Freedom. What does that word conjure for you?
What is free, anyway? Who is free?
As I opened up my blog today, the phrase “When You’re Free” popped into my head as a title.
I was thinking about myself in this precise moment.
How I am at my home on a Monday afternoon, free. How I feel free.
How I have time that I myself own, free time. How free time in turn supports my freedom.
How even though I’m not pulling in a regular salary since I left my non-profit job a few weeks ago, even though I’m not raking in the change, even if I’m taking this big risk, I am free.
And this freedom feels like a spaciousness my body can finally fully expand into.
It feels like dancing in front of the mirror, and squealing out giggles.
It feels like crying not as a reaction to fear and anxiety in a place I could no longer give my sweat and emotional labor to, but crying as an integral part of my humanity: tears as reminders of my freedom, my life on planet earth, my being human not for the sake of industry, but for the sheer joy and freedom of being human.
I am keenly aware, too, that my freedom rests on the shoulders of my ancestors who had to fight for freedom. Freedom to migrate, freedom to bear children, freedom to speak a language that was theirs in a country that wasn’t. Freedom to build home and family, freedom to earn wages, freedom to sing and read every Spanish book in the public library. Freedom to drink from the same water source, freedom to use the same hospitals as whites without being relegated to a “colored” ward.
These freedoms were hard won.
Part of my process of leaving my non-profit (industrial complex) environment was learning to skillfully listen to the wild call for freedom within me. To pay attention to the aches and fears and anxiety. To pay attention to the pain of staying there. To know and discover that I’m gifted, and valuable, beyond that place. That my value in fact exists in my humanity, my breath, my who I am in the world no matter what. Doesn’t matter if I’m earning money – that doesn’t imbue me with more value than if I’m not earning money. Learning this lesson is like plunging into a river and letting it move me along its path, trusting that I’ll be okay. It’s a risk. And it’s a risk I must take, knowing that my inner resilience, my skills and my wisdom will keep me alive. Knowing that the earth wants me here, wants me to be well, and happy. Knowing that earth itself wishes for me to be the gift I am in the world: to be my joyous self, unhindered, and to do what it is I love. To Be Happy.
The Freedom to Be Happy.
What is freedom to you?