“And the moment came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. “ Anais Nin
We are the lucky generation. Our forefathers handed us freedom from: freedom from slavery, tyranny and oppression. The next generations gave us our freedom to: freedom to vote, choose, express opinion, work, associate with those of our choosing, become educated, or be elected into positions of power. That has been followed by social, cultural and sexual revolutions since the 1960s. We are now free to pursue whatever we desire in terms of our dress, our leisure activities and our relationships with each other – in both the coming together or the breaking apart.
It seems to me each generation has wanted more freedom than the previous and, whereas in previous generations ‘freedom’ did mean the true sense of the word in freedom from oppression, our modern generation has put the emphasis on having freedom to do whatever we want. We want it all and we want it now. This is supposed to be something that we all desire. When my husband first left, people would say to me ‘now you are free to do whatever you want‘. When repeated back, that advice would catch me in the throat. Taking ‘freedom’ was foreign to me as I was craving stability and structure. I also saw it as being selfish. I thought I still had responsibilities and obligations to fulfill.
It has taken me nearly three years to understand that I don’t.
While it appeared I did, it really was an obligation to my own inner code of responsibility. I really did not have obligations to fulfill, except to myself. I am truly free to do whatever I want. Looking at it another way, I had to a degree been putting perceived responsibilities and obligations in my own path because of not knowing what to do with my freedom if I had it. It was easier to keep doing what I had been doing, even though painful, rather than taking my own freedom and basking in its sunshine. I could now undo my own imposed restraints of responsibility.
The big question now is not whether I have the freedom to what I want but rather, now that I know I do (nearly) have that freedom, what do I want to do with it?
As I sat with a blank page on that question, a few overarching ideas of what ‘freedom to do’ means to me came to mind.
I have the freedom to live my own way.
I am free of external restrictions.
I have the freedom to impose my own moral code such as ‘first, do no harm’. As long as I impose it myself it is not a restraint, it is free-will. I cannot enslave myself. With no external restrictions, only internal ones, I have the freedom to think, speak and act the way I want.
I have the freedom to choose to be responsible for my family and friends. When I act out of devotion, there are no constraints – no matter what the responsibilities require of me.
I have the freedom to be part of my family, children and grand-children’s lives.
I have the freedom to be by myself whenever I want.
I have the freedom to choose my own direction in life and to fit that in with my own life’s purpose which I alone shall choose and I may take as long as I want to make that choice.
I have the freedom to choose my own goals by my own free-will and to work towards those goals unimpeded.
I have the freedom to choose my own attitude to develop a capacity by education, training or resolve to overcome any obstacle or impediment in my way.
I have the freedom to impose limitations, moral codes or constraints (by whatever definition) if that makes my new direction more comfortable. If my constraints are based upon my own goals or values – knowing where I stand will give me the liberty to act in complete freedom.
That is not so scary. That is all exciting …
Now to begin.
It is exciting for you and the only limitations we have in receiving this precious freedom are the ones we place on ourselves!
That is correct and, after trudging for a while (a long while) there is almost a guilt element that the trudging will no longer be. Thanks for your support.
Beautiful and succinct, Elizabeth. ❤
Thanks. I am not sure about ‘succinct’ as I have split one post into four because I do not have the ability to say in 100 words what can be said in 1000. This is a downfall in my writing. That is why I love your poetry, it captures the essence of thought on a feeling in a few stanzas. 🙂
Perhaps my choice of word was not succinct. 😉
Thanks for loving my poetry, it means more than you know.
Eloquent and powerful, Elizabeth. I look forward to hearing what you choose to do with all that glorious freedom.
Ah, yes! There are many ideas buzzing around in my head. I will certainly let my blogging friends know as time goes on. Thanks for your kind comment.
Go for it girl! Well said.
Thanks. I appreciate your support.
What a moving post! I love the energy.
One spot I wonder about. “As long as I impose it myself it is not a restraint, it is free-will.”
What happens when we “self-impose” without “self-awareness”? Could there be true constraints on ourselves without such awareness?
You have asked an important question. That is the missing link in being able to move on, becoming aware of self-imposed constraints.
In order to move on logistical things need to be done (obvious constraints).
However, for me, they have to be done in a way that does not hurt anyone else (self-imposed).
It is the awareness of that second constraint that is eye-opening.
Becoming aware of the need to live by my values at all times, and being confronted with situations where I need to choose between two values.
It is the ‘justice versus mercy’ dilemma; or fairness to me versus fairness to others.
And the ‘constraint’ is ALWAYS choosing others ahead of myself and that is what is keeping me in the mud.
Wonderfully put Elizabeth…the freedom is so sweet and also a bit scary. But without a few butterflies in our stomach, we would opt to do nothing. And that isn’t an alternative for one as wonderful as you.
Ah! That reminds me of the Theodore Roosevelt ‘man in the arena’ quote – one of my favorites – “so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”. I have the full version stuck on my computer. It keeps me going day after day. Thanks for seeing that side of me. I am humbled by your words.
You are such a wonderful philosopher, Elizabeth – thank you! Juliex
An thanks for your friendship and support. xx
Wonderful post Elizabeth. There is nothing quite like the feeling of empowerment!
Have an awesome day!
Thanks for your support Fred. I really appreciate it.
My pleasure Elizabeth!
Well written Elizabeth – I especially love the quote you’ve chosen! You go girl! 😀
Yes, I do so love that quote. Thanks for your encouragement.
Great post Elizabeth! I love the energy and opening to a life of new choices 🙂
Yes, those choices are begging at me… in time I will pay them my attention. Thanks for your support.
Independence is sweet–freedom is scarier. I get it. That’s where I put the request out to God, the universe, and ask for guidance. I am not sure carte blanche freedom is what I want.
I agree. I feel more comfortable with some sort of guidance or limitations. Then within that area, I feel free to be me.
There seems to be no stopping you now Elisabeth… I love the way you untangle yourself from the human restraints… and had to giggle a little reading the list of freedoms our ancestors worked so hard for, sacrificed so much… even before 1960 with the 2 world wars… our focus has always been about being FREE but here we are today and we still have no true freedom as our society have managed to stay in a field of hypnosis… I love your list and it truly is exciting… If I may add one to the bottom of the list and that is…
I have the freedom to trust my whole being implicitly knowing I will attract my heart and soul’s desire (whatever it may be, as the mind cannot grasp it) at the most perfect moment… Divine Sister Elisabeth Enjoy the day xxBarbara xx
I meant to say… when we truly enjoy the day we live our passion and this passion is our heart and soul’s desire that attracts the energy to bring in our dream into the physical reality.
Yes, that’s great.
Thanks for that extra to my list. I will indeed add it on.