negative people from your life, or at least reduce your face time with them, because negativity is contagious and you don’t want it to latch on to you. By the way, she says happiness and positive attitudes are contagious too so keep happy, positive people close to you.

Lang doesn’t leave you stranded in a state of awareness, with no solutions. She has lots of suggestions as to what to do once you’ve identified the issues, but you’ll need to read the book to discover the solutions. ( Or better yet, attend her free talk on “Happiness: Living an Optimistic Life Style”, July 21st at 7 PM, sponsored by Empowerment Fitness at the Lawrence Shopping Center. Additional details on Facebook, or by contacting me.

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Author's Bio: 

Naurene Donelly Antoniotti is a Social Worker, Reiki Master/Teacher, tarot card reader and a student of many healing modalities. She is the founder of the Learning Center which offers a wide variety of classes exploring holistic and metaphysical topics. There is a monthly Psychic Development Circle and a monthly Essential Oils Study Group. A free report on Essential Oils is available at www.WellnessOils.Info. For a complete list of events and activities, visit or Or contact Naurene at or 609.278.9061, especially if you have any questions on holistic or metaphysical modalities.