What Does it Mean to Be Free?


Man do I love Eddie Vedder. This song is so beautiful and he has always advocated for change.  His music is sweet, deep and it reminds me of a time in my life when I was a bit wilder.  The 90’s when Pearl Jam was big, was a time in my life when I was discovering my voice and parts of who I was that were undiscovered prior to my 20’s.  It was a time when I was vocal about my views and was out in the world advocating for the rights of people often.  Not unlike these days; just a bit more untamed and often coming from a place of anger.  Anger is what I thought we could talk a little bit about today.  We are sitting ona a very important and influence day; Martin Luther King Day.   Last week saw a big protest in Boston where a group of people stopped traffic on I-93 in the name of the Black Lives Matter
movement.  This protest caused hours of back up and many people missing their appointments and being late or missing work.  An ambulance had difficulty getting through the traffic and thankfully the person needing care was not further at risk due to the protest.  On Friday I ran into a old friend who had a situation occur at their job that was very scary for her and not unlike many experiences she has had on the job.  These days it feels like the world is going crazy and feels very unsafe for many.  There is an
uprising happening and like many uprisings in the past, it comes with it’s fair share of unrest and threat to safety.  People are pissed and ready for action but the way they are taking action is through expressing outward rage instead of being mindful of consequences to their actions.  This sort of action brings chaos and pain to all and often does not result in the outcome that one would like.  My thoughts last week were that racism is unfortunately deeply entrenched in the history of our country and in particular here in Boston.  Stopping traffic and possibly causing someone to lose their life is not going to change that.  So what will?

This week in my Soba Yoga classes (my yoga project for recovery http://yourwholehealing.com/soba-yoga/ we talked about the concept of freedom and that it is a choice.  I read from the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.  Ruiz wrote about how we often blame our government, our parents, our jobs, our families, the external world in general for our inability to be free meanwhile when things change externally we can often times still find ourselves stuck in our own pain.  He writes that the Judge, the Victim, the Persecutor within us
are the ones that are keeping us locked in a jail cell.  Children are free; they do not worry about the future or dwell on the past. They are happy and present right where they are.  It is adults that are chained and locked up; mostly by their own volition.  I have seen this to be true
within my work in the field of trauma and addictions.  There are some people I have worked with that decide to choose freedom despite the awful things that have occurred to them and others who continue to use the past as a weapon against themselves or others.  It is all our choice.  We get to choose whether we are going to let go of the past or whether we will continue to live in that pain.  In our chat Finding Yourself I shared that part of my process of finding the self that was under my pain happened when I became ready to leave the past behind and take the road less traveled; the road of healing.  The pain that has been done recently and that has been done in the past to minorities is unconscionable.  But trying to right a wrong with another wrong will never amount to anything but more pain.

Vedder’s song Society is on his album that was specifically created for the movie, Into the Wild.  The movie was a dark, haunting and amazing tribute to a real life young man who was struggling with his demons.  Christopher MacCandless appeared to have it all on the surface but was lost inside.  After graduation from college he gave away his savings to charity and hitchhiked into the wilderness of Alaska.  If you have not seen the movie, I highly recommend it.  The pivotal point towards the end (I won’t give it away I promise:) is when Christopher realizes that what he really always wanted and needed was connection.  He set off to find the meaning of his life alone and what he found was that he desperately yearned for others.  The answer to the troubling question was less complex than originally thought and could only be revealed once he removed what his spirit hungered for.   Healing comes through community.  Not a community created through anger and rage but a community created through love.  The state of our world at the moment is scary and tentative at best.  The world is being shaken up globally and being asked to wake up to what we have done to each other.  We can not heal this level of destruction through more destruction.  The only way through is through love.  Martin Luther King preached love.  He stated “Hate can not drive out hate; only
love can do that.”  He spoke of shifting the world through opening up the heart and creating a peaceful nation.

“Take the first step in faith.  You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just the first step”  King preached.  What is the first step you
will take to choose freedom?  What does freedom mean to you?  For me, it means setting myself free from the pattern I have of believing that life has to be hard and that I have to do everything in order to pull myself up to succeed.  I have been shown lately that this is simply not true.  I am the only one choosing to engage in situations where life is hard.  This week I will continue stepping out to release myself from the things that make life hard and know that I can be free no matter what the external world is doing or not doing.

Cheers to choosing freedom today!


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