It seemed like a a good day to write about freedom. When we haven’t done the work to heal, and by that I mean, get real with ourselves and seek help if we need it, we are owned by our pain. If we have doubts about whether we are truly lovable, worthwhile, special, unique…that doubt and fear will permeate everything. Following your heart takes enormous courage, and in order to be courageous, you have to believe in your ability to shine; to offer up something only you can. So many people are owned by the idea, “Who am I to chase my dreams?”, or, “Who am I to color outside the lines?”
If you doubt your worthiness to be loved, you’ll play that out by chasing people who seem on the fence about being with you. Rejection will be like a hook, because you’ll see your own doubt in yourself reflected back at you, and in your effort to heal, you’ll pursue, thinking if you can convince other people, maybe you’ll also convince yourself. But it doesn’t work that way, and this is what I mean about being a slave to your pain. Anything we repress, deny or run from, owns us. It might be unconscious, we might not even realize what’s driving us; people suffer without knowing why, it happens all the time. You will never be free from your past, or free from your rage or your fear or your grief until you allow these feelings to catch up with you, until you turn around and sit down and allow this stuff to wash over you. I realize that doesn’t sound like fun, but it’s a lot better than the alternative, because you might be deeply uncomfortable in the short-term, but you’ll be on the path to your own liberation. The other way, you’ll be on the run your whole life.
Knowing yourself is the most freeing thing there is, and not knowing yourself is the loneliest thing I know. When we aren’t sure what lights us up, what scares us, what excites and inspires us, or where we have healing to do, we’re left to flail around in the dark. When we don’t have a strong center, the chances that we’ll betray ourselves in important ways increase exponentially. If you want to be free, you have to take ownership of your life, and you may have to abandon your way of being if it isn’t working for you. When I say “your way of being”, I mean your way of being in the world. If life doesn’t feel good, whatever you’ve been doing so far isn’t working well. Maybe you’re owned by ideas like, “Everybody leaves”, or, “Everybody cheats”, or, “You can’t trust anyone.” How about, “Life isn’t fair”? Or, “I never get any breaks”, or, “No one likes me”? If any of that sounds familiar, I’d get busy breaking those chains, because that’s a prisoner’s mentality.
We can’t control or rewrite what has already happened, any more than we can predict the future. What we can do is lean into our pain and look unflinchingly, but with compassion, at how we’ve been managing ourselves. How we’ve been showing up for ourselves and the people we love. How willing we’ve been to reach out and ask for support when we need it. How much we’re trying to control, and how much we’re able to face reality as it is. To be curious about how things are, instead of being attached to a picture in our heads of how things should be.
The more able you are to work on the things you can control (the way you respond to whatever life puts in your path), and let go of the things you cannot (pretty much everything else), the more you’ll free yourself from suffering. Wishing that for you, and for all of us. May all beings be free from suffering. May all beings be free.
Sending you love,
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