How to Feel Free
I spent the early part of my adulthood not feeling very free. Stuck in toxic relationships and cloistered by chronic pain, freedom wasn’t really in my vocabulary. Then one day I was sitting with a friend in his garden when he brought out a numerology book. Scanning the chapters, I found I was a number five. As we read out loud, I learned how exploring freedom was central to the life purpose for people with this number. I was surprised. I had honestly never thought about freedom as a guiding force in my life. In fact, it seemly bizarrely opposite from my current circumstances. Then I realized— this is often how freedom presents itself.
We cannot recognize light without experiencing the darkness. We cannot know the relief of fall until the hottest days of summer hit their peak— nor the angel of spring till winter is complete. The same is true with freedom. We do not know true freedom, until we’ve known what its shadow feels like. Listening to my friend read from that book I realized I had been studying freedom for years— by learning exactly what freedom didn’t feel like. But now that I knew this, I was equipped to claim what freedom actually meant for me.
Some people say that we came as souls to this Earth to experience contrast. To know ourselves through the play of both light and dark. Fettered and free. But most of all, we came to remember that beneath all that heaviness and constraint, there is always a constant— the inviolable freedom of our spirits.
A teacher once told me that the heart expands in the presence of truth. If something spoken is true for us, our heart responds by opening— even when that truth is unexpected. Freedom feels so good to our hearts because it is an experience of our truth. At our core, we are all free spirits. We are as boundless as the wind. As wide as canyon gorges. As far-reaching and creative as pollen. We are singular, and yet a part of everything.
We think freedom must always look like a major vacation or trip across seas, but the times in my life when I felt the freest were often the most mundane. Walking with my headphones on and dreaming into a new future. Lying in the grass and watching the leaves move in the wind. Deciding to walk to the grocery store and explore new neighborhoods along the way.
As travel and social restrictions continue across the world, it feels more pertinent than ever to cultivate this inner sense of freedom. To tap back into the truth of who we are and nourish our reserves of resiliency with experiences of being free. In my new video I explore three simple practices to create a sense of freedom when you start feeling weighed down by things.
In psychology it’s been shown that creative restraints— limits on our time, resources or movement— lead to greater innovation and creativity. Amazingly, instead of constricting our imagination, creative restraints push us to take greater imaginative leaps than before. It is in these times of the biggest restrictions that the most profound artwork and inventions are born.
It makes me wonder if this will be one of the enduring gifts of this potent era in history. Already we have seen the crucible of this year give rise to the most powerful liberation movement in recent history. In the end, Covid may not be here to take away our freedom, but to teach us what true freedom is— our ability to dream and create, to live our truth and be ourselves in their entirety.
No matter what you “produce” during this time, you are already bringing incredible new work to the world, because the greatest artwork of all will be our own selves— matured, fire-tested, pandemic-strong and even more clear about the light we are here to embody on Earth. Because, in the end, we are the creation that came here to innovate our world. And every time we remember what helps us feel free we feed the great turning, the liberation of all.