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Last week we looked at an unusual wish list: 5 outcomes we would most wish for in life—5 things we would really want to be able to say about our lives as we come down to our final chapter.

Now why on earth should we think about that on a Monday? Because you can count on it: the things you would most wish for then are the things that matter most today.

Here’s the first one: At the end I want to know I’ve had a life well liberated—that I’m a free spirit. I’m not thinking about a tattoo—though that would be fine. I’m thinking about some lines from a poem by Hafiz:

Forget every idea of right and wrong any classroom ever taught you

Because an empty heart, a tormented mind, unkindness, jealousy and fear

Are always the testimony you have been completely fooled!

Turn your back on those who would imprison your wondrous spirit…

He’s saying your spirit is a wondrous thing, but it doesn’t do well in prison. It needs to soar!

He’s right: it’s an awful thing to be a prisoner of something else—to live for years as a prisoner of fear, or a prisoner of failure, or a prisoner of selfishness or cynicism. Or maybe it’s something really bad that happened to you—something that never should have happened. But it has dominated you and kept you from living.

I’ve done some bouts with some of those, and it’s no way to live. We’re meant to be free. Unfortunately, we don’t learn that kind of freedom in school! A person can get straight As and read a thousand books and follow the rules…and still have an empty heart.

We need a different kind of classroom—one that keeps our spirits free and our hearts full. We need something a little deeper than school learning. We need wisdom.

Thoreau, wrote: “Not by constraint, not by severity shall you have access to wisdom but by abandonment and childlike mirthfulness.” Now that’s the school we need!

He’s saying, if you’re going to tap into the wisdom that keeps your spirit free, you’ll have to have some fun with it! And is there anything more free than a child having fun? I watch them, and I’m amazed at the things they figure out.

And we have that child—that wisdom—in us. We can tap into that “childlike mirthfulness,” we can bring a spirit of playfulness to work, to relationships, to everyday moments, even to dealing with problems. We can bring a spirit of abandonment—turning loose of the things that would trap us, keeping our hearts light, and giving our whole self to whatever we do. And the more we do, the freer we’ll be.

You may need to create some quiet space where you can access that wisdom. But the wisdom is there, it’s in you. It always has been.

And at the end, how good to be able to say, “Yes, I got trapped a few times, but I always found a way to break out and live! I’ve had a life well liberated. I am a free spirit.”

Tattoo or not.