Written by Nicky
My freedom is not determined by all the things I can or cannot do.
Nor by the things I should or shouldn’t have done or said.
It is not reliant on a certain environment nor is it weakened by the words or actions of others.
It is not dependent on an absence of life challenges.
It is not about being perfect.
It is not about having it all figured out.
It is not about getting it “right” all the time.
It is not conditioned.
It does not come with rules.
So what is it then?
Freedom is the ability to see clearly, to hear, to understand, myself and the world around me.
It is the ability to connect with nature and other people and with myself too.
It is the ability to achieve balance and to find a sense of safety, within myself, regardless of what happens outside of me.
It is the ability to feel peace and at ease in my body but also to feel discomfort without judgement.
It is the ability to give myself comfort and reassurance and not rely on it from outside sources.
It is the ability to know I am enough, regardless of what I do or say or have or think.
It is the ability to let go of judgement, worry and fear, when I notice it come in.
It is a state of mind.
It is a way of being.
It is also a choice.
It is my choice. One that I can make at anytime of the day, in any situation.
It is a choice, that I will repeat and it will get easier.
Freedom is not something to be feared. It is something to embrace.
When I feel it deeply, it seems to come from my heart and radiates throughout my body.
It is found in those moments when I feel whole. When my mind and body and soul are in harmony. When I feel that I am somehow the most powerful being, that ever walked this earth!
It is in those moments, where my mind and my eyes and my heart are open wide. When the walls come down and the mask comes off.
It is in those moments, where nothing seems to matter except the moment I am in.
It is those moments when the colours are so bright and my senses are alive.
It is a feeling of oneness. Of completeness. Of awe. Of peace. Of joy.
It is also in the moments where I notice my racing mind and choose to stop it, as best I can!
The ones where I choose to let the fear go, even just a little bit.
And in the ones where I choose to change the unhelpful story in my head.
It is present when I choose gentleness and self-compassion, over harsh words and self-criticism.
It is there when I choose to see the learning, instead of my mistakes.
It is there when I give myself credit and choose to see my talents and wonderfulness.
It is there when I choose to release the pressure and when I look for the light through the darkness.
It is there even when I am sure it is not.
I am learning to trust it.
I am practicing, choosing it.
I am telling myself, I can have it.
I am reminding myself, I deserve it.
All I need to do is allow it to happen.
All I need to do is see it and recognise it and lean into it!
All I need to do is own it when it is there.
And trust it will return when it is not.
It will become part of me.
It will grow.
It will be mine to cherish forever.
And nothing or nobody will be able to take it away.
Let the past go.
You do not need to carry it any longer.
The day you choose to be free is the day you will be free.
So make your choice and own it.
Each and every day!
Above is a random list of thoughts about Freedom, that I wrote last week, after attending Marie’s From Fear to Freedom workshop. As the workshop came to a close, I felt I wanted to capture some of the learning or maybe I could call it “re-learning” that was emerging in my mind. So, I opened my journal and this is what ended up on the page.
I have been feeling low recently. Questioning the point of this whole Recovery Journey that I have found myself on. I was reluctant to go to the workshop as I thought “What’s the point! I will never be free anyway!” And as the workshop came to an end, I decided to, quickly write down, the helpful thoughts, before the negativity took over again. I wrote it all down. I closed my journal and went back to the darkness.
Earlier today, I thought it might be helpful to re-read it, to see if it might help because as much as I keep ending up in the darkness, I know it is not a pleasant place to stay for too long. And I know it is not where I want to be.
So today, I took myself off on a date to the park! I grabbed a coffee and sat under a tree! I watched the little ducklings swimming happily on the lake! I felt the warm sun on my face and I read over my words, written in haste last Saturday. I spent some time reflecting on them. I batted away the negative thoughts and instead wondered what I could learn from my own words.
And this is what I came up with…
As I sat under the tree today, the first thing I realised was, that I have in fact been creating my freedom for a long time now. I always saw freedom as something I would hopefully have one day, if I worked hard. Most of the time, I had my eye on the prize, but I think I forgot to focus on the process. I didn’t see that each time I changed my language or changed the story in my head. And that each time I faced a fear or responded in a different way that I was gaining freedom. Little by little the freedom was coming in. I didn’t see that as freedom, instead I saw that as a kind of to-do list. A means to an end, so to speak. And there and then I decided that this needed to change.
Also I realised that, for so long, my idea of freedom was somewhat twarted! I thought that when I got it, that my life would always be simple. That every thought would be pleasant and wonderful! I would go so far as to say, that I maybe even believed, that Freedom was some kind of magical feeling that remained all day and all night! Like a kind of a dream like state or place, where I just laughed all day and danced or floated from place to place! A place where me and the fluffy unicorns would be BFFs forever! (Well not quite that extreme….but you get the idea!)
Basically, my expectations were high! I wanted to be free! I wanted to float with the unicorns! Nothing less would do!
But as I thought about this earlier, I also realised that this idea of perfection has actually been the reason why I feel less free than I actually am. And why I keep ending up in the darkness. It makes sense, I suppose, that if I am trying to achieve something, that is unrealistic! Something that is impossible, then I am fighting a losing battle! And sure then, I am obviously going to think that I can’t have it. And sure then, I’m also going to want to give up! And sure then…into the darkness I’m bound to go!!
And then this got me thinking…
What about if I changed how I viewed freedom? Maybe that would make it seem easier to achieve? Maybe that would help me to see that it was possible?
I paused and read back over my words and then I could see it more clearly than before….
I saw what freedom really was!
Freedom is in those magical moments I mentioned above. It can be wonderful and amazing and joyful. But it is also in those moments when the world looks a little grey but I choose not to judge or worry. Or the moments where I feel sad or tired but I don’t let it stop me from resting or feeling or eating. Freedom can be found in any moment. It is not the moment itself that is free but what I do in the moment that makes it free! (If that makes sense?!)
Freedom is learning to live life, with acceptance of what is. Learning to live each moment with as little fear as possible. Choosing freedom as best as I can, in the moment, that is in front of me!
And so as I sit here tonight, I notice that despite my realisations in the park earlier, the darkness has not lifted yet.
But at least tomorrow I can start again with my new (more realistic!) views on freedom!
I will remind myself of all the freedom I already have!
I will remind myself that freedom is found, in all the little choices I make each and every day!
All I have to do is to be patient and keep doing what I have been doing and my freedom will continue to grow!
Until one day it will be so strong, that I will wonder how I ever doubted I could have it at all!