While there are certainly many inalienable human rights that can help to define what freedom is, that’s not the freedom I’m talking about here. I am sure you can think of plenty of people that are privileged to have those rights, and yet they feel suffocated and stifled. Trapped, like a puma in a cage. Stuck. Like you will never know the true you, or live your true life.
Anything but free.
I’ve certainly been there. Have you?
Is this because we are spoiled and take for granted the freedoms we do have? That if we only realized how lucky we are to be able to write negative blog posts about the president without being blacklisted (for now, at least), or being a woman and being able to go to school without fear, or being able to stroll along the beach and not be concerned about landmines, that we’d realize how free we really are and get over it?
Personally, I don’t think so.
That’s because the deep freedom I’m referring to is a feeling – it’s something that we sense deep in our soul, when we are aligned.
The surprise to many is that deep freedom is not having a location-independent lifestyle, or tons of money to do whatever we want with. It’s not being your own boss or not having to answer to someone else. It’s not saying whatever the hell we want and wearing what we want. It isn’t kissing or loving whomever we want, or living wherever we want.
Those are external freedoms. They are measured against us being able to do/be something without ramifications from others.
Deep freedom is when YOU are able to fully accept you, be you, love you…and also accept things as they are. That’s being aligned. The only ramifications of not doing these things are felt by just one person – you. The only person that makes you feel bad about these things is just … you.
So you see, if you want true freedom – deep freedom – it starts with going within. It can be easy to get distracted by the external freedoms, and trying to shape your life into the perfect little scenario where you don’t have to rely on anyone, or answer to anyone. But take it from someone with over 20 different certifications, 3+ places to live (read: run away to), and over a dozen ways I’ve learned to make money in case myriad things happen to the economy or political state so that I will always have my needs met: it doesn’t mean shit if you aren’t really free on the inside.
At this point, you may think, “Ana, I get the accepting myself part. But are you really saying I need to accept the things around me…this craziness that’s going on?” Yes.
Before you throw pastured high omega-3 eggs at me, know that by accepting things as they are does not mean you condone them or support them. It means that you stop wishing things were different, and get on with actively creating the world you want, while (and here’s the clincher) accepting and loving you and all the present moment has to offer.
Until you are able to pull that off, you won’t truly feel free, no matter how many beaches you take your laptop to for work, or how many Instagram photos you post about your travels. You’ll perhaps feel badass and very adventurous…but not deeply free.
This is why you always hear me say these three things together: freedom. adventure. purpose.
In my opinion, we need all these things to live a life full of Ziji (Tibetan for radiant inner confidence). When we feel deeply free; when we know we are squeezing every drop of juice out of this precious life with everyday adventures; when we use our mind, body and soul to fulfill our deepest purpose; we walk this earth grounded and with a powerful sense of confidence that is not shaken by external forces.
No. Instead we do the shaking up. From a place of confidence – not fear.
And sister, you know we need that more than ever these days.
How can you take steps towards this deeper freedom? Here are a few places to start:
- Get clear about your values. By knowing you – and what you want to say “Hellz yes!” to and what you want to say “Oh, hell no” to – you will be able to move closer to loving and accepting all of you. There’s some great activities to help you do this in my free Clarity + Courage Course
- Choose to focus on the things you can change, and release the things you can’t (and get reality checks from people to help you learn the difference). By refining our skills to know what we have control over (hint: usually that starts with ourselves and the way we respond to life), we can more effectively use our time, money, and energy to create positive change in the world. When you do this, you can more easily accept the present moment, and begin actively creating the world you want to live in, instead of fighting the wrong battles.
- Stop giving a shit about what other people think of you. “The people that mind don’t matter, and the people that matter don’t mind.” Love that quote. It is so, so true. Whenever you think about compromising your integrity or self-love out of fear of disappointing others, repeat that quote like a mantra. You need to focus on accepting your self – your full self – unapologetically, before you worry about what others think.
I know those things are easier for me to type than for you to do – but know that I have helped hundreds of women do exactly those things, so I know at my core it is possible. And if for nothing else, know that we need you, and your special gift, more than ever. This isn’t just a request in a weekend blogpost.
You achieving your deep freedom is a duty to your people. Now go get it.