“Freedom.” That was my immediate reply when, last week, the Finnish therapist and author Anja…
I recently read an article in a Finnish newspaper about experiencing freedom. It stated that the Finns feel more free than French, for example. I have read that article several times and I feel moved thinking both about the freedom I have and how often I take it for granted.
I’m fascinated by the concept of freedom and find it very important both in my personal life as well as in my professional life. I the feeling of freedom with happiness and an ability to choose. When I feel free, I usually also feel happiness.
What does freedom mean to you?
For me, freedom mean the ability to choose and decide for myself—from simple things (What do I want to eat right now?) to more complex matters (Where do I want to live in the coming years?). Do I want to have children? If so, how many and when? Do I want get married or live with a partner or be single or in a multiple relationships? What sort of work do I want to do? What kind of an education, if any, do I want? What do I want to do for fun or relaxation? Do I spend my time alone or with others? How much time do I spend with my parents? And what role do I choose in the care for them as they age?
And then I have questions about freedom from approval of others, freedom from past hurts and traumas, freedom from worrying about things I can’t change.
Freedom to have an opinion and express it fully, freedom to vote and stand in an election, freedom to practice a religion or not, freedom to make choices as a woman, freedom to be in a relationship.
Do you relate to these or does freedom mean something very different to you?
When do feel free? How does it feel in your body?
I feel free right now as I sit in my cabin by a lake. I don’t have any agenda. I can just stare at the lake and listen to the birds. I hear the loons at the lake. I notice the sky growing increasingly purple. I hear the mosquitos. I notice my stomach feeling full after my meal. I have things I want to do and if I don’t do them now, I can do them later. Sometimes, I have little moments of pure happiness. Nothing needs to be a different in those moments. I look around and feel my body. I smell the smells and hear the sounds around me. In such moments, I also experience freedom. I don’t need to be anywhere else. I can just look and listen.
Freedom is also related to me writing to you. I can write what I want (under some broad remits) via email or on social media without worry of legal consequences or punishment from the “system.” You can read or not read. You can agree or disagree or be indifferent. I’m grateful for my freedom. I’m grateful from the freedom in my country. I’m grateful for the freedom I have created for myself in my life. I’m grateful for the freedom I get with practicing Radical Honesty.
I want all of us to be freedom lovers, advocates and activists. I want me and you to support others to be free. Free from suffering and free from worries. And free to exercise their freedom of choice and speech. I support organizations like Amnesty International (financially, posting their material and signing their petitions) which I judge does important work to bring freedom and fairness to people who don’t have it in their countries. I invite you to speak up for freedom – in the ways that feel right to you.
Peace, love and freedom,