Do you ever think about how many different interpretations of "freedom" there are?

What's yours?

Whatever your idea of freedom is, really dig deep and focus on the before and after of that interpretation. 

  • The common ideas are: 
  • Financial freedom
  • Freedom to travel 
  • Freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want
  • Freedom of having resources, like living off the grid, growing food, animals, etc.
  • Internal/creative freedom

To always "yes and" you, your interpretation is valid, and I hope you get your freedom. I also hope it evolves into seeing the importance of dependence, independence, and interdependence. Spoiler alert: No matter what, we are all interdependent.

When we were children out playing and being "free," it's often because we depended on our parents. They pay the bills and make sure we are clothed and fed. 

Then we fight for our independence, to discover who we are, maybe a year abroad, or learning a skill. Yet, of course, all that is interdependent on teachers, tuition, plane tickets, hostels, and a kind shopkeeper giving you some unsold pastries at closing time. Whatever your story is, it requires many characters to unfold. 

The Aimless Never Miss

I remember hitchhiking from Holland to Poland, then over to England. After all that uncertainty, I wanted to change. I had mistaken freedom for aimlessness. The challenges of "drifting" really helped me experience firsthand the infinite ways we can unfold in a life of freedom. Then it hit me. 
I want to choose my community, my ride, and my path. 

Do the Laundry

Before enlightenment, laundry; after enlightenment, laundry

Monkeys and children only do what they see; the warrior sees the before and after.

So if financial freedom is a goal, the "before" may be finding work or starting a business. To find a team you can trust, get an education, or pray for your grandfather to, you know,  make sure you're a key player in his will. Most people's ideas of freedom usually require financial freedom. 

You can't travel without money or get the tools to live off-grid without cash. I'm sure someone can, but I haven't met them. 

"Before" considerations are

  • Time - Because you need to make time
  • Energy - Freedom takes energy unless freedom to you is to lay in a hammock and never lift a finger. 
  • Money - Things take money: tools, teachers, skills, land, or hiring help. Trading gets old. 
  • Place - Is there space? Living off the grid is hard in Manhattan, and the neighbors don't always support band practice. They'd rather hear leaf blowers at 7 am than Radiohead working out their new ideas. Place is such an important character in all our lives. 
  • Community - Are your community members capable? Or are you a homogenous group of like-minded thinkers that want to live communally off the land but insist on sleeping till noon and would rather be more of "ideas" people than "chop wood carry water" types? 
  • Responsibilities - You have a life already; when you travel, will you need to get your dog a service vest so it can live a life annoying others because freedom in your eyes means it's all about you? 

 What about after?

  •  Provide sanctuary, because all boats make wake -  In a free world, we must provide sanctuary to others around us, or you might have to make extra money to militarize so you can use your iron fist to "dance like no one's watching" whenever you want. I have been living off the grid, and when others come around, we can hear them a mile away. When people get up at sunrise to work to feed their families, it may cause friction if you move nearby and have a DJ every night. I have seen this, and it's not pretty. 
  • Laundry - Clean up and leave no trace. We were free to play as children because our parents did our laundry, kept the lights on, and had food on the table. How has that changed now that you are an adult? My personal rule is: Adults hold and create space, children take it up.
  • Maintenance - This is similar to laundry, but you may simplify your vision if you consider this. You may want land, but maintaining 20 acres differs from maintaining 2. Just as buying an old British motorcycle to travel the world might require you to be an exceptional mechanic. 

Most people's freedom requires a tremendous amount of environmental cleanup and maintenance. (All boats make wake)

"A jack-of-all-trades and a master of none, is always better than a master of one."

Freedom requires a lot of discipline and responsibility. If you are a specialist in your field, then you must have a community to meet the generalized needs of being free. It takes a long time and a creative mind to develop the general skills to be free. In mindfulness, we say, "What is constant isn't conscious." You may think freedom is constant. However, it's a valuable resource. So when you are not conscious of your freedom and taking careful audits and inventories, you may slowly enter into bondage. Whether it's so much luxury you have lost your capacity to enjoy rigor or discomfort, or now you have so much land, you can never leave. Freedom is one of my favorite meditations and considerations; I have written hundreds of pages on this and invite you to do the same. 

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