Are you free?
How is freedom defined?
Did Janis Joplin capture the idea in her throaty exultation? Is hitting bottom the only way to rise above the mundane?
Are romantic scents of freedom scattered along the open roads travelled by Jack Kerouac and Peter Fonda stranding the rest of us in the dust of our social, familial, financial and time-bound roadside boxes?
Sharing in the remains of our forefathers’ inheritance, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” leaves us dividing quite the meagre pittance after the governmental scrounging over the last twelve years.
Is this really what we’re left with, choosing from the bi-polar extremes of a “fuck the feds” counter-culture, anti-constitutional governmental intrusions of personal privacy to settling for our universally accepted individual constraints?
As prohibitors to our freedom, these options are less than encouraging. But they all share one commonality: they are all bullshit.
Even life on the road is too often weighed down with saddle bags filled with personal limitation. Pushing the responsibility and capacity for our own personal freedom into the hands of another, be it the government, job, spouse, bank, jailer—whomever, releases the levels of satisfaction we have over our lives into external circumstances dictating the breadth of how we feel.
Nothing and no one has usurped our freedom: we’ve given it away!
And until we take it back, reclaiming responsibility for our future and the terms in which we live our lives, freedom will never be ours.
Liberation from an entity (governmental, financial obligations, etc.) is not what we are truly seeking. This conviction hangs the veil of our personal independence on a line just outside of reach. The very fabric of this vision is that upon attainment of an achievement, the shadow cast by a shroud of repression will be wiped free along with the shroud itself.
This is an illusion. Very quickly, another notion of bondage appears: another unfulfilled goal or desire. Circumstances beyond our control dropping like cosmic shit-bombs onto our heads, lobbed from a massive karmic balloon.
What if we stop this tomfoolery (yes, tomfoolery) and embark on a true freedom, one in which the conditions of our lives are no longer the excuses we hide behind? A freedom that is here and now.
Not an endpoint. Not a finite goal actualized on a future date. Arriving not in a bottle or bag or book. A dynamic, living breathing state of being.
At this very moment each of us is free, but in varying degree. It’s not a matter of making changes to our life so that suddenly the karmic shit-balloon hits a tailwind.
But it is a matter of beginning from where we are.
Freedom is a skill, not a goal; and like any skill, it may be developed.
But nothing as hip as True Freedom, is going to come without a fight. This is as personal as it gets. And lying down, shielding our eyes from the habits and hindrances we’ve spent a lifetime cultivating will never ignite our Freedom into vast expanse.
Passing the blame onto external causes in place of our own misplaced priorities is a tactic that perpetuates the excuses helping us sleep at night and nothing more.
We are boundless, and if our circumstances are embraced as our training and testing ground, not to overcome but to master, we are in the game. It is upon discovering our ultimate potential is a dream that begins now and not after our present obstacles are surmounted that our hero’s journey becomes an epic.
We are spending billions of dollars beautifying our bodies, our homes and our lives. How much time is dedicated to the beautification of our minds?
Self-transformation is a process. It requires work.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.
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Assistant Ed: Renee Picard