Let (Inner) Freedom Ring
In an outer world rife with conflict, I've been pondering the word freedom. What does it mean to feel, experience and enjoy true freedom? How do we even (at times) take it for granted? And doesn't an experiential understanding of freedom, like all true treasures, start from within?
I know that I am fortunate to have the ability to experience a sense of outer freedom that lends itself to an even greater exploration of its inner counterpart.
But what does it look like to consider finding and celebrating this concept in a modern life?
One such way is to explore it through the lens of the "Four Freedoms" FDR spoke of in 1941: the freedom of speech/expression, the freedom to worship God in one's own way, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Let's address them each in turn.
Freedom of Speech/Expression | Are you being honest with yourself and others? Are you standing up for your beliefs and values? Have you taken the time to even identify what those are? And how do you express yourself creatively? Are you engaged in things for the simple sake of enjoyment and expression?
Freedom to Worship God | For so many of us, any sort of spirituality has been relegated to an hour or so a week (or less). How can we find more of the divine in our DAILY lives and how can we celebrate it? What does worshiping that great cosmic creative force look like to you? Does it mean really enjoying the understanding of intricate scientific concepts about the universe? Does it mean planting or procuring flowers to celebrate the majesty of mother earth? Does it mean meditating to find that quiet (and quite divine) place within?
Freedom from Want | Are my wants actually aligned with my values? Are they my own? And am I in a place where I can be grateful for what I already DO have - thus freeing myself of the insatiable hunger of unsatisfied wanting?
Freedom from Fear | Can I find a way to turn off the fear-mongering noise of the media? Have I prioritized strategies for mental resilience and rest when fear or anxiety mount? And am I bold enough to recognize when my fears are spinning out of control, and question them or find the people and resources to help me do just that?
I work with clients every single day to tap into the experience of the various aforementioned freedoms. But I'm noticing that so many of us, given these gifts, accidentally squander them.
We squander the prioritization, the gratitude, and the love of the freedoms in our life. Like the freedom to choose our career, our friends, or our beloved. We squander the ability to release the mental guilt or shame from parents or culture about this freedom. We squander our free ability to wake up early and meditate, or reflect, or dance, or enjoy the simple pleasures of good nourishment.
Perhaps worst of all, we squander that great freedom of being alive - in a body, on this planet, in a place perfectly positioned for greater evolution of spirit. We squander it by focusing on the burdens over the blessings. Or forgetting that we - in most cases - aren't being forced against our will into a life we hate. We have a choice - to find more freedom of mind, more freedom of connection, and freedom of passions in a career that truly lights us up.
Those of us lucky enough to have such wide freedom of choice need the reminder to utilize it.
There are parts of the planet that aren't afforded this great luxury. Many live in places of struggle and hardship and are forced to only explore the glimmers of an inner freedom.
As we are afforded both, my prayer, my wish, and my dream is that we remember said freedoms. We honor the notion of acting like it. We love, treasure, and nurture it. We heal ourselves with it. And then, when we're filled with that extraordinary brilliance of inner and outer freedom, we share it with others.
photography by souqfly