Five years ago I divorced. It was a divorce that did not involve lawyers. At all. We did not want to fight because we still care for each other.
Then three years ago I traveled across the world with a suitcase and my guitar to be with a woman who is now my wife, though at the time I left I did not know how things would work out.
From one relationship to another, one side of the planet to another, one social environment to another, from 9-5 employment to self-employed writer and musician, it was a lot of change. Now I have made the choices, and am grounded within myself, I look back and I can see that it was my way of finding freedom.
Have you wanted to be able to make choices, to make the difficult decisions that lead to a life of abundance, peace and happiness? If so, it seems you are not alone, because freedom is a much sought after state. Freedom in fact at the core of everyone’s feeling of safety, and finding it is a search that is in my view very worthwhile. I love waking up each day and knowing that I can choose to be myself.
So I decided to write a book about finding freedom. The more I researched, the wider the scope increased, and it is fascinating. My next step was to create a meetup (which is an offering to meet with others who share a similar enthusiasm, hobby or something).
The first meeting we looked at what freedom is and how it affects our lives. Nelson Mandela once said “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Some of what we learnt was;
1. We are subject to internal conditioning, but often we don’t recognize this.
2. Sometimes we put ourselves into a position of slavery through such areas as work.
3. There is a battle between thought and experience, Maslow’s hierarchy of human need vs how we perceive reality.
4. Ignorance can lead to fear and fear limits freedom. “We cannot …. because we may…”
5. The obligation placed by others on what to believe is a limiter to freedom.
6. Guilt stops freedom.
7. The meaning of life is the essential basis for the determination of how we see freedom.
8. We need to look at how we interpret and accept reality.
9. Feeling free is primarily a matter of the inner thought process, the ability to focus on where choices can be made, given the reality of where you are right now.
Have you ever wondered about the role of others in generating freedom for yourself?
Don Miguel Ruiz said “There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.”
What is it that allows you to translate the voice of others into a voice of attack or reprimand, or if it is an attack or reprimand stops you from feeling unsafe or less worthy. Fight Flight or Flow. Which path do you take in this case? Can you be free when you are on your own? Free from what?
Ghandi famously said that “ Freedom is not worth having if it does not contain the freedom to make mistakes.”
Then the group tabled that often we do not feel free to believe what we want, because of conditioning or expectations. This is not just about religion, but about any belief, like “I am overweight” or “The world is going to burn because of climate change” What or who initiated the belief? If it did not come from you, where did it come from? Is it a conscious choice you made, or were you aware and mindful in choosing the belief?
So many questions were raised, so the group agreed to continue meetups for 6 months so that we could grow in understanding freedom, for as Rumi said, “Yesterday I was so clever I wanted to change the world. Today I am so wise, I am changing myself.”
Today, having changed myself, and having sought freedom, I see that it was a series of difficult choices, but for me well worth the struggle. I also remember a relative who for years was physically and emotionally abused in her marriage, yet continued in it for ten years. It is worth considering why we are so afraid of change towards being whole and free.