The basis of your life is absolute freedom; most humans don’t know that. Because you look around and you see things you don’t want, and you feel that if you really had the freedom, you would choose differently. But, you are so free that you can choose bondage. You are so free that you can choose vibrations that are not up to speed with who you are and what you deserve. – Abraham Hicks
Does this statement above resonate with you as much as it does with me?
I think of an extreme example of chasing freedom in the stories of concentration camp survivors like Viktor Frankl and Edith Eger. Their experiences are vastly similar and different at the same time. Viktor was an adult during his experience, while Edith was a 16-year-old child who found herself responsible for protecting her younger sister the best way she could after both of their parents were executed.
The common thread of their stories is that freedom, although felt out of touch, they had to find it in their minds if they would ever survive. And even once free, it was as if they were unable to believe it was true, as Edith described in this podcast interview with Brene Brown.
The word freedom feels good. Freedom is one of my values. I don’t like to feel restricted, boxed in, or limited. Because it’s something, I strongly value, I believe that it’s greatly influenced many decisions throughout my life.
The difficult thing about freedom is that we make decisions based on fear when we don’t feel free. Along the way, we mentally and emotionally imprison ourselves with limitations and self-sabotage. As the quote from Abraham says, by choosing to focus on the things you don’t want and feeling as though you don’t have a choice (which is a common feeling while deep in grief), you are choosing bondage.
Because we are always free to the extent we allow ourselves to be, we are more than capable of choosing what we do deserve. We are more than capable of choosing a different reality for ourselves. This is the tug-of-war feeling we can easily feel, and that keeps us stuck. That same tug-of-war feeling also causes us grief too.
Let’s say you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol. More than anything, you want to kick the addiction and take control of your life rather than feeling as though the alcohol has its hold on you. You see the impact your addiction is having on not only your life (and potential) but the lives of those you love and care about. Instead of seeing how capable and powerful you are, you choose the bondage that the alcohol keeps you in instead. You freely choose that alcohol is what you deserve; being who you are without it isn’t enough.
In my early 20’s, I relied on alcohol to make me feel “free.” However, I was accomplishing the complete opposite; I was keeping myself tied to some false idea of how others wanted me to be. I was choosing the bondage of alcohol – and I had the freedom of choice in that. I am, by no means, saying that people can quit whatever their addiction is cold-turkey on their own, as I did. My mom was able to kick her smoking habit cold-turkey, too, after being a smoker for over forty years. For forty years, my mom gambled with her health. She had the freedom to choose to get support to quit any time before she chose to do it independently. I believe we all have that power within us.
We have freedom in the United States that many other cultures of people dream about. And yet, in the U.S., we are one of the most unhealthy (physically and/or emotionally) and medicated of all. So, how free are we really?
When we chase freedom, we need to be careful not to be chasing an external means to give us the freedom that is otherwise accessible and is readily available – in our minds. It starts with our thoughts which influence our feelings.
How free do you feel today?
We will always have something that will challenge our ability to shift the focus of our minds. It takes conscious effort to keep our eyes on the prize of mental and emotional freedom, especially with so much chaos and disruption around us, whether in our personal lives or the world.
I’ve personally been putting a lot of effort into a morning regimen that has had such a positive influence on how I start my day and handle the day’s stresses. I have made morning self-care non-negotiable. This action alone creates momentum for the rest of the day. I then make it a goal to keep that feeling of freedom going as long as possible. And, when I notice I’m allowing those thoughts of bondage to creep in, I do something to shift my energy from a list I created (and included in my latest newsletter).
Have you found something that helps you get out of a funk when you’re feeling less free in your mind?
What is it worth it, to you, to feel freedom?
What are you willing to let go of to experience freedom?
No matter what you’ve experienced or been through, I want you to feel hopeful that freedom is possible. Like Viktor and Edith have proven, in the outcomes of their lives and their work, freedom is in the mind. Let them be the guides for the rest of us in demonstrating that, regardless of what we experience, it’s possible to live an expansive life.