Back in 2010, I made a major life change that most would feel was “too much.” Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was faced with two choices. The second choice was to move across the country on nearly a whim.
The thing is, it did NOT significantly affect how I experienced life. It didn’t negatively affect my happiness.
That said, I thought it would be a great idea to share more about why I was -able- to make such a major life transition without a significant upheaval in my inner (or outer) life… and also handle other major life transitions with similar grace and ease.
At the core, this is the result of me developing my freedom. Freedom can be developed, you wonder?
Yes and no. Our inherent nature is one of freedom, and so we are free whether we realize it or not. However, in order to -experience- that freedom we are born with, we must develop our conscious awareness and root ourselves in our true capacities as human beings.
Anything less will leave us at the whims of our societal conditioning… anything less than knowing our true freedom will leave us unconsciously making decisions that are often against our own conscious wants and desires.
So what enables me to make these major life changes, like moving to Texas on nearly a whim, and have it not significantly affect my experience of life?
It’s the combination of inner and outer freedom.
With regards to outer freedom, during that time I continued to reduce my expenses and possessions, while building a home-based / mobile business following my passion to be of service to you.
Then there’s the inner freedom… and this is the part that makes everything else that much sweeter.
At the core of our desire for freedom is actually a sense of LACK. Yes, it is ironic that our fuel for freedom comes from the very thing that makes us literally un-free. We become aware of this aspect of ourselves that feels constricted and restrained… that feels un-free, and so we seek freedom.
The challenge is that we want freedom from something.
Usually we want freedom from ever working again, or perhaps freedom from having people abuse us physically or emotionally, or freedom from an oppressive culture, family, or government.
However, as long as we are fleeing from something, we are literally un-free. We lose our freedom simply by the fact that we must run from it… we are not free to choose to be with it.
I don’t pretend to have this mastered. I still get triggered, pulled from the Present moment, and feel constrained by circumstances in my life. The difference is that I stay in that space for shorter periods of time, they happen less frequently, and I’m able to see that they are not actually the “source” of my problems (my mind is).
That said — the alternative of being in that uncomfortable, difficult, and often painful space isn’t very appealing either! After all, who really would say they want to go deeper -into- the very thing that they dislike? The very thing that takes away their freedom?
And yet, therein lies the real freedom…
Not to be free FROM anything in particular, but rather, to be FREE independent of the need to flee from or go towards anything in particular. True freedom is the ability to choose our inner experience.
That may mean -choosing- to continue in a job you hate, it may mean -choosing- to spend holidays even with family members you dislike, or it may mean -choosing- the opposites…
To leave your country, leave your job, or actively not engage with family members who are not respectful of you and your loved ones.
Regardless of our life’s circumstances, freedom ALWAYS means choosing our inner experience.
Some of the most free people in the world found their freedom in jails, during wars, within concentration camps or internment camps…
“And finally I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and could be, if there weren’t any other people living in the world.”
“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
“I have often been downcast, but never in despair; I regard our hiding as a dangerous adventure, romantic and interesting at the same time. In my diary I treat all the privations as amusing. I have made up my mind now to lead a different life from other girls and, later on, different from ordinary housewives. My start has been so very full of interest, and that is the sole reason why I have to laugh at the humorous side of the most dangerous moments.”
“People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but that doesn’t stop you from having your own opinion.”
“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.”
– Quotes by Anne Frank
Anne was a Jewish girl of only 15, who had no possessions, was forced into slave labor in Nazi concentration camps, before she eventually died of typhus just a few weeks before the camp she was in was liberated by British troops in 1945.
Yet, in the words she left behind in her diary it becomes clear that she was a deep soul who understood the nature of freedom and sought to bring it to life, even within her physically limited context.
She didn’t have much by external standards, yet her inner world at just the age of 15 was wealthier far beyond what most people will ever experience in their entire lifetimes.
No, she didn’t have any choices in the external circumstances like you and I do. Still, internally she was constantly choosing the experience she wanted to have. Anne Frank embodied that ability to just “go with the flow,” which in my own experience, is what true inner freedom is all about.
I know that the inner feeling I had of being able to choose to go across the country to be with my son was because deep down I am aware that my freedom is derived in my being, and not externally from other circumstances.
I’ve done a lot of work in this area, and many people and resources have helped guide me to that place. As they say, I have “stood on the shoulders of giants.”
And today I’d like to share with you one of those simple, practical exercises I learned that will help you to experience more freedom in your life…
This is really simple, it’s fun, and it’s very POWERFUL.
First, make a short list of 5 or 10 sentimental treasures that mean a lot to you, but that don’t actually cost much money. The purpose here is to identify that which primarily has value only to you.
Then, next to each item, write the names of 1 or more people who you believe would truly appreciate having that sentimental treasure.
Now with your list in hand, pick at least 1 item and go give it to somebody. When you give it to that person, let them know the story of why this treasure is important to you, what it means to you, and also let them know why you are honored and grateful to be able to now give it to this new person.
The intent is to make it clear to the other person that this is something of value, and that it is important to you that they receive this gift for themselves.
After you do this, just notice how you feel inside.
In my own experience, I felt great freedom after doing the above exercise.
So much so, that it compelled me to give away many of my personal possessions. I still have things that matter to me, yet far fewer than ever before. In fact, during that move to Texas I only brought with me whatever could fit in my car. Since then, my personal possessions have not increased much. I can still fit them in my car. 🙂
This is a big change from the homes I once owned and filled with possessions I enjoyed and appreciated. Yet, deep down I just LOVE having the inner freedom to know that what really matters… what really really really deeply matters to me… is who I am bringing to the experience, and not what I am bringing.
And in case you’re wondering WHAT I brought with me, it’s actually quite simple:
Some clothes, a box of books, a box of personal development programs, a few things for the kitchen, some other small miscellaneous items, my laptop computer so I would be able to keep writing to you, and my stainless steel pizza cutter (a MUST-HAVE for any single man, hehe…)
Anyway, that’s probably more than enough for today. Try that exercise I shared with you above – your heart will be glad you did. And before I sign off, here’s one last quote from Anne Frank I’d like to share with you…
“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!” – Anne Frank
She was just 15 and imprisoned for slave labor during the Holocaust. She had more than enough justifiable reasons to be bitter, angry, and to give up on life, people, and herself.
Anne chose to think differently…
Anne chose to be different…
Anne chose freedom.