It's not all that strange that I'd dream about freedom. With the 4th of July on the horizon, I've been mulling it over all week. In theory, for a tantrika, every day is Independence Day. But I like ritual. I like marking a special day on the calendar to celebrate freedom.
I learned about freedom early on in my yogic education. In a nutshell, it's my nature. I needn't practice yoga to get free because I am already free, and always have been. Sounds good, in theory, but whether or not I am experiencing freedom on a daily basis--or at all--is a whole 'nuther story.
When I first came to study yoga I had myself pretty hedged in. As I started to learn about freedom, I intellectually understood the concept but I certainly didn't feel at all free.
More than ten years later, freedom isn't just something I logically understand. I actually feel freer in my daily life on a more regular basis. Not all the time, not every minute of every day, but more often--way more often.
This year I have taken greater ownership of freedom than ever before. I have stepped across previously self-imposed barricades. Professionally, I am growing by leaps and bounds. My marriage is different--better. My friendships are richer because I am learning--slowly--how to not reflexively keep people at arm's length. This side of freedom's coin feels good. It's exciting.
On the flip side, this year I also ended a friendship that has been important to me. It was a friendship that consistently left me feeling under-appreciated, un-thought of, unimportant, and unhappy. Letting go of all those un's shouldn't have been so hard, right? But it was. It meant letting go of the fantasy of how I wanted things to be. Sometimes freedom hurts.
The yoga of freedom isn't the simplest yoga one might choose. It can be a rocky, lonely road. If I could choose a simpler way, I might.
Freedom is a demanding mistress. She will offer everything and exact everything. She deals in ecstasy and heartbreak. Hear her sing even once, and nothing else will do. Attempt to deny her and she will invade your dreams, and pursue you down the narrow corridors of your mind.
But I guess I wouldn't have it any other way.
Happy freedom day.
What does freedom mean to you?