On Freedom: a Counterintuitive Way to Fly

Fierce Love Course - BadgeThere must be something in the air…I was asked to post on the topic of Freedom for two blog round-ups today — very fitting given a recent dream of mine (more below). It’s fun to get such a meaty topic to pontificate on! Today’s post is part of Mike Routen’s Personal Freedom Round Robin and Molly Mahar’s ABC’s of Self Love Blog Crawl + Treasure Hunt. Molly’s series is part of a broader program called The Fierce Love Course, an awesome offering to help you “activate your amazing.” 

On Freedom: The Counterintuitive Way to Fly

Bright blue butterfly

I’m a dream junkie.

There’s nothing I love more than remembering a crazy dream and analyzing it the next day with my trusty Element Encyclopedia of 20,000 Dreams, discussing all the possible meanings with friends.

The other night after returning from Mexico during a series of otherwise scattered dreams, I remembered seeing an extremely vivid, three-dimensional Avatar-style cobalt blue butterfly flying straight toward my face. It was crystal clear and extremely memorable.

According to my dream book:

“To see a butterfly in your dream denotes creativity, romance, joy and spirituality. You may be undergoing a transformation or rebirth in your way of thinking. To see a beautiful colorful butterfly in your dream denotes the positive impression you hope to make at a future social gathering or in some aspect of your life. It may also indicate your love of freedom and a refusal to be tied down. For Jung, the butterfly was a symbol of the whole psyche — as it was for the Greeks, to whom the word “psyche” meant both butterfly and soul.”

What does freedom mean to you?

Freedom is defined as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”

It is no small coincidence that my words of 2011 were Freedom and Fly. Hello dream! Freedom is one of my core values, and is a driving force behind almost every decision I make.

But freedom does not have to mean that you are self-employed, single, or a stuff-eschewing minimalist; freedom can mean many things:

  • Freedom from shackles of the mind: self-doubt, fear, limiting beliefs
  • Freedom from financial worry
  • Freedom from shoulds and social-self constructions
  • Freedom to think, speak and act with truth, integrity and authenticity
  • Freedom to make decisions that serve your highest good, and that of those around you

In commitment we find freedom

“The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating — in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.”
—Anne Morriss

A fallacy of freedom is that we must not allow ourselves to be tied-down, lest we lock the cage on our ability to fly. However, as the quote states, oftentimes it is in those very commitments that we truly find freedom:

  • Commitment to a giant goal gives us the freedom to pursue it even on our worst days
  • Commitment to our friends and romantic partners allows us the space to speak hard truths in service of strengthening the bond
  • Commitment to our values grounds us and roots our decisions in what really matters
  • Commitment to living in the moment, gratitude and forgiveness gives us freedom from mental suffocation, as we learn to let go of worry, stress and regret and focus on the gifts in front of us instead
  • Commitment to ourselves allows us to play big in the world, to create and serve others in our highest form

Freedom is the exhilaration that comes from our ability to fly, made possible by the commitments we make to what really matters in our lives.

What does freedom mean to you?
What commitments allow you to find that freedom? 

***

Reminder: I’ll be doing a live video Q&A call hosted by The Young Entrepreneur Council at 8:30pm ET on February 22 — would love for you to join us!

  • http://www.facebook.com/iangrindey Ian Grindey

    Freedom to me means ‘my rights end where yours begin’. Of course until everyone understands that we will all be held in slavery…

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Thanks for your comment Ian! Interesting definition of freedom — that one definitely had me stop and think…

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  • Emily Smith

    Freedom to me is in the form of a Latin phrase, “Alis volat propriis”…meaning: “She flies with her own wings.”….having the ability to have the courage to trust yourself, the universe, and the skills/knowledge/tools you are equipped with to fly freely towards your authentic journey :-)

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      I love that phrase, Emily!! Goes along perfectly with the butterfly analogy :)

  • http://www.simplemindfulness.com/ Paige | simple mindfulness

    Just as you mentioned, I  used to think that freedom meant committing to nothing and wondered why I never felt fulfilled.  While it’s counter-intuitive, we are much more free when we commit to ourselves and our highest values and when we take full responsibility for all of our choices.  And it leads to a much happier life.

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Thanks for your comment and the social sharing, Paige! Loved your post too — it’s amazing how closely correlated freedom and happiness are — it’s such a core part of being human. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=7411891 Meredyth Pederson

    One of the most important freedoms in my life is the freedom to make mistakes. As a recovering perfectionist, I sometimes forget that this freedom exists! But when I remember, it is SO… freeing. =)

  • Katie

    That commitment quote is exactly what I needed today. Thanks :)

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      I’m so glad! That one really resonated with me too :) So great to hear from you, btw — I hope all is well! Was just telling my friend who moved to Seattle that he has to go to Cow Chips and eat a cookie or ten for me :)

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  • http://Mazzastick.com/ Justin Mazza

    Hi Jenny,
    5 years ago I went through a phase were I recorded and decoded all of my dreams that I could remember for about 6 months. I learned a lot about my subconscious this way.

    Freedom to me means the ability to do what I want to do when I want to do it.

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      It’s so fascinating! Awesome that you recorded and decoded all your dreams for 6 months – wow! They say that you remember more dreams by doing that. I’ve gotta try that — I love analyzing dreams, but my friend Elisa who took a class in allegory in college is the master at it. Thanks for taking the time to read & comment!

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  • http://www.yourlifetheirlife.com/ Dan Meyers

    Jenny – as always, great stuff.  Thanks for the reminder that freedom doesn’t mean unleashing all responsibilities, but instead finding the responsibilities that are worth tying yourself to.  So many people wish to retire so they no longer have to think about anything, but most of us would quickly be in a state of misery without a purpose.

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Thanks so much Dan!! You put it so well: “find the responsibilities worth tying yourself to.” Yes! I actually think human beings take great relief in committing to things — it frees us from some amount of indecision and worry. It’s just about finding the commitments that promote freedom, not take away from it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Love your new bite-sized wisdom blog too :)

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  • http://twitter.com/elisestephens Elise Stephens

    I definitely resonate with this– committments to myself define my freedom. The more I let the needs or expectations of others dictate my actions, the more my freedom (and often my happiness) shrinks.  When I make a committment to love myself and honor the things I long to do, freedom widens.  It’s really amazing.

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Thanks for your comment Elise! Absolutely beautiful the way you put that — that the more you let others’ needs dictate your own, the less freedom you have. I often fall into the same trap! Committing to ourselves (and loving ourselves) is the best thing we can do for our freedom. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend :)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Lyburn/31200286 Chris Lyburn

    Enjoyed this read/video.Thanks Jenny.

    I’ve found true freedom is the best route to excellence…

  • Debra

    Al can increase the number of respondents and quick response rate  to his survey by contacting college and university alumni offices to request the alumni centers forward  via e-mail, his survey to the recent alumni and/or graduating classes of interest for his book.  He could begin with his college/university alma mater alumni office and expand to example: northeast, southeast, west coast etc. I wish Al much success with the survey.

    • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

      Thanks for the suggestion Debra! I’ll be sure to pass this along to Al.

  • http://www.savvyscot.com/ Savvy Scot

    Freedom to me represents being able to make my own decisions and not bound by routine.

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