A journey that lasts a lifetime (part five)
THE PRETTY, LITTLE GIRL (OR BOY) IN ALL OF US
There once was a pretty, little girl. She grew up in a big city with her engineer father and manager mother, the perfectionist, and with that came teachings of efficiency, persistence and the importance of complete independence. Throughout school, her upbringing was rewarded with good grades and teachers who complimented her hard work. In college, her excellent grades and approving teachers increased her sense of happiness so much that her wellbeing completely depended on approval of teachers and anyone else for that matter. She realized that she could no longer feel fulfilled and or happy unless others thought she was ‘perfect’. She grew into a lovely, efficient, persistent, and seemingly independent woman. She aimed to please. Appearance was all that mattered. This became her identity, her ‘safe’, little refuge, her rules for living. She felt happy… or at least she thought she did…
In reality, she was trapped…had trapped herself inside a ‘safe’ refuge created by somebody else. Her only escape was to peek outside of the refuge once in a while and go into hiding for a day. When she did, she allowed herself to do all the things her rules of life didn’t permit… eating whatever she wanted and as much as she wanted, not answering the phone or any text messages, lying around in her PJs all day long doing nothing, and watching movies that removed her from her reality and allowed her to dream. In hiding, she was lazy, wasteful, messy and out of control. All alone, she could be wild – a non-pleaser- who she thought she wanted to be… or at least she thought she could…
Because the day after she would have to return to her ‘safe’, little refuge – her real life, the life that she didn’t feel comfortable with. With time, she saw that her one day escapes were stripping more and more from her. In her refuge, she was capable and productive and all put together. In hiding, she was more and more lost and uncertain. She could no longer see herself in either of these worlds. There was no balance, no middle place. She was living on the edge of two extremes, neither of which felt right.
One day, while walking alone in silence she heard a big, tiny voice speaking to her. This is what it said:
You can trap yourself with words, appearances, expectations and pride. You can give your power away to others. You can allow them to create the rules. You can continue to depend on the acceptance of everybody else. You can follow them until you no longer know who you are or what you want. Sometimes, you can even attempt to escape. You can choose to believe that everything is exactly how it should be. You can continue to go through life safe, yet powerless and blind.. lost in a cloud of confusion… or at least you think you can…
because sooner or later you will drown in this cloud, or even worse you will wake up one day realizing that your life is almost over and that you have passively let it pass you by. Sooner or later your ‘safe’, little refuge will fall to pieces and the only thing you will feel is naked remorse….
or you can decide, TODAY, to create a refuge, that is less safe, but is also true and meaningful, and most of all meant for only you.
In that very moment, this lovely, young woman decided that she would never again live by anyone else’s rules except her own.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
It comes a time when the planning stage of a journey is over and the real trip begins. The fear is overcome (at least for the moment).The choice is put into action and you actually REACT. No turning back. Suffering is inevitable, but so is growth and great pleasure (see Baby Steps part two). If you have truly chosen where you want to go, what you want to bring, and more importantly, what you don’t want to bring (no fear, no attachment, no negativity, no excuses) on this journey to freedom, then you are ready to take a few steps outside of your comfort zone in search of your real self, a meaningful existence… FREEDOM.
Cars, money, expensive, high maintenance homes, beauty – these are many of the material things that weigh us down and make life exhausting and impossible to keep up with. We have been taught from early on that in order to be fulfilled we need the ideal job, the dream house, the perfect body. So, you wait… you wait for the necessary degree, then the right guy or girl, the fancy wedding, the house, the car and the babies, and in the end, you keep waiting… to pay off the mortgage, to get back into shape, for the kids to go to school, to have more alone time with your spouse, to have enough money and days off for the peaceful, 7-day vacation in paradise. It never ends, not even after retirement – if you hold on to the need for perfection, if you relate this to your level of happiness, you will wait for facelifts, body tucks, Botox, Viagra, younger partners, and the fountain of youth, successful sons and daughters to brag about, perfectly behaved grandchildren, and perhaps a cozy, perfectly decorated condo kissed by an eternal sunshine…
You will just keep on waiting or perhaps not… Perhaps you will understand that life is now and the future doesn’t exist and most of all, that there is no perfection in search of perfection. Life is perfect as soon as you start actually living it. Life is perfect when you stop giving a damn what everyone else is doing and start living by your own rules. And, life is free when you start freeing yourself.
Some people decide to start by giving up their unsatisfying jobs or by selling an expensive home or other assets that are making their luggage too heavy. Others may choose to get out of an unhealthy relationship, change the way they entertain themselves or decide to spend less money. Some may start by focusing on their health, the way they eat or how they cure themselves. Others may look at the environment as inspiration, or they may feel the desire to help others and offer themselves to a good cause. There is no right or wrong way. There is only your way. And most of all, there is no need to keep waiting. Freedom is out there waiting for you…
BECAUSE IN THE END, YOU WON’T REMEMBER THE TIME YOU SPENT WORKING IN THE OFFICE OR MOWING YOUR LAWN. CLIMB THAT GODDAM MOUNTAIN. (JACK KEROUAC)
Homework for BABY STEPs 101
Grab pen and paper.
This week take some ‘you’ time to ask yourself:
What part of your life could use a bit of tidying up?
Where do you need to slow down?
What excess do you wish to eliminate?
What would you like to see more of?
What would I do if money were not an object?
What am I passionate about?
Why am I doing, saying or thinking this? Am I doing, saying or thinking this because it is right for me or because I was taught to do, say or think it?
What does freedom mean for you?
To be continued…
Click follow this blog and don’t miss Baby Steps to Freedom (Baby Steps 101 – 10 challenging steps to freedom) (final part, but certainly not the end!)
Hugs and Happy STUDYING YOU!
PS: This post was written without stress and without stealing any of my freed time!