"When your heart feels right, you shine from the inside..."
There seems to be a lot of tension around the word freedom these days...having felt the loss of it so profoundly over the last 15 months, it really hits home how fragile our freedom can actually be. It makes a lot of sense to me that we are seeing such a profound push back against the perception of freedoms being taken away. We instinctively know that freedom is a core value, we feel it in our bones when it is threatened. This pandemic has highlighted so many things in our society, one of them expressing itself in this push and pull about freedom and protecting it is at the heart of it all. Take for example, the Freedom Marches - the essence of which is "you cannot take away my freedom to choose whether I want to be vaccinated or not" and on the other side are those watching the Freedom Marches from a screen thinking "if you keep marching like this, you are threatening my own freedom to move through the world again".
It's a complicated, highly charged, emotionally triggered mess right now. But it's easy to see that freedom is at the heart of it all. Because freedom is foundational to our lives. I feel very fortunate to be born into a society that values freedom. But this current conflict highlights the question "where does my freedom end and yours begin?"
Or an even deeper question, what is freedom? Is it something given to us by an outside authority? Is it a set of rules - what we can and cannot do based on the societal structures in which we live? I have the freedom to speed on the highway but there is a consequence if I am caught. So am I truly free to speed on the highway? Are rights and freedom the same thing? Do I have the right to speed on the highway? Most would answer no - it is dangerous and we have laws to keep people safe so you do not have the right to speed on the highway. But what if I was in labour and needed to get to a hospital quickly? Do I then have the right? And who decides that my choice to speed in that circumstance is acceptable? But at the heart of this query is my freedom to choose. I make a choice between having a baby in the car or trying to get to the hospital in time. I measure the risk and I choose. This happens in my mind - where freedom truly lives. When I make that choice, the speed limit is still a thing and there is still a consequence if I am caught but I am free to make the choice. This never actually happened to me thank goodness, it always freaked me out when I heard stories of women giving birth in a car on the side of the road! But...if I was in that situation, I would choose to speed. Most definitely.
Freedom is at the heart of the human experience - it's the basis of life. It does not come from outside of ourselves...or from societal constructs. Freedom is a state of mind that we can choose to experience in any given circumstance.
We make choices on how to think and feel every moment of every day. The housing where that occurs is framed by freedom. Freedom is a mindset. It is a way of being. It's the choosing. Freedom is the mechanism by which we navigate this incredible experience we call life. When something awful happens to us, we are free to choose how we respond and how we let it affect us. When something amazing happens, we do the same. Life happens - and then we choose.
Freedom can never truly be taken from us. Because it lives within us.
Freedom is a feeling.
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