“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~Anais Nin
Linda: The process of developing freedom in our lives is not the freedom to do what we feel like, nor the freedom to indulge ourselves, nor the freedom to possess that which we desire, nor the freedom to dominate or control others. These are not examples of freedom, but the desires that drive us when we do not experience being free. We are speaking about the freedom to be who we are, to live authentically, and have our life be an expression of our essential nature. This is not so easy to do. If you are one of the many people who have attempted to live your life from a commitment to authenticity, you know what we are talking about. No other commitment is as challenging or rewarding. The drive to be free is an inherent part of our essential being.
The question is not so much why are you one of the people who is possessed by this drive, the question is “Why aren’t all of us?” Why is it so difficult to admit how important personal freedom is? Why are most of us so unwilling to admit how badly we desire it? Why are so many of us willing to settle for substitutes for authenticity and freedom rather than the real thing? The short answer to these questions is: Most of us tried going after the real thing, failed, and gave up. In doing so, we began to live our lives from a set of rationalizations and justifications that were designed to mitigate the pain of the grief of loss to our soul. Because we felt that our heart’s deepest desire was unavailable, we opted instead for the conciliation prize of money, status, power, security, comfort, control, approval, self-righteousness, and protection.
Building a great relationship is for those who are not yet able to give up the quest for freedom. It is for those who despite their better judgment becomes a slave to the longing for wholeness and authenticity. It is for those for whom no amount of justification can remove the pain of living with a closed heart. It is for those who know that there are no easy answers or quick solutions, and are willing to take a path or other than least resistance.
Are you still with us? Good. Some of the people reading these words have already decided that this path isn’t for them. Some of them think that it might be, but they’re not sure. Some of them will make a wholehearted commitment to use their relationship as an instrument for liberation in their own lives and will experience great success. What determines what category each of us falls into? What can you do to enhance your chances of using a relationship as a path to wholeness to its maximum potential?
Just as there is a part of us that wants to be free, there is another side that does not want us to get free. There is a part of each of us that is committed to remaining a slave to our existing fears, and our attachment to the context of our life as it is. There is a part of us that will fight with every ounce of strength that will keep us locked into the feelings, mindset, and attitudes that dominate our current life. In honoring the desire to free ourselves fully in this life, we run the risk of awakening and disturbing fierce daemons that lie deep within the recesses of our soul. These are the guardians of our survival. To move beyond surviving and into thriving, we must challenge their authority. Important questions to ask are: Am I really ready to do this? Am I ready to face my deepest fears, deepest longings, and deepest grief? Am I ready to feel and honor the truth within my heart?
These questions are not encountered and answered once and for all. They present themselves continually at various points along the path of awakening. The most significant factor in determining how successful we are in encountering those challenges is the depth of our desire for wholeness. Without sufficiently strong motivation, our fears and resistance will stop us dead in our tracks. The other commitments will show themselves in the form of resistance to change, fear of feeling pain, the risk of disapproval, these and many other real and imagined concerns, will seduce us away from our commitment, leaving us instead with reasons why, once again, freedom isn’t a real possibility. If we don’t trust ourselves to at least, make our best effort, we are better off waiting until such time that we are. If we are ready to disturb the sleeping daemons and if we feel worthy of receiving a gift of our own freedom and fulfilling relationships, then let’s get on with it.
It’s not important what our answer is to the question Why bother doing this work? What is important is that we have an answer. Our answer need not satisfy anyone’s criteria but our own. For some, the answer may be: “Because I don’t want to die without at least having tried to find out to experience real freedom and love.” For another, it might be: “I’ve already missed too much of what I really want in my life, I owe it to myself to give it my best shot.” For another: “because I deserve it and no one else can give it to me.” For another, “I want to have the best relationship I possibly can, and to do that I have to become the best me I can possibly can. For another: “I don’t know why, I just want it!” for another “I want to break the chain of shame and fear passed on to me by my family, For another: “I want to be an example for my children.” For another: “Because life is too short.”
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