I delivered some plums to my neighbor yesterday and saw that he’d captured a squirrel in a small cage. That squirrel was frantic to get free. The cage was just big enough for her to turn around and around; become frenzied. I asked my neighbor if he’d set her free by the creek; he didn’t answer… I then knew.
I thought about our freedom, not just being “politically free,” but the freedom to get out of many of our “caged” situations; the freedom of choice. My dear wheelchair-bound friend W Mitchell starts his keynote with the question, “How many of you have ever been in prison?” The audience laughs. “This wheelchair used to be my prison….” Then he goes on to talk about how our minds, our thoughts either set us free or keep us in our mental prisons. It’s a powerful speech.
Daily we have the choice to stay caged in negativity, self pity, or procrastination, or we can set ourselves free. Freedom give us the power to reach for the goals and dreams we want to attain with the will, desire and opportunity to risk, challenge ourselves and take the next step. It’s freightening to escape from our comfort zone and stretch, but it’s also a magnificent feeling that once we unchain some of those thoughts and feelings of lack, we uncover our gift. If we don’t risk and stretch we will never know our own power. We’ve all taken risks and survived to tell about them and learned from them: From single to married; from a wife/husband to a mother/father; from staff to management; from small town to metropolitan city; from job to job; and on and on. We actually free ourselves daily when we allow ourselves to enjoy the ride, the journey and the experience of our lives, not fight it every step of the way.
Freedom comes down to not only your unalienable right, but also your personal desires. When you face yourself and formulate your thoughts ,do you feel caged like that squirrel or do you announce to yourself and the world that your freedoms give you power? I’ve caged myself multiple times; some times unknowingly, some times willingly. I don’t like being a caged animal – so to speak – do you? What holds me back? What holds you back? Many times it’s the unknown, and that’s scary. Staying in a comfort zone – something that we’ve had and know – is easy. Moving out of it is what takes guts. I left the corporate world for the freedom of sole propriatorship. The freedom energizes me, but the lack of knowing what’s around the corner with clients and remuneration scares me. I made the choice; I’m not going back even when a tomorrow dims.
The freedom to fail is huge for us. But we must learn from those mistakes or failures and move forward. Education – our own path – brings about knowledge that we can spread throughout our lives and the lives of others. Lloyd Jones said it best, “The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try nothing and succeed.” Fly!
Look at the people in the grocery line, bus stop, movie theatre or other public places and guess which ones are mentally caged in their quagmire of life, while others step up to life with passion, energy and desire. You can “feel” the free people: the way they carry themselves, the way they walk, they way they entertain life hourly; it’s quite a difference. It’s a mindset, an attitude, an understanding of self, an acknowledgment of worth, and a willingness to look ahead – fear be damned – that sets the free people from the caged people.
Give yourself the freedom to explore other possibilities. Give yourself the freedom believe in yourself and see what happens. We all get a caged feeling and some people delve into those feelings and situations with relish, while others laugh at them, get out and move on. Are you caged in a relationship, job, or other life situations waiting for someone else to set you free? You have the choice. You have the power to set yourself free – unlike that squirrel. It’s up to you.