Sometimes life feels so free. We have space and time, and choices, and feel alive and inspired. Freedom fills every nook and corner of life and our souls are soaring high in the sky, right alongside the clouds and birds. And sometimes life feels so stuck and bound, like we are shackled down by heavy chains with nothing but the darkness of a tunnel hitting a dead-end ahead of us.
Freedom appears to be such a fickle and faithless attendant. One moment it’s here. The next moment it’s not. Much like happiness and love, it is fleeting and capricious in nature.
But what happens when you decide to dedicate your life to freedom? What happens then? And what happens when all you want is freedom, yet it appears hidden, no matter how much you search?
When I was 23, I was drunk with the idea of living a life filled and fuelled by freedom. The idea alone infatuated me. It was at this tender age that I made a vow to myself to dedicate my life to creating, knowing, understanding, cultivating and teaching freedom.
With this resolution I discovered one unexpected and startling thing: that everything I believed to be true up to this point, was not.
I embarked on a journey of unlearning everything I had been taught, and rediscovering the world, life and myself, with new eyes.
Instead of chasing goals and achievements, I learned to tune into feeling and being present. I stopped caring about what other people expected of me and started paying attention to what felt right for me.
Instead of doing all the right things I was supposed to do to get a good job, I chose to follow my curiosity, heart and instinct. I decided not to become a psychologist after all and ended my studies after completing my undergraduate degree, embarking instead on an unconventional path of working in the creative world of music festivals.
Instead of fighting for being right, I surrendered into being equanimous. I learned that there is not right or wrong, black or white. Everyone holds a piece of the puzzle from their unique perspective. The human experience is limited from being all-knowing. When I recognised and accepted this, I felt instantly free.
Instead of cramming my mind with insecurities and trying to look like other people though rigorous exercise routines, self-loathing and cycles of starving and binge-eating, I softened my view of myself. I started walking every day, and spending time in nature. I ate what I felt like, when I felt hungry and celebrated instead of feared food. Instantly I lost weight and relaxed into a healthy, natural weight and body shape.
Instead of buying all the shiniest, newest, most-coveted objects, I developed a deep connection with the universe which left me feeling richer than anything I had ever owned. I sold everything I didn’t need and lived out of a suitcase.
Instead of chasing after boys and seeking out the perfect relationship, I grew into an intimate committed relationship with myself. I became unashamedly selfish, the way that Buddha teaches us to be. I learned than it is not my job to satisfy and please others.
Each of these choices were part of the untethering that set me free. As it turns out, much like happiness and love, freedom is a choice.
To be continued…
Image by Neena Noel.