I've been thinking a lot this week about freedom. Many of my clients reach a place of expansion and then refuse to push further. Edges and boundaries are uncomfortable, and expansion means destruction. When we get big, we blow apart old, comfortable ways of being. It is super scary, and essential.
The alternative to growth is stuckness. We deny our possibilities and refuse our wings. We claim stories that don't serve us, blame others for our situation, cycle again and again around the same set of self-limiting choices.
I used to put a Keri Smith quote up on the board in my expository writing class:
Here is the biggest secret of freedom:
We Are Already Free
At any moment, in any day, we can make choices that serve us or choices that endebt us to systems and structures not of our making. Recognizing that most of the choices we make when we feel stuck are out of obligation, obligation to people or patterns that surround us, fill us, but are not actually in alignment with our hearts and minds.
This quote changed my life and my teaching. I began to approach the classroom with a sense of expectation rather than obligation. My mantra became, "How much fun can I possibly have today?"
When we explode our expectations and obligations, even the most routine tasks become opportunities.
Where in your life can you experiment with doing what you really want?
Watch out, it might just transform the way you see everything.
Embracing our freedom means making that big leap. Taking the risk. Changing the behavior. Leaving the relationship, the job, the situation, having the hard conversation, revealing yourself. If you are reading this, you know what I'm talking about. Everyone has a leap they resist, a ledge that looks so ferocious they'd rather dally at the edge. Even if it means misery.
Rumi said, "Forget safety, live where you fear to live, destroy your reputation, be notorious."
But when we try, we trust, we land in the arms of a universal presence that only wishes us well, that only wants for us to fulfill our vast potential.
Since I'm pulling out all of my favorite quotes today, this is another:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Two weeks ago, a companion and advocate of my family died. This week, an amazing colleague and mentor of mine has died. When death is near and unexpected we remember a critical truth:
This, this life, this work, whatever we do, it all is temporary.
A last favorite quote, one that runs in my mind daily:
"What will you do with your one wild and precious life?"
Within that question is a freedom and a mandate so big it just might do the trick, just might move us from fear and complacency into the great unknown of possibility.
So here's an exercise in freedom. Today, write or draw on a big piece of paper what you would do if you weren't afraid, if money were no object, if you were living what you wanted and wished, if you had all the time in the world, if you had one month to live. How would your wild and precious life be lived?
Then do one of those things. Today.
And each day, each blessed day, do one more.