When we are committed up to our eyeballs and working long hours or seven days a week, the word freedom sounds like a punch-line to a poorly timed joke. Most days, freedom, that celebrated feeling of having time and choices and the opportunity to be spontaneous seems like an antidote just out of reach. But does it have to?
Recently I was forced to take a step back and really look at the people and things I have been attaching myself and my happiness to. I’ve latched on to certain things with a white knuckle grip and, ironically, the tighter I hold on, the more that grip seems to slip. When it comes to people, if we hold on this way, it becomes inevitable that we will overwhelm them. When we rest all of our happiness in one person, we become heavy to them and no matter how much they care about us, they will only be able to hold our weight for so long before the relationship crumbles.
For me personally, I had to take a breath and realize that this thick sludge of work and fear and transition was a choice. I made it this heavy. That meant, I could also choose freedom.
We are our own captors. There is no one out there working to put limitations on us or physically tying our hands behind our backs. We do that all by ourselves. We become what we show to others that we are and have the ability to show ourselves to others in so many ways. We are diverse, eclectic creatures who have the astounding ability to reinvent ourselves over and over and over again.
Buddha preached detachment. He believed that attachment was the root of all suffering and that detachment meant freedom and peace. It makes sense from this perspective, that the more we allow things, people, and circumstances to flow in and out of our lives instead of forcing them into place, the more room we create for spontaneity and freedom.
We choose how we let others affect us. We choose to advance toward change and take risks to better our circumstances. We choose to stay put in a set of old circumstances. We are not victims, unless we are victims of our own shortsightedness. We can choose to be happy and to let go of the baggage and the notions holding us back from the light. OR we can choose to dwell in the past or in regret. We can choose to hang out in the pain cave or we can choose to haul a lawn chair out into the sunlight.
Let it go. Let yourself have the freedom to enjoy this moment and all the possibilities it holds. Do something with it…or use it to regroup. Use it to breathe one last breath of life into the sadness and then let it die. Grow out of that depressed ground into something solid, strong, and free.