No work, no chores, sun, sea, sand and ten days of pure freedom!
Forgetting the stress it took you to get on your holiday, the time it takes to unwind and when you get home there will be a ton of email and demands; and very quickly it will be just like you never went away!
Nearly ten years ago I came to realise that I did not want to live a life of all or nothing and that I had to seek permission from someone else to be free occasionally on the weekend and for a one holiday a year.
I am free – full stop!
So the choices I make about my life and how live it need to reflect it on a daily basis.
Many times I’ve tried to break out of social conditioning and expectations of how I should or shouldn’t live my life and that how I felt mattered!
It wasn’t though until I began to challenge my own fear based beliefs that my life must be based on duty, responsibilities and servitude that I began to get out for good!
I’m currently driving around Italy and France for three months with my dog which I’ve heard described as Free Ranging – you could say going walk about. I removed myself from a fixed abode because I felt called to do it.
“It’s OK for you. I have a life & responsibilities — you’re just on holiday!”
I’ve had this opinion spat at me several times during my travels; it’s a statement punctuated with lots of rigidity, blame, resentment, anger and of course jealousy.
I have a life too thanks, I’m not on holiday; I’m just living my life the way I want to…
Recently this ‘what could you know’ statement came from someone who likes the idea of personal development, living in the moment and can talk a good game about lots of books he’s read, but doesn’t really get it in practice!
All talk and no action and I used to be that way too…
He’s still caught up in the old beliefs that adult living has to have fixed structure with work, a house and duty based ideas and this would be fine if he was happy!
Sadly though he is frustrated, angry and yet a highly gifted musician with real passion who has occasionally fought for his dream, but now has given up because he’s still beholden to fulfilling other people expectations of him!
Instead of going with what brings him most joy and the flow of what is meant for him, he is stuck in an inner conflict between what he longs for in his heart and soul and how he is actually choose to live.
Opportunities for his growth and happiness arise like waves and pass him by.
He can’t see or hear them, distracted by the noise of other people and firefighting to please them – a thankless and never ending exhausting task, which leaves him struggling to get by himself
What It Really Means To Live Freely
Instead of being distracted by other people, it’s about getting up close and personal with yourself and having an intimate relationship with your life and how you experience the world.
To achieve this we have to let go, listen, become self-aware and trust, so we can begin to live and act consistently with how we actually feel and what’s important to our wellbeing.
During a holiday with permission to be let off the leash and live in the moment we can get a brief intoxicating experience of this freedom, but as soon as we return home and put the leash back on and shift our focus to responsibilities and doing as we are told we once again feel stressed.
The Illusion of Responsibilities
Responsibilities are nothing more than a perception and often used as an excuse of “I can’t do that”.
To believe ourselves responsible for other people or not is a choice [parenting & the infirm not included]
Although responsibility to ourselves, how we feel and our life is still a choice it is paramount to our health, the success of our relationships and holds the power to our happiness.
I have physical responsibilities that I have to take care.
- I have a house with a mortgage and bills to pay even though I don’t currently live in it at the moment.
- Instead I’m sharing it with other people in return for holiday rental. This had to be organised, but it was my choice to do this, so I’m responsible for sorting it.
- I have a car and need to be able to fill it with fuel and pay for insurance and tax and MOT.
- I have a private practice and instead of letting that stop me I grew it and altered it to being an online business and changed my client sessions to Skype and so I need to make sure I find internet connection.
- I have my dog to take care of and every day we need to find and pay for somewhere to sleep and eat.
Money Doesn’t Have To Be A Restraint
I am not currently financially wealthy, but I didn’t wait for the “when I have money, time etc – I will do these things”. My life is happening now, so I must seize the day, follow the inspiration and trust it will work out in the end.
Life is too precious to waste, so I had to get creative and find new, cheap and beneficial ways of doing things and in recent years I have been inspired by Chris Guillebeau [http://chrisguillebeau.com] and his ways of travelling.
Most of all it took being brave and for that I am living a wealthy life rich with experience.
Opening Out Your Arms and Stepping Forward
Nothing comes to us in life if we stand on the side lines waiting to be noticed or worse rescued!
We’re expected to feel our fears and do it anyway; step out into the unknown with your arms wide open, following our desires or inspiration of what’s right for us, because it makes us stronger, bigger and more confident.
The universe expects us to do our half in the relationship and will always reward your bravery!
So I’m going were the wind takes me…
When I first started to break my restraints it was hard, stressful and exhausting. I’d talked a good game for a long time.
I’d help many other people, because I believed whole heartedly that it could happen for them, but I needed to face the truth that I distrusted life and it would let me down – I’d given up believing it could ever happen for me and I could get what was right for me.
I often swung between being willing and closed off, but with every desire to crawl back into illusion of safety my restraints I would begin to feel the fear again I would be stuck and wasting my precious life.
So I would try again with small steps of bravery…
Gradually the steps got bigger and I got bolder like an adrenaline junkie wanting the rush of growing and eventually I was taking bolder leaps.
Actions speak far louder than words…
Now my actions demonstrate that I truly believe in life, in freedom and I am living everyday saying what I mean and doing what I say.
I started my day power walking along the right bank overlooking Bordeaux, then headed to the coast at Arcachon, got redirected by a local and finished it swimming in a lake with my dog and staying a small motel behind a tiny village bar I would never have found on a map.
I’ve got a bed for the night in the peak of summer, it cost me practically nothing and I spent the evening chatting with some locals – little inspirations and sign posts guided my way and I followed…
Tomorrow I’ll get back on the road and be somewhere else!
Letting Life Guide Me
I am letting life give me what I need every day, so now my morning prayer is “please give me what I need” and then I let go to the experience.
Every night or during the day I express gratitude for those experiences, not out of forced habit, but because I have experienced moments that have touched my soul.
We create the shackles that hold us onto our past and out grown situations, for fear of change and social expectations.
We allow ourselves to feel beholden to duty, work and ideas of responsibility, caged to a perception of security, which instead creates stress, anxiety, angst and inadequacy, because we have no room grow.
Life for me is no longer a sentence to suffer or an expectation to live up to – instead I’m playing freely every day.
Every time I let go and let things be as they are meant to be opportunities and experiences rise up like waves in front of me. I don’t hang back and wait, but instead go with them and enjoy the ride – wherever that may take me!
Will I stay living without a fixed abode – of course not, this is just part of the bigger journey.
Home is where your heart wants to be, so let yours be free to be happy…
Since writing this I have settled back at home, but my freedom has not changed, although I have definitely been tested.
I went on to travel on and off for six months and then I reached a point when I felt more desire to return home and be with friends and family than to keep wandering.
Stepping away from my house and community and going travelling gave me the space to have perspective of how I need to live my life and how truly important it is for me to own my freedom.
Now my focus is to stay aware to live as I did whilst I was away; to not get trapped once again in false fear-based ideas.
I still ask each day for what I need and acting upon the guidance and inspiration with trust.
Staying true to myself and taking responsibility for my choices and actions and letting go to the flow of life keeps me free!
Photo by Kristof Magyar
Latest posts by Jo Warwick (see all)
- Freedom Is Not Just For Holidays - June 1, 2014
- How to Stay Open to Life, Even When You’re Afraid of Getting Hurt - October 17, 2013