So often when we think of freedom, we think of the ability to do what we want when we want. This is one definition, but I find that internal traps that we create for ourselves can prevent us from getting to that point.
As I think of freedom now, I think of:
- Freedom from judgement
- Freedom from the need to be right (Freedom from always being right, too!)
- Freedom from criticism (self-criticism included)
- Freedom from feeling like everything has to be done right now (or yesterday…patience is really a virtue)
- Freedom from creating and enforcing restricting expectations of ourselves or others
- Understanding that it is okay to ask for help when needed. And that it is okay to ask for what you really want and need.
- Freedom to BE
- Allowing others the freedom to be
During my trip around the States, I received several messages from the Universe that I’m not quite there yet haha. But I think this newfound awareness has helped me to identify areas that require some release and I’m working on it.
Whenever we hold onto restricting viewpoints and expect others to confine to our way of being, we miss an opportunity for connection. Even if we tell ourselves that we are saying or doing those things to help others, we have to be cautious that we are not feeding our own egoic need to feel like a savior.
With that said, I still think boundaries are important. And I don’t think there is harm in communicating how you feel about something (or communicating to establish boundaries), as that might open up an opportunity for healing. But I think the sweet spot is found in loving in a way that others feel free without compromising ourselves in the process. We have to check if we are in other people’s business or our own. Are we creating limiting relationships or developing opportunities for expansion?
Chasing and forcing are unproductive. Letting things flow and remaining open gives us a chance to grow. It also provides others with the freedom to grow, too. The beauty of diversity in thought, opinion, and action is that it creates the potential for us to have a broader experience of life.
If someone is expressing an opinion that you don’t agree with, would it really kill you to remain open and listen politely? And to take that a step further, would it hurt to simply (and genuinely) thank the person for sharing their opinion without feeling the need to argue? If the other person is open to exchanging ideas, that is a beautiful thing. But that is not always the case, and there is growth in recognizing that someone is not in an energetic place to hear what you have to say. Sometimes, that person may need to work out their feelings about a situation just by talking it out. When you create space for compassionate listening, that too is a healing opportunity.
So I’m still learning. But I realize that things are not always as black and white as we want them to be. In all that is, we find that each creation is really just a unique mixture of ideas, experiences, and energy. As we can appreciate the beauty of the mix, we can love what IS instead of withholding love until that person (or thing) is what we desire it to be. Boundaries can still be held, but we don’t have to compromise our loving nature in the process.
In this journey to be authentically ourselves, I think it’s okay to ask for help. And it’s okay to appreciate those who open a window for you. Sometimes it can be a bit painful when you realize that person is holding a mirror up to you and revealing the thorn in your eye. (It is not always easy to see for yourself that you aren’t as open and loving as you thought you were!) But as we recognize this, we can take steps to remove those thorns and have more clear vision. In that way, we free ourselves. And in freeing ourselves, we always free others. And as we open more windows and breathe in the fresh air, we find that that air feels like freedom. And then internal walls we have built start falling down :)
Photo source: The Great Wall of China
Author note: Written on flight from LA to NYC.