Warning: naughty language ahead.
We don’t need juice cleanses, self-help books or an ashram to find our way to freedom.
We’re not going to uncover it by chanting, doing “breath of fire” until we pass out, or going to a $10 psychic.
We can only do it for ourselves, and I’m certain we’re not going to make it happen by imposing rules on what most empowers our authentic freedom: the ability to live our own lives, as we see fit, always gravitating toward what feels right.
We’re already there. All we have to do is have a conversation with ourselves.
We will need some tools: a social construct shield, a shovel for excavating our thoughts, and a room in which to dance, scream, and write.
Here’s why: no one else’s opinion matters, our thoughts about our perceived limitations are the one thing preventing us from doing anything we want and we must fearlessly self-express without shame.
First, we must understand we live in a society that trains us to believe that we have to push, compete and come at ourselves with aggression in order to achieve “success”.
“Success” is a bitch of a loaded word. Usually, it refers to following someone else’s path instead of paving our own.
It seems to directly entail, in its colloquial usage, that we work hard for/on someone else’s dreams and for their profit. We believe that this is a necessity of being alive in our current society. Sorry (not sorry), it’s not.
It’s also terrifying to leave the comfort of what we’ve always known (read: what we’ve always been told), yes. However, nothing great ever happened to anyone who perpetually chose comfort.
With the exception of excellent naps, the “comfortable” is synonymous with the stagnant. Comfort is not synonymous with contentedness.
If we are seeking strength, counter-intuitively, we must come at ourselves with gentleness, understanding and a broad awareness. The world is larger than our minds allow us to believe. When we challenge the status quo and gravitate toward what feels right over what we think is right, we’re ready to jump face-first into the glory of being alive.
We’re always right there, sometimes we just need reminding.
This is where the conversation comes in, the one we must have with ourselves. This isn’t a one-time thing, this is a long-term love fest. This is the candid discussion between our version of “you” and the mind, the shift that changes everything.
I double-dog-dare you to stop pushing, fall in love with everything exactly as it is and see what happens. I’ll be right next to you, doing the same, scared as shit too, but laughing all the way. Here are four steps to kick our asses into high-gear blossoming:
1. Let go of every label and idea we have ever created around our idea of “self”.
We are not any of those things. Investigate the mystery. Start now. We’re not our jobs, our gender, or even our bodies. What’s left? What ignites the fire in our chest that blows us wide open? What allows us to feel wild and free? What do we connect to? Don’t think, just reach for it.
2. We have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
There is a reason the term “growing pains” exists, and it doesn’t just apply to our seventh-grade growth spurts. Releasing ourselves from the binds of self-doubt, limitations and social oppression is not pretty. It won’t always feel good. By that I mean, I feel like a hot emotional mess more often than I would like, but I’m also feeling better all the time.
We are not going to come out pissing glitter and “om”ing in rush-hour traffic. I wish. It is an ongoing process that is going to hurt sometimes.
3. Take up space.
We can’t play small, there is no presence in that. We must trust ourselves and our true nature of being infinite, limitless and free. We are trained to tread lightly, to worry about offending others and pleasing everyone. We are encouraged to be concerned with “being liked”.
I think if we’re doing it right, we’re offending people.
Not everyone is going to like us. That’s because we’re being true to ourselves. If someone is offended, that’s on them, not us. So let’s not worry about them. Instead, let’s concern ourselves strictly with crushing it.
4. Choose compassion.
If we practice being kind to ourselves, we are able to carry that into the world. When we beat ourselves up constantly, we start to do the same to everything around us (with or without noticing).
We have to work on lessening the asshole voice in our heads, the one that tells us that we “can’t,” that we’re not “good enough” or, worst of all, that we’re “not ready.” I still do it all of the time. My favorite one is “you’re not ready.” I’m a big fat liar to myself, because the truth is that I am. You are. We are. We are ready right now. We always have been.
Open up and let go. I dare you to forget everything else. I dare you because I’m daring myself.
Do it because we must. If we can, we must.
Where will liberation lead us? It’s not worth worrying about the specifics when we already know the answer—everywhere.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Assistant Editor: Guenevere Neufeld / Editor: Catherine Monkman