Freedom through losing

“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” ~Kris Kristofferson (from the song Me and Bobby McGee)

This line has been running through my mind a lot lately as I count my last days at work. People are often commenting (with what appears to be a bit of jealousy) that I will soon have my freedom from a place that is making me (and others) so unhappy.

And while that’s true, I look at the losses I’ve experienced over the last year and the losses that are coming in my very near future and can’t help but think that the freedom I am finding in this situation comes from having so little left to lose. Some of these losses are outwardly obvious in the form of relationships, money, or things. But so many of them are invisible losses—losses of hopes and dreams, of self-esteem, of goals, of self-definition, of beliefs and worldviews.

Obviously, I do still have things I could lose. I still have my health, my cats, my house. These are all good things for which I am deeply grateful, as I am for all of the many other things I do still have. And I do not take any of these for granted.

I also realize that most of these losses are the result of choices I have made—directly or indirectly. I am not blaming anyone else for the things I have lost.

But neither of these acknowledgments changes the fact that this coming freedom has been purchased by the loss of so much else. In fact, there is greater freedom in being stripped bare than I would have ever thought possible.

Oddly enough, while I hope this streak of losses is nearly done after this upcoming bunch, I find myself clinging less tightly to what I have left rather than more. I keep looking for ways to declutter, to cut back, to find things I can donate or sell. I’m not doing this in the hopes of making money off any of it but rather a growing appreciation of the freedom that does come from letting go of all that no longer serves me.

This letting go is happening on all kinds of levels for me: letting go of old thoughts, old beliefs, old patterns, old habits, old expectations, as well as old belongings. And these losses, which is what they are even when willingly chosen, all bring unexpected freedom along for the ride. Freedom that quietly seeps into empty places like gentle summer breeze.

As I move forward into this next round of losses, I hope to be able to focus more of the spacious openings in my life that result from the letting go than the inevitable pain that will accompany the loss of things I hold dear. Both the freedom and the pain are realities of the loss, but I can choose to focus my attention more on the former than the latter whenever possible.

May I continue to intentionally choose to let go of all I find in my life that no longer serves me. And may these openings create sufficient room for the new things in my life which will better serve me to germinate and grow into parts of me that cannot be lost again.

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