Why “Freedom” is Not What You Need

So, I’ve just moved to India, again. After an eight month, miserable, stint in the UK, we’re running away on our second search for freedom. Except this time, I’m realising some things, namely: 1) “Freedom” is a really vague, mutable concept that means different things to different people, and 2) “Freedom”, in the way that we tend to dream it, doesn’t actually really exist. OHH no she didn’t (oh yes I did), and here’s why.

1. “Freedom” means different things to different people

What does “freedom” mean to you? Take a second to really think about it.

Is it the freedom to do what you want with your life? To have more time with your family, or to work on your hobbies? Is freedom being able to travel to far-flung places, sail away alone on a boat, or run off into the sunset with your twin-flame, locks flowing in the wind, maybe galloping on a white horse?

Well, unless you have a really clear-cut idea of what exactly this freedom thing is for you, it’s gonna be really hard to actually get it.

So, for me, freedom means being my own boss, having the time to pursue my own creative projects, being able to take the day off sometimes, and having time to write, read or catchup with friends.

But for my boyfriend, who has a frustrating fun stellium in Sagittarius in the 9th house, freedom means having NO RESTRICTIONS on what he wants, EVER. Which is kinda difficult to uphold, even when we’re in India, a land where anything is possible.

Since we’re both so different (I have a lot of Capricorn energy, so boundaries aren’t that scary to me), and we’re travelling together, at times we need to check in and find out exactly what the other is looking for.

What is it you want?

When it comes to routines, do you find them a help or a hindrance? What about settling down with a partner? Or choosing a place to live?

All of these questions require us to make a choice, and that choice is a freedom of sorts in itself, but as soon as you decide, you cut out the possibility of the other option happening, which is fine if you know EXACTLY what you want and you’re totally apathetic to the other options.

But what about when you’re not sure?

If you decide to have curry for dinner (we’re in India, so it’s not that much of a choice), you’re eliminating the possibility of having soup, or seafood or pancakes.

So, then what if when your food gets put in front of you, there’s instant regret, you wish you’d chosen pancakes, oh the disappointment.

And while dinner isn’t that much of a choice (I know I know, pancakes, but you can always have them tomorrow night) this kind of decision process happens on so many levels – from trivial issues to lifechanging events.

You can decide to write that blog post now, or you can watch TV. Where will that take you after a while? And is it freedom? Or fear?

What about if you decide not to take that awesome job because it would require you to move to Sydney, Australia (if you’re not already there, if you are, pick another place). Is that freedom? Or is it fear again?

WHAT ABOUT if you took the job in Sydney, and you got there and you hated it? Would you make the decision to quit? Or would you suck it up because you came this far and you might as well do it for a bit? Would you regret the decision and curse the city of Sydney in a rage of a thousand fires? (JK Sydney, you’re alright) So what’s that? Cos it all sounds like fear to me!


Fear of the unknown

So, when we talk about freedom, in these big lofty airs, we’re basically saying we want it all. We want to be able to choose what we want, when we want, but then we want to change our minds if we don’t want it, and we also want all the other options to stay open to us, just in case we do decide to re-decide, if you get what I’m saying here?

If you’re a lady, you probably have known some douchebag dudes like a bit like this in your time. You know, the kind who’s got a bunch of ladies in the wings telling you he’s “not ready for a relationship” while he decides which one he likes the most (none of them, it’s always none of them, run run run).

And while, of course, my dear boyfriend is not like this, he does struggle with the weight of “Making the RIGHT Decision”. He doesn’t want to rule anything out in case it’s better than what he’s chosen. He doesn’t trust his own judgement.

Cos when you tell yourself that you ONLY want what you want, yet you don’t know exactly what it is that you want, you’re stalling, you’re wasting time, and you’re not free in the tiniest sense of the word, you’re racked by fear. Fear of making the wrong choice.

But nobody ever got anywhere by standing there saying “ummm” while the world waits for you to decide whether you want to go back to school or join a nunnery.

The most successful people in the world got to where they are (in some part) by their ability to MAKE DECISIONS. Every day. Making decisions. Until it becomes second nature and they don’t even think about it, they just bark “YES. NO. CANCEL IT. SUSHI. 9PM. CAPPUCINO. CANCEL IT.” (clearly I’ve spent a lot of time around CEO’s, it’s uncanny right?).

This is how you succeed. You pick something and you fucking stick with it. Unless it’s the Titanic, and it’s sinking, then change your mind and get off pronto.


2. Freedom doesn’t actually really exist

So, maybe this one should have come first, because we’ve just spend a while debating what freedom means to you, and now I’m here to tell you that’s all codswallop. Kinda.

You see, over here in lovely Goa, there’s a lot of what we call: “crusties” (singular: crusty). We get them in England too, people who shun society and get dreads or mohicans or live in squats and only eat from bins. Many of them don’t actually need to do that, they just… do.

They are the highest flag flyers of freedom. Anarchists and hippies and dropouts and weirdos. My kinda people, sometimes, but other times, these people are so hell bent on their wishy-washy notion of “freedom” that they begin to lose their existence in the real world.

Now let’s get a little bit kooky on you here.

You know about chakras? If not, no sweat, all you need to know right now, is that in order for us to feel balanced and content, we need to make sure energy is flowing nicely through all seven chakras- top to bottom and vice versa.

When you’re hellbent on FREEEDOMMMM, it’s almost like you’ve got your crown chakra wiiiide open, but you’ve completely disconnected your root chakra. You’re floating off on the breeze of possibilities, like a paper balloon, never to come back down. No roots to keep you weighted.

The decisions create the path.

Just like how a river needs its banks to flow, we need boundaries to move us forwards.

And when the banks of the river burst, or we drop our boundaries in chase of freedom, both us and the river flow into nothingness.

I’ve seen these dudes in Goa, middle aged dudes with long grey ponytails and leathery backs. A lot of them seem the freest people I’ve ever met.

They pace up and down the beach real slow, chatting with young women, drinking beers and smoking joints. They’ve got no real job, don’t own their property here, they can leave whenever they want and do whatever they want. All the time.

But a lot of them are alone, haven’t got a partner to share it all with. A lot of them seem bored, cynical even. After a lifetime of endless possibilities, they forgot to activate the root chakra and make some lasting connections with the material world.

Because freedom is an abstract concept. It exists in the world of love and peace and fear and desire, and as we’ve already discussed, abstract concepts tend to look different to different people. Your idea of love may be different to mine, just the same as our freedom.

But in order to be a part of this world, and live in it in a way that has a lasting effect on the people, places and things that make up the material plane, you need to connect to it in some way.

When you’re hellbent on freedom, you’re rejecting the relationships, experiences and lessons and that make it all so great. You’re rejecting commitment, and committing to something or someone is the only way to put down your roots and grow.

And if we’re talking about true freedom. What do the grey-haired Goa dudes do when they have an emotional reaction to something? Are they free then? And what about if they crash their bike and have to have their leg put in a cast and be wheeled around? Are they free then?

Not only is freedom a difficult concept to describe, but it’s also a difficult concept to keep around permanently.

The freedom to only experience what we want to experience, avoiding boundaries or pain or commitments, doesn’t really exist, cos we don’t actually have any control over our surroundings.

And if we don’t have any control over our surroundings, are we really free at all? Or perhaps it’s the opposite, and we are all free in any moment if we choose to be.

If we choose to respond to anger with love, we are free.

If we choose to react to our suffering with acceptance, we are free.

You can decide what you want out of life, sure. Decide that you want more time, or money or experiences, but don’t expect that they will give you total freedom, or even make you happy.

Decide that you will be free in your mind, and you’re already there.





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Ellie Rose is a writer, astrologer and tough lovin' tarot reader. While she admits that she'd rather be at the beach, if she had to do something it would be liberating humans of mental strife, achieving enlightenment and transmuting enough gold to feed the world and save the animals, oh and trees, she really likes trees.

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