IS FREEDOM AN INSIDE JOB?
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller
I've been talking a LOT about freedom lately, partly because I've been writing and just published a book about it, but also because it's given me chance to re examine my own feelings, values and ideas about what freedom is and to look at what freedom means to me right now. It's been an interesting journey. (Sorry for use of the J word but it's entirely the right verb to use here) and I'll explain why.
Whenever we take the brave step to STOP, re evaluate and prepare for change or to be changed, we stand at a crossroads. It can be daunting to see all the possible paths and routes that stretch out before us but it can also be the most exciting pivotal point. The first step forward is the hardest to make. From then on, it's a series of adventures, new terrains and vistas, enriching encounters, surprise discoveries with the odd diversion and obstacle along the way. This, by the way, is what Life Path Design is all about.
So funny, as I fluidly, unconsciously write these blog posts, I never know what will be channeled through my digits, but what I just wrote might be the best, most succinct way I've ever described what Life Path Design is.
Now, if you and I have been connected for a while, you may well have heard some of my own story about being literally trapped alone with my violent paranoid schizophrenic mother for much of my very young life. 'Trapped and hopeless' was my internal story. That story kept me trapped until I started to learn more about my mother's condition by reading books in the library. Reading about schizophrenia led me, as you can imagine, to read many many more books about the workings of the mind and one of the key things I learned is that so many of our 'circumstances' are created by our internal narrative, our story, and how that story plays out in behaviour, contributes to creating the circumstances. (I cover this in more depth in my book 'Your Path to Freedom' with a lovely little illustration that explains how this all works.)
So, could my feeling of being trapped be down to the story I was telling myself? Well, partly. Nothing is ever that straightforward is it? You see, I was a child so I quite literally had little or no control over where I lived or who I lived with. Other people were in control of that. So, to some large extent I was trapped. However, what I learned is that if I 'believed' there was a way out, I may just be able to create it. It might just take some time. You see, when we truly believe in something and want it strongly enough, we will commit to whatever plan of action it takes to make it happen, won't we? Think of the last holiday you dreamt about. How did it all come about? It started with a desire to be on that beautiful sandy beach sipping cocktails or wandering through the gothic architecture of a strange new but exciting city, right? You probably visually imagined yourself there and even felt the feelings you imagined you would feel didn't you? Maybe you even smelled the scents of the salty sea or the exotic foods and spices of the place. Powerful, the mind, isn't it?
I learned that what I needed was a map, a route out. I needed a plan. I read so many books but as you probably know, the one that finally put all the pieces together and propelled me forward was Helen Keller's autobiography 'The Story of My Life'. (If you don't know Helen's story, well, get the book or, find out more here https://helenkellerfoundation.org/helen-keller/ ). Helen, rendered deaf, blind and unable to speak after a bout of polio aged two, found that, and I quote her directly, "What I'm looking for is not out there. It is in me." Wow, that switched on a light so bright for me that, well, it has essentially led me to life's work and purpose.
Without really realising what I was doing (I was only seven or eight years old after all and it was the 1970's), I began to dream, then to plan, then to believe. I changed my story from 'Trapped and hopeless.' to 'Waiting to break free.' I just needed to keep researching, keep planning, keep believing and keep designing my map, my path to freedom.
Freedom means very different things to each of us. To me, that little girl, it meant not having to live in fear with my mentally ill mother. It meant not waking up in the night to screams and crying. It meant not being frightened arriving home from school to find my mother locked in her bedroom, mid episode. To the big girl me, it came to mean having financial security because my belief was that having that provided options and emotional security. To others, freedom means no ties or responsibilities, no constraints. Maybe a nomadic (or laptop) lifestyle, life on the road. To some it means flexibility. What does freedom look and feel like to you? Until you get clear about that, you can't get on the path to it. Whatever freedom is to you, know this. It's not likely to happen overnight. For me, it took four or five years to physically break free from my situation with my mother, decades more to break free emotionally. The thing is, unless you take that first step on the path, you won't reach that feeling of being free and untethered that ultimately all crave.
If you want to hear some inspirational stories (my own humble story included) and learn some simple but powerfully transformational ways of pinning down what your version of freedom is so that you can get designing that route, that road map to it, go take a look at my Kindle/Ebook 'Your Path to Freedom' on Amazon now. Here's the link GET THE BOOK
I'd love to hear what you think about all this. Below are all the ways we can connect.
HOW ELSE CAN WE CONNECT?
Visit: http://LifePathDesign.com where you can download my FREE Guide to Walking Your Own Life Path and find out more about me and the work that I do.
If you'd like to get more involved, find out more about me and about Life Path Design, why not join my incredible private community on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/lifepathdesigngroup
If you prefer a private chat, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org