I want to talk to you about freedom. I want to talk about freedom from the bondage of self. And I say self, as in the I, me, the individual and the personal nature of one’s own life.
I want to encourage movement because otherwise, there is only the stagnant nature of things. There is only the “more of the same” and though I say this, I want to encourage myself as well as someone else. I want to inspire the person who is reading this who might be at the edge or who might be thinking about resigning or giving in.
My goal here is to connect with someone out there whose connection to their thoughts has become an elaborate prison; like a room with countless hallways and no doors and the only views are somewhat molested by a sad version of what people see.
I want to reach out now, loud as I can be, screaming to the world yet I am as quiet as a whisper. I have to be because no one listens when we yell.
Make no mistake about this, there are times when the life we live and the things we see, the people we meet, or the experiences we have can be difficult.
I am writing this to you because of your doubt, because of your constant struggle with the ideas of being an imposter or a stranger in your own skin. I am writing this because I know there are times when you just need a break; yet, there is no rest.
I am writing this to you with hopes to tame the battles in your head, even if only for a minute – even if the artillery stops for a second, which can be long enough to change a decision to quit. I want to encourage you to stop for a second.
There are dreams which all seem elusive. There are countless ideas. There are so many hopes and plans and items on your list, which I know that you want to check off.
However, there are blockages in our way. There are connections with thoughts and memories that lead us to bouts of fear or shame and anxiety.
There is the worry that the sky is falling. There is the idea that the world is coming to an end. There is the idea of the other shoe about to drop or the impending doom or the onslaught of insecurity and the attacks of fear without description.
My hope is to create a pause that is long enough to help cause a break in your thinking. In short, and what I suppose I’m really trying to say is “Don’t quit!”
I know there are times when it seems like nothing is possible. I know there are times when you are tired. I know there are times when the idea of taking another step is painful enough yet there;’s someone out there telling you, “one step at a time.”
This is easy for someone to say. It is easy for someone to come along and tell you, “Just hold on,” or “Things will get better.”
My aim is to encourage you to think for a second. Think about your gifts and I say this and immediately, I regard the world of those who’ve had everything. I regard the world of the rich and to people whose money can buy anything and even the wealthiest in the world can feel poor too or bankrupt, as if there’s nothing for them.
These thoughts are not limited by race or gender, religion or creed. The ideas of quitting are not limited to any social construct. Everybody at one point has thought about the ideas of quitting or giving in.
Sometimes we do quit. We do give in. And sometimes we regret ourselves. We regret our choices. Sometimes we quit and oftentimes, we think about this and we wish we could rewind the clock and unsay something or undo a moment that brings us doubt or shame.
There is hope. There is an answer but at the moment when life seems too weighty – or, there are times when the bottom falls. There are times when we are exposed to moments and bouts of shame, blame, guilt, regret or fault. There are times when the ideas of redemption are beyond our grasp. In these times, there is something about us; there’s something we said or did or should have done. There are times when aspects of us as we are seem inexcusable or unforgivable. There are times when we give in to the different facets of the mind and next we turn inward.
Let’s stop for a second.
Let’s pause here.
No matter how far down we are right now, no matter how badly we feel or how we judge ourselves, there is an option that if we choose, we can take this option and choose to live.
They say the enemy of my enemy is my friend, correct?
I say depression is an enemy. I say anxiety can be an enemy. I say that doubt and rational fears and all that feel beneath this umbrella can be an enemy as well. And, if this is the case, then I am more than your friend. I am your family.
My relation to this world has been altered by the concepts of my mind. My way of thinking or seeing things – or the way I think or feel or communicate is all due to my cognitive connection and my association with thoughts and feelings. This is all due to a series of my life’s experiences and the interpretation thereof.
I am writing to you about what it means to be free. And by free, I don’t mean out of prison. In fact, I have met people in prison who live with more freedom than those who enclose themselves in their mind.
I want to talk about freedom from depression or from the crucial ranks of anxiety. I want to talk to you about freedom from doubt. I want to talk about freedom from our sad alternative or the options that make us cringe. I want to talk about freedom from heartache and freedom from emotional pain. Freedom from the bondage of self. Freedom from depressive thinking. Freedom from suicide. Freedom from the idea that something about us is diseased.
I want to talk about freedom from compulsion. I want to talk about freedom from obsessions and from a life that keeps us in instead of a life which sets us free.
I know there are times when moving through the door and facing another day is too much to think about. And this sucks. It really does. But still, I want to inspire you. Or wait no.
I want to inspire us.
There is no quitting.
As hard as it might seem, there is hope. There is an answer. But more, there is such a thing as freedom. And maybe we’ve seen it. Maybe we’ve touched it. Maybe we’ve held its hand or listened to it speak. Or, maybe the idea of freedom is too big to be encapsulated in something so small as us. Or, maybe there is an idea that freedom is too great and that somehow, something inside of us does not believe that we deserve to be free. So, we keep ourselves stuck as in enslaved to our thoughts. But . . .
There is a way out.
There has to be. We just need to look.
Just one more time.
So don’t quit.
Let’s go at it again together.
One more time . . .
Note: There is a scene from the movie Shawshank Redemption where Andy Dufresne offers his friend Red a harmonica. Red had served 30 years of a life sentence. Andy asked Red if he was going to play it.
“Not right now.”
I understand this. The gift was so beautiful and so heartfelt. The idea of the harmonica was more than the music it played. This was a symbol of freedom and of hope and of dreams.
I have a sign next to me with the words “The Second Family” engraved on it.
To me, this gift is as sweet and as free as that harmonica.
Will I share it?
Not right now.
No, I suppose I want to hold this for a while,
to give my dream a bigger picture. To keep me from quitting.
And to remind me that in spite of it all, there is something bigger out there that is bigger than us all.