“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.” ~Greek historian Thucydides
I recently followed a Facebook conversation in which people were asked to supply a word that meant success to them. Of all the words mentioned, I discovered that freedom was the one that resonated most with me. For me, being successful means that I have the freedom to do the work that I believe I am called to do and to live life in such a way that it will feed my soul in order to give vitality to my work.
As I continue to ponder what my career future will look like, I repeatedly find that the ideas that draw me most are those that offer this kind of freedom to walk my own path. I know that this kind of life will be challenging and uncertain. I’m not altogether confident all the time that I can find a way to make it work. But I am becoming increasingly certain that any options I consider absolutely must meet that basic criterion for me to be comfortable moving forward with them.
I believe that creating a life that has that kind of freedom will bring happiness and contentment along with it. This agrees with the “secret of happiness” that Thucydides gave so long ago.
However, he goes on to add that the “secret of freedom is courage.” That, historically, has not been one of my strengths. I’ve been so caught up in trying to please other people that I have often been paralyzed by fear and unable to do the things that would allow me to find that level of freedom. That approach has left me with a small, cramped life.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~Anaïs Nin
Every decision I’ve made over the last couple of years that has expanded my life in some way has been one that has taken courage. One crucial part of developing that courage has been developing confidence in myself and that has come through finally accepting the fact that I am not, and never be, perfect.
“Once you accept the fact that you’re not perfect, then you develop some confidence.” ~Rosalynn Carter
I’ve noticed lately that the more I am able to let go of the need to please anyone else and the more I let go of the need to be perfect, the easier it is for me to find ways to create the life I want.
It’s easier to ask for help. I need volunteers to let me teach them yoga and to let me give them Reiki treatments, and I am suddenly finding willing volunteers everywhere I look! I have yet to have anyone turn me down when I’ve asked if they would help me. In fact, the opposite is true. They have all been so excited to help out that they are finding me more opportunities!
I also think that the more I am clear on what I want and have the confidence to reach for it, the more the universe conspires on my behalf to supply the means. I am routinely humbled and amazed at how easily I am finding opportunities and at the abundance with which my needs are being met. This is true not only of the needed volunteers but also of the job I found when I was willing to step out on a limb, the friends who are supporting me along the way, and the books, people, resources, opportunities and classes that keep appearing exactly when I need them to give me what I need to take the next step.
I still can’t see very far down the road, but whatever I need for the next step always appears when my foot is in the air looking for a place to land. It’s been a rather amazing journey in so many ways. I am continually shocked at how freely abundance flows as I let go of the need to control it or even to understand it.
Life is still imperfect. I still have a carpenter ant infestation that will require some tricky repair to the house. My roof leak still needs to be dealt with (along with all of the repair from the damage). My car still needs expensive work (and is now making a disturbing new noise). So I am not floating off in a Pollyanna dream world. Real life is still a mixture of good and bad.
Yet the more I am willing to find the courage to create the life of freedom I desire, the more abundance seems to flow my way to support my efforts. I am grateful.
A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a very fragile place, and it takes a good deal of vulnerability to share this personal journey of transformation so openly. Therefore, I need this to be a safe place for exploration and sharing for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight—or the expression of that experience or insight—are NOT welcome here and will be deleted.