I don’t normally kick off a year with much fanfare or resolution(s) but I am inspired at the moment to have a theme going into the new year. That theme is freedom.
So often we resolve to give things up or do extra things. I’m unhappy with my growing girth, so I should give up sugar, or at least the volume at which I consume it. I’m troubled by my unhappiness, so I need to make time to work out and meditate. I’m dissatisfied with the quantity of my creative output, so I resolve to trade some free time to practice my art.
But this morning I had a sudden reframing: instead of giving things up, I could simply become more free of other things.
Freedom from resentment. Freedom from despair. Freedom from poor self-image. Freedom from frustration. Freedom from meaninglessness. Freedom from regret.
Acquiring what I want from life requires many things, but if I see those things as contributing to, not detracting from, my freedom, my feelings towards them changes considerably.
At the center of it all is the freedom from self. Or as twelve step programs ask, “Were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life?” It feels fundamentally at odds with our human condition to even comprehend how giving more of ourselves is how we experience more life. But history seems to indicate that there is something to this notion.
This is my favorite season, if only because we live in a very temperate region. I actually like the shorter days, I like being bundled up all the time, I like drinking warm beverages. I like these moments after Christmas when there are fewer people about. There’s just more psychological space. It’s restorative.
The question remains, can I store some of that peace, can I flip a switch or two inside my brain, can I at least for a few moments stop living in fear and instead live in abundance?
For now, what I really want is to just play more Mario Kart. (ᴗ˳ᴗ)