Do you feel free? Or trapped?

Do you feel free? Or trapped? Trapped in your work, a relationship, a tight financial situation. Trapped in the sense that you feel you ‘have to’ or there is ‘no other way’, trapped in difficult circumstances you didn’t choose. We live in a free country, but often do not feel free at all. This causes pressure and creates hidden tension.

To release this tension we distract ourselves with facebook, relieve the pressure with a daily glass of wine, watch TV or start dating and indulge ourselves in temporary sexual pleasure or numb ourselves with drugs and medication. Anything to escape the underlying feeling of entrapment.

Meanwhile we dream of a future free from worry, free from pressure. We dream of a different relationship, a new job, moving abroad, taking a trip. Some day, when… But what can you do to feel truly free in this moment? Right now?

My whole life I searched for freedom

I believe I have been searching for freedom my whole life. I was convinced this is where I would find ultimate happiness. Finding freedom was the greatest goal in my life. Never being trapped in a place or situation I didn’t want to be in. This urge related to everything I did.

As I kid I was always out on my own. Wandering through the fields and woods for hours. Dreaming of being a gypsy. Building dens and fires. Freedom was about doing and being different. Skipping school, never conforming. At the edge of the group, never in the centre. Always having the option of moving on.

I made sure my dreams weren’t just part of the future. The day after I turned 18, I travelled to New York. I chose a liberal arts degree, no grades, no obligations, simply doing and experiencing. An occupation as a freelance journalist, the option to go any way I wanted. Those few times I did work for an employer felt horribly confining.

Freedom meant not doing anything I didn’t feel like doing

After my studies I went on to travel once again. Alone. No attachments. Traveling half the world with hardly any possessions. Not doing anything I didn’t feel like doing. Numerous boyfriends, but never any commitments. And then there was that one man, he became the father of my children, who I was well able to spend 10 years with, because we each created our own free zone. The best of companions, but both on our own little island.

Did I feel free? Yes. Was I happy? No.

I felt exceptionally fortunate. With all this freedom and the experiences it had given me. I felt fortunate to live a free life abroad. I felt fortunate to have Innersteps and all the freedom it gave me. With the ability to divide my time the way I wanted. Yet there was this feeling of being trapped, which I had been carrying around unconsciously for years.

I was free from a whole lot of external pressure, but wasn’t free from my own loneliness. Which was there ever since I was a small child and the feeling always stuck. Sometimes it presented itself as a slightly displaced feeling in the company of others, at other times as an intense and awness emptiness even in my own home.

The idea that you will find happiness
by being completely free,
turned out to be an illusion

The whole idea, that you will find happiness by being completely free, turned out to be an illusion. For years I thought I was fully in touch with life. While in reality it was the other way around. I wasn’t in touch. Wasn’t connected. Which leaves emptiness deep inside. Plain and unfulfilling.

Our greatest longing is to truly be in contact with the world around us. To feel a deeper connection. And at the same time this is our greatest fear. Because if you want to meet life and those around you on a deeper level, you must open your heart. Which is scary, and feels vulnerable. Unconsciously I carefully protected this place. And in doing so tricked myself for all these years.

True freedom, I have discovered, doesn’t mean being free from but being free with. Experiencing freedom while being with your discomfort. With your fear. Your helplessness and frustration. I have never felt so free yet at the same time so fulfilled as this last year. While there was plenty of discomfort. Insecurity, painful issues. Frustrating moments. Fears.

Accepting what is there. This is what freedom is about. Remaining connected, dissolving resistance instead of moving away from it. Instead of analysing, contemplating, looking for solutions. Simply acknowledging: this is what’s there. At this moment there is anger. Period.

The greatest fear is loosing ourselves. In the anger. Or in the sadness. That it overwhelms us to such an extent that we go under. Are lost. My experience is that the opposite happens. Whatever I accept completely, I can deal with. And eventually it dissolves. What is left is true freedom. And space for movement to flow naturally. Free from tension, control, fear. And full of trust.

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