Giving Shape to Freedom: The Art of Living
Many of us will at one stage or the other yearn for freedom: freedom from…. certain feelings, experiences or situations in our lives.
In our effort to be free of these things, we might have shaped a very definitive vocabulary around these ‘don’t wants’. We focus on moving away, trying to resolve or fix these things by expressing them as ‘what I don’t want (anymore)’. Paradoxically though, engaging with our ‘don’t wants’ can make them an even stronger influence in our lives. Even so at times, when the moving away, the resolution and the fixes appear to work momentarily, we have a moment of tasting that freedom. Why then, do we often end up falling back into where we don’t want to be?
The answer is that, in only having focus on having ‘Freedom From’ (a move away) we haven’t yet developed our ‘Freedom For’ (a move towards). Freedom of itself is empty and needs to be filled and shaped, preferably with what you do want. 😊
‘Freedom From’ dynamic is filled with knowledge, vocabulary and imagination around what you don’t want; it is looking backwards into the past.
‘Freedom For’ dynamic is filled with knowledge, vocabulary and imagination around what you do want; it is looking forward with curiosity and desire.
Most of us don’t put a lot of effort into knowing our ‘Do Wants’. We are so used to our ‘Don’t Wants’ and the negative expectations they create, personally and socially, that they are held to be more realistic than positive expectations created by our ‘Do Wants’. We put most of our imaginative effort in what we don’t want. And it is imagination that we use to create this ‘reality’. How often do you scenario-alise situations that you don’t want so you can pre-emptively come up with a way of defending yourself from it?
I have often noticed too, how people’s vocabulary is often geared towards knowing what they don’t want and that when it comes to verbalising what they do want, it takes some time to find the words. But I’ll tell you this, it is just a matter of training the brain to form some new connections!
So how in touch with your ‘Do Wants’ are you? Not just in the material sense obviously, but in the sense of ‘What is it that you want to experience?’.
What is your yearning for Freedom for?
What do you desire to experience? What are you curious about? What is there in you that is still wanting to find expression? Use your imagination!
Here is a little writing exercise to gear yourself towards filling and shaping freedom:
Write down all those things you Don’t Want; say 20 ‘I don’t wants’ on a page, one under the other. Then in the column next to this, write down what you ‘Do Want’ instead: I want…..
This is a good exercise to direct your imagination and vocabulary towards giving shape to your freedom. Then when you write down what you do want, sit for a moment with what that would be like in your body and in your life, to experience this. What would be different? Use your imagination and notice what it feels like in your body!
The next step is to help your perception, mind and experience to be directed towards enjoyment.
Write 20 things (at least) that you enjoy; little things and big things (the play of light on leaves in the breeze and overseas trips).
As you step into your day, as you move into the next moment, direct your attention towards enjoyment, the possibility of enjoyment and hold your own experiential knowledge of your enjoyment in your body.
Notice that this redirecting of your attention towards enjoyment and engaging with your ‘Do Wants’ is a process of creating new connections in your brain by consistent use. Just as the disengagement from your ‘Don’ Wants’ will allow those connections to die a natural death! Yay!
Enjoy your Freedom