View this post on Instagram
An Everyday Journey to Freedom
Today I woke up feeling unrested.
I did not want to get out of bed.
I immediately began beating myself up because I had goals that needed accomplishing. In my mind, I needed to wake up with enthusiasm and happiness and a gusto for this exciting life!
I needed to practice yoga so that I could then jump on my elliptical with my new, comfortable, hideous runners. I needed to get my vegetable smoothie blended so that every cell in my body could be nourished.
After this I needed to take a shower so that I could feel refreshed before I headed outside to do my 20-kilometer hike and then go to my Spanish lesson, all while having profound thoughts that would eventually turn into typed words where I could fully express my awe and wonderment for both my internal and external world. Damn, that’s a lot of pressure.
But I woke up unrested, and I absolutely did not want to get out of bed. Not a moment had passed since opening my eyes, and I’d already failed at living my life today. As I’m sure you can imagine, this depressing thought only made it harder to get out of bed. I was immediately consumed with thoughts that pursued to beat my soul into unrecognizable oblivion, almost as if I were the victim of cruel physical violence, being shredded to pieces in a dark alleyway by someone only capable of inflicting pain as if she were the devil herself.
“What is wrong with you? Why can’t you just get your life together already? Who do you think you are, aspiring to be some kind of evolved being when, in reality, you don’t know anything? You are not smart enough. You are not beautiful enough. You are not loved enough. You are not rich enough. You are not successful enough. You do not exercise enough. You do not challenge yourself enough. You do not own enough. You are not healthy enough. You are not strong enough. You are not grateful enough. You have so much potential, but you will never reach it because you are not enough!”
At this point, I was so emotionally drained that I did go back to sleep. I stayed right where I was because I was too afraid to face the fear that even my first step out of bed would be the wrong step. After all, even that first step could be one in the direction of nothingness and that is my biggest fear of all—being and doing nothing with this life.
Another hour or so later, I began to come back to consciousness. I kept my eyes closed, savoring what would be the last few moments of a dream that I can no longer remember. Suddenly, the voice I can now recognize as my soul—loving and compassionate and wise as she is—spoke softly to me. “Let go.”
I hadn’t realized that I was holding onto anything until I loosened my grip and let the current of a fast-flowing, protective river take me. This brilliantly clear river embraced me as it carried me through my life.
Freedom. This felt like complete and utter freedom, and briefly, it scared the sh*t out of me.
As I floated along with the river, I passed large, daunting, sometimes sharp rocks that were the size of boulders. They were almost in my path, but somehow I knew that if I didn’t try to reach for them, I could not be hindered or hurt by them.
As I continued to go along, my soul spoke to me again. “These rocks? You’ve been grasping onto them your entire life. You saw them as achievements, as goals, as worthiness for being loved and accepted. You’ve even thought of them as the optimal destination for your life.”
Had I? I took three conscious breaths as I slowly accepted the possibility that she might be right. I knew that I had to make the decision to at least hear her out.
“My love,” she said. “Not only have you been grasping onto these rocks as if they’d save your life, you chose to struggle, always swimming upstream to reach for them. You’ve put yourself in great danger to do this. If you need proof of this, just listen briefly to your mind and your body. They are so tired.”
“You’ve grown as much as you could while resisting the flow of our river—the flow of your life—and it was not wasted. But stay with me awhile and you’ll see that you will not have to struggle anymore and you will continue to grow exponentially. I will take you to where you need to be, and you will find all of the love, joy, excitement, and contentedness you’ve wished for your entire life.”
But how do I let go of something that I’ve held onto for my entire life? How can I possibly trust in you when nobody else in my life has trusted you? These boulders are all we know. Our lives have always been about moving upstream, and this is how we’ve cultivated our greatest virtue—courage.
“You don’t have to do this,” she said. “But I am going to make you aware that you do have a choice. If you aren’t ready to let go and trust in me completely, these boulders will be there to catch you. All you have to do is reach for them and they’ll be there, as they always have. Please. Just try. You may not trust in me fully yet. You may even feel guarded and as though you need to protect yourself. That is okay and completely natural. But soon, you will trust me. You will wonder how you could have ever doubted in my capability to care for you. You will know with absolute certainty that I will never and would never, ever, let you drown.”
I open my eyes.
I feel a deep sense of calm, unlike the first time I awoke. I take a few minutes to process the experience I just had, trying to fully grasp every word and feeling that I still held in my heart. In my consciousness, I understood what these boulders represented.
In the past, while I grasped onto one boulder, I would stare ahead at all the others that I had yet to reach. They were my main focus. It did not matter how many boulders I’d fought to reach in the past. In fact, the boulder I had just latched onto no longer mattered.
Those accomplishments were nothing because they no longer offered the validation I thought I needed. I had to keep reaching for the next milestone, proving to myself and other people that I am worthy of love and belonging, all while listening to these future goals as they taunted me, ridiculed me, and laughed in my face when I struggled to reach them. Each of them are always holding up bright red flashing signs that read, “You will never be enough!”
As I sit here now, I realize that if I can just let go and trust that I will get to where I need to be, my life will seem effortless in comparison to the life I’ve been conditioned to live—the life we’ve all been conditioned to live.
When we’re no longer struggling upstream, struggling for the validation that we matter, and just accept and love ourselves as we are, we cultivate true courage and inspire others to do the same.
If we just let go of our resistance and trust, we will undoubtedly reach our best destinations, as well as the ones we never knew we wanted or needed.
And on our journey? We will know what it means to have lived in love, in joy, in excitement, and in contentedness, while also having experienced a f*cking amazing and beautiful life.