What does it mean to have freedom? Is it freedom from, or freedom to, or simply a way to be? Many clients come to coaching because they are feeling stuck or restricted in some area of their lives. Often the loosening of the knot comes with a new perspective, with looking at the bigger picture, and stepping into that stream of energy that flows naturally from a sense of passion and purpose greater than ourselves.
We all want to be free from pain, from fears, from problems and limitations of all kinds. I was first introduced to a 12 Step program in Oakland, California, over two decades ago. I promptly misinterpreted the first step: “We admitted we were powerless over ____________ and our lives had become unmanageable.” I thought it meant that if I admitted that I was powerless over certain things in my life, and I worked the12 steps, that life would become manageable.
Over time, I realized that life wasn’t going stop dishing up the unpredictable challenges, tragedies and joys that come and go in everyone’s lives. It was a spiritual awakening accessed through the 12 Step programs that began to make it possible for me to find serenity and peace in the midst of life’s inherent unmanageability. Freedom came with a lot of letting go — of old ideas, beliefs and attitudes.
What You Resist Persists
Getting free from something tends to focus a lot of energy on the problem, and you’ve probably heard the old adage, “What you resist persists.” If you want a change, rather than looking at what seems to be in the way, it is often more helpful to edge it out. Looking at what we are really committed to in our lives, and even more important, why we are committed to it, and then taking one small step in that direction immediately moves energy away from what we no longer want.
What does it look like, feel like, to have the thing that you want to be free to create, or have, or be? What values do you hold that are satisfied in this vision? What purpose does it fulfill in your life? Is it so compelling that you are, no- kidding, committed to it? W.H. Murray, from the Scottish Himalayan Expedition, wrote “…that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred…”
Most highly spiritually evolved beings seem to have a serene, peaceful countenance and many are downright jolly. They do not appear to be beset by worries and pressures, or burdened by the every day concerns of the world. And yet they are in the world, the same world as you and me. What do they know or have that we ordinary mortals have not yet accessed?
This line of inquiry brings to mind one of my favorite quotes, unfortunately of unknown origin: “No matter how anxious you may be, you will not save yourself.” In other words, no amount of worry or fretting will calm our fears or solve our problems. Running solely on our own power will land us right back where we started, here, shouldering the weight of the world.
A Sacred Intention
Do you have an intention for your life? Does it feel sacred to you? Does it show up in your every day pursuits and encounters? What if having freedom means being in the flow of our sacred intention, and therefore less thrown off by the appearance of obstacles or attachments in the world? A sense of peace and freedom that cannot be shaken comes from knowing why we are here, and that we are a part of something far greater than this unmanageable world.