I have been writing these last weeks about my journey into freedom and exploring how it impacts my family, how we grow, what we experience and how it feels.
Before I take the exploration any further, I wanted to really take a minute and explain what FREEDOM is and why it is so important to me and to our family and to our world.
But before I talk about what freedom is, let’s look at why the sense of freedom, as a fundamental source of identity, isn’t how life feels for most of us. We come into this world as pure beingness, a blank slate in essence. Through the actions and words of others, parents, siblings, grandparents and teachers mainly, we begin to craft an image of ourselves, based on THEIR beliefs of themselves and their world, what they believe is true and what they believe is false, what is possible in life and what is not. We unconsciously soak in these impulses, this stimuli and begin crafting our own stories, most FULL OF LIMITATION. Most of us do not question the validity of the mental conditions placed on us, we take them to be part of our history, part of who we are, where we came from, the story of our families, they way things are. We don’t realize or even question the randomness, the instability and the illusion of the “foundational” aspects of who we are.
Even though we live for decades in this illusion of identity, it is a beautiful thing!! Without the contrasts I have experienced in my life – the believing of all the things I WAS NOT, I would never have been able to see who I really was beyond all of that. And that sight is a gift beyond all other gifts. For many of us today, life is taking us to a point where we have no choice but to begin to question these “truths” of who we are. We begin to question if we really are as small and as unworthy as we were taught to believe. We begin to question the belief in our powerlessness. Something deep beneath the surface begins to rumble and move, getting our attention in the night or on our commute to work. And if we do not submerge this rumbling with fear and begin to breath into to them, giving the rumblings a little space in those moments, get curious, we begin to hear it’s voice…what does it say? WAKE UP. YOU ARE MORE THAN WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE….
When that voice becomes an undeniable part of your life you have no choice but to begin to question all of the assumptions, identities, expectations, stories that you have soaked in through out your life that make up the “you” you think you are. Each one is presented to you from the contexts of your life in order to examine. For me, when life throws me a situation where unworthiness or smallness is triggered, I have learned to be awake to that, to question the validity of the truth of that feeling. IS THAT TRUE? Is it true that I am small and powerless? NO. NO IT IS NOT even in the smallest bit true. From that resonance, I can then embrace the feeling of smallness. When we allow our feelings, even the ones that don’t feel good, to BE WITH US, to include them in as a part of the family, we become whole. That wholeness in essence, transforms those old identities into the truth of who we are. I do this over and over and over again, exposing layer upon layer of untruths, each time becoming more and more whole. This is true healing.
Freedom is what life WITHOUT these conditions dictating your thoughts, words and actions feels like! It is autonomy, integrity and deep wisdom that is now available to you at all times. It is about taking your life back, owning it again. Claiming dominion over your mind, your spirit, your gorgeous sacred being. You begin to understand just how sacred you are, and I don’t just mean the good and lovely parts of you, but all of you ~ the good, the bad and the ugly. Freedom is an opening, a widening, a expanding of the Truth of who you are, of the experience of being YOU. It is a shaking off of the old no matter what because there is this undeniable urge for busting out of the box you have lived in for so long and spreading your wings to their full expanse. It is about being ONE with life, feeling life course through your body in it’s aliveness, it is about breathing in air all the way to your toes, it is about saying yes when you want and no when you want, it is about a quiet mind, a mind where wisdom flows like water, where love is how you see the world and others and yourself, it is about confidence like never before, it is about wild creativity, wild self expression, wild love, sensuality in all your senses, it is about loving yourself deeply FIRST making no apologies for it or for you! It isn’t about a perfect life, it isn’t about life always feeling fantastic (because it won’t nor do you need it to anymore!), but it is about clarity and the understanding that you are so much MORE than anything you could ever experience, more than anything anyone has ever told you you were. This resting in yourself, your truth, your wisdom, your love, your FREEDOM that is true spirituality.
If you hear your own voice of freedom within you calling you forth into such a journey as you read this, I have to tell you it is THE MOST AMAZING thing that can ever happen to you. And yet it also comes with consequences and it is important to know this. Some people in your life will not understand why you would want that…why you would want or need freedom, autonomy. That is just because who you have been (the small one, the fearful one, the one needing rescuing, etc) has served a purpose in your relationships. Your smallness for example is fundamental in making another person feel BIG, important, special, “loved”. When you remove that from your relationships, there is a big chance that others will react negatively, the “you” that they have know is dying a sort of death. Life could get explosive with their attempts to pull you back into what they need from you, resuscitate the false you because they need that. Standing your ground in freedom is a challenging thing to do, but it is about not just setting yourself free, but others as well. Freeing yourself is the greatest act of love you can give yourself and the world.
I find it almost bizarre that some people in my life don’t understand my drive towards freedom and even more incredulous that they don’t want it for themselves! As women we are taught by or patriarchal culture to put ourselves last – to put others first. That “love” means being in relationships that serve the needs of other people over our own. We are taught not only to like it and that that is what “love” is but also that that is how it is period, that there is no way out, that this is life, “deal with it” and are made to believe that there is no hope for a life that feels free, where we are the captains of our own ships COMPLETELY. We are bread to be people pleasers extraordinaire at the cost of our most sacred joy. Ingerid, my teacher, calls it being the a la carte menu for others. I have been that. But now I say NO THANK YOU to those kinds of relationships in my life. I get to choose and I choose love that makes me feel free.
You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free. ― Hanh Nhat Thich.
In some of my closest relationships I have realized that there was never room for me – not the REAL me, not my emotions, not my desires, not my mistakes, not my messiness. Friends and family have been very attached to the me they wanted me to be. And I have needed them to be! I needed them to understand me, to see and experience that I was perfect, good, nice, joyful, happy, resourceful, prosperous, successful because that meant that I would be guaranteed love. Those were the conditions of our life, the conditions that bought you love, or so I was taught. But my life IS MESSY! It isn’t perfect! The ultimate egoic relationship demands that “I can’t be happy unless you are happy, be happy so that I can be happy!!” I have felt in my relationships that those close to me rushed in to “fix” me because my messy life made them uneasy, inharmonious, imbalanced and called then they called it “love”. But this condition of “perfection”, this intolerance for each other’s messy life, for a person’s whole life is not love, this is co-dependency. But I bless each one of these relationships! Because of them, because of the conditions I was shown, I was able to SEE my True Self and take ownership of her again.
The bottom line is that freedom is my RIGHT. It is your right too. Each one of us needs no permission to live our lives surrounded by things and people that make us feel good. I want to give that same gift of love that feels FREE to others around me. I want the love in our home to be REAL love, unconditional, free, gorgeous love! I want my children learn what FREEDOM in themselves and between others feels like and not settle for anything less in their relationships. Both my and my husbands journey into freedom is so precious to us because it is driven by unconditional love. I don’t believe any of us really know what true love is, what that feels like, I sure didn’t. True love without conditions or attachments feels free, in the moment, celebratory, glorious, wise and peaceful! And this freedom isn’t something we are NOT, it isn’t something we strive to get, to achieve, even to become. It is something that is at the core of our being. It is by uncovering layer after layer of all of the conditions, all of the false identities, that we begin to see we have been FREE all along and LOVE, true love bubbles to the surface.