Monday, February 18, 2013

Musings on Personal Freedom

“I used to think that freedom meant doing whatever you want. Now I know that it means knowing who you are, what you are supposed to be doing on this earth, and then simply doing it.” – Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

Because I'm a person actively fueled by adventure and creativity and passion, people often tell me how much they respect and admire that I know what I want and that I just go for it.  What they don't realize is that I don't generally have a clear vision of what it is that I want, that I'm not very goal-oriented and that I'm definitely not a planner.  I very much live my life by "shooting from the hip", being open and spontaneous, and as a result, bump up alongside fantastic people, places and adventures.

Regularly, rather than consciously moving towards things, I'm moving away from things.  While I don't typically have a very specific idea of what I want, generally speaking my thoughts on what I want are quite vague, but when it comes to knowing what I don't want, I'm much more clear.  

I figure that as long as I move away from places, people, ideas, jobs, situations, etc. that are not or no longer feeding me, then I'm moving in a direction of discovering who and what will.  

People say that I am brave and courageous in living so "freely".  I'm just doing what I know how to do, what feels good to me and what works for me most of the time.  While it's fun to live this way, it can also be very stressful in that there are so many unknowns.  These are the two sides of the coin of my life.   

I routinely try activities and ideas and people on for size, feeling them out, fleshing them out, imagining my life with them as an active part.  This is an incredibly helpful exercise in my personal growth.  By eliminating the dull, drab listless and chaotic from my life, I thrust myself towards new beginnings and usually find my passions therein.

I admit that this may not actually be the most healthy way of living life, as I tend to fall in to emotional binge and purge cycles where I can easily become restless and bored with schedules and routines and the same ol' same ol'.  This is my current mode of operating and while this desire to be constantly moving, internally and externally, can be tiring, exhausting actually, it can also be incredibly stimulating and I find myself in places and with people who are creative, fun, filled with a zest for life.

If, as Natalie Goldberg surmises, freedom is knowing who you are, what you are supposed to be doing, and then simply doing it, well, does one or two out of three count?  I think so!


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