Freedom

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice to become an outlaw” – Nelson Mandela

Freedom.  Especially as the US government election nears, I watch people really start to take notice what is going on. In many cases, at the moment, I feel them panic. In the name of freedom and fairness they form their agendas.  They are angry. They are passionate. They are hopeful, fearful, sometimes dogmatic. But they are speaking their voice. I hope. Is it really YOUR voice or a regurgitation of what someone imbedded between your ears?  What does your heart say is truth?  What if each of us chose to look at our own Selves. Our own choices, and then the consequences of those choices. And what about the perspectives, judgements, taking of responsibility…. or lack of, that has led us to where we are today?

Who is really held in chains by the government, creditors, church leaders, families, and friends? Why is this? When are we going to realize it is us who got “me” into this. And it is Me who must get me out? Scary? Yes. But beautiful? It can be. What is freedom? Ask yourself the question. Not superficially, but ask what the real truth is for you.  Why is it that we think we must depend solely on others to grant it. To me that is what puts us in chains in the first place. I wonder what elections would look like if everyone took real responsibility for their own lives. Would we become human again?  Would would the world look like? What would it feel like to be Me?

Freedom means so many things to so many people. My request is that people will look inside themselves and inquire what it really means. How important is it to you? Define it. Break it down. Then have the courage to live in a way that emulates it. Stand up. Be strong. Be free inside of your heart if nothing else. What if you do become an outcast? Really it is not as bad as it sounds. I’ve felt like an alien much of my life. When I finally learned it had beautiful aspects, I saw myself fly.

When I was little I felt strangled by strict parenting, school rules, church fear-embedded and sprinkled with elitism “guidelines”, clutches of friendships, sociological and cultural agendas, and the list goes on. As the years have passed, I have done everything possible to find what freedom means to me. I’ve spent many 1,000’s of hours alone in the mountains, desert, water bodies, and sometimes just at home seeking what it means to me.  Sometimes I think I find it. Others I make choices that shows me it’s opposite. Ouch.

I am no longer my parent’s child. I am free of that. Or am I? I choose to raise my own little son, Canyon, with no rules.  He is in charge. He makes decisions and lives with the consequences.  Watching him choose to a point his life is a great teacher to me. He is the closest to a “boss” I hope to ever have again.  I do have this funny fear that Canyon will someday rebel against my no rule thought pattern,  just as I despised my militant like upbringing…. I am already planning on giving him 3 years worth of weekly therapy sessions to get over any way I may have destroyed him with my strange parenting style. I can see him having issue with the thought that “mom didn’t care”. But in, fact I do. But I swung the pendulum the other way.  I care so much about him that I am traumatized to impose any rule or even the slightest negative anything to him in fear of making him feel offended. On some levels I know this is counter productive.  Kids typically at least like a bit of structure. Yes? I don’t know. I do the best I can given whoever or whatever it is “I am”.

My schooling is finished. I hope to NEVER go back. School felt like a prison. I stay as far away from bureaucratic prisons as possible. But this doesn’t always work. During the last few years of my college and then beyond, I was forced into a 7 year law suit which I lost after my head injury. Then I was right back into the slow wheels of justice “system” when I got sued for my medical expenses immediately after. At that point I had been in the ugly unfair court system for 1/3 of my life. I will do anything not to go back. I allowed myself to be nearly destroyed by the system, but luckily I am stronger than I think.

But then I think of all of my flying all over the place to race. On multiple occasions pushing for my “rights” to TSA almost ended in arrest for rebellion. Don’t they understand I have a voice? I question everything. I question them. When they can’t or won’t answer my cries and sometimes accusations of the ludicrous rules they hold, I can’t hold back. I can hardly deal with the fact that, they don’t care. So I finally learned to tone it down. I realize fighting for my First Endurance .5 extra ounces of gel or my homeopathic funny little remedies isn’t worth a record or denied flight.  I realize to live with society, I do want to choose to follow some sense of flow. I may not agree with it, but full rebellion is not a happy way of it. But it doesn’t mean they don’t make me mad!

The list goes on. Boyfriends whom tell me “the way it is, or else.”  What is that? I warned them I am high freedom. Capable of thinking, want to be seen as an equal. And then they are surprised I have a voice as well?  Good grief.  Or perhaps, good riddance?  Whatever. Don’t think you can control me. Do not put a leash on me. If you must, it has to be extremely long or we won’t make it. Don’t force an agenda on me. If you don’t like me for who I am, don’t date me in the first place. I am amazed at how some people think they want to date me. Then once they do, they want to change 10,000 things about me until I am perfect. Really? When are you going to learn that doesn’t work. That is not love. That is wanting an illusionous  prize. Arm candy. I am none of that. They call me Rachel. I don’t know who I am, but I am certainly not something for you to manipulate or control. But then I watch myself in certain ways do it to myself, or to them. Yep. I have so much to learn. I just destroyed another amazing relationship due to my not allowing him his own space. Some of my life lessons hurt so much.

Then there is me when I am with no one else. The times when there is no filtered mirror to look into. It is just my soul staring straight at me.  Over my life, I have pushed everything away from me that even slightly resembles chains, walls, or prisons. With out initially realizing it, I instead wrapped my own chains around my throat.  I must be this, I must act like that. I have to think this way. All of a sudden I was nearly buried six feet under. There is no one or no thing left to blame it on. I can’t breathe. I am sick, I feel stuck. And then I look in the mirror. I realize I have enslaved my Self. I still flee to my running, my cycling, my yoga, Pilates, the stars, the sun, anything to run away from my crazy mind.  I realize my effort to be “free” has turned into a self-imposed prison.  WOW.

But lately I have finally began to see that the way out is the way in. I bound myself by way of fear. All in the name of securing the freedom I strive to capture in a bottle…. I am finally learning that I will never find true freedom until I learn to face my fears and realize the illusion they are. I have suffocated myself and my life based on false beliefs.

Sometimes beliefs I formed, promises I made to protect myself, isolating practices to protect, all of which initially did help. In time these became my captors. I continued to clutch when it was no longer the way up. Instead I made myself fall.  Luckily if nothing else I am good at standing back up again.

Hmmmm…. So here I am. I just turned 32. I’m shocked and amazed I am still here. I’ve had 4 near death experiences. 3 of which are public knowledge. 1 of which I still have never had the courage to speak about. And I still can’t. Yes. I really do have that much fear inside of my tiny little body.  Someday that voice will be found. Yet for now, it is a secret. Another prison. Possibly.

I watch how I push away anything and everything that dares to bind me in chains.  That includes anyone whom thinks they can put me into a little box. No way! This is all in the name of finding freedom.  I watch myself fight for my self-inflicted rights at all costs. I pull myself into isolation to stay away from the pain.  I run to the desert. I run for the mountains. When I can’t run any more, I jump on my beloved bicycles and ride until numb. Sometimes I ride until happy. Perhaps it is really all the same. I run to find freedom. I ride to fly. When I die some day, I want my ashes spread over the Grand Canyon so I can fly with the eagles forever.

I am promising myself this year that I will learn to love who I am no matter what. No one and no experience will take away my freedom. I am setting myself free in my heart. My hope is by myself finding this, I may help as many others possible live free as well.