As Alice Cooper’s Schools Out for Summer jams in my ear, I wonder what did you do the first day of summer vacation as a child? Did it feel like instantaneous freedom?
For me, I can remember thinking “no alarm”!!! I would stay up late nestled in my covers reading the latest book I had gotten from the library. The worn pages smelled like adventure, travel and mystery. I could stay up late reading chapter after chapter without worrying about that stupid buzzing alarm. COMPLETE FREEDOM.
In the morning, I would cover myself in layers of warm blankets while just in front of my face blazed a commercial-style fan with air power and noise to rival a jet plane flying overhead.
There I would soften into that feeling of no-thing-ness. The sunshine would peak through the windows and I’d lay there feeling safe and comfortable tucked into my attic’s alcove. It was like the world stopped momentarily and gave me permission to be. MORE FREEDOM.
School felt like doing. You were taught to worry about what you just did, what you were going to do and all the things between those two points.
Less and less as I grew older did I feel that unbridled feeling I knew so well of my summer’s youth. I felt stifled all the things I had to do (somewhere in the future) as school morphed into work (which was a similar flavor of worry).
If I laid around on a summer day and did no-thing now, how would I ever get somewhere? I often heard that sentiment in a familial voice “you’re never going to get somewhere if you don’t do……..“. Somewhere meant money, job titles, a house, a life that looked like those around me.
But, somewhere promised all those things and never delivered. Sure, I got most of what that plan proposed but in the end, it took me further and further away from me, the expansion of free.
The desire to be somewhere and being in the now were at odds in my being — probably are always at odds.
And it was in that very moment of this aha, that I realized freedom is always available in the present moment (it’s when we attach to the past or future that all of a sudden we get tangled up and constricted).
Last Sunday, I tested this theory. I spent the entire Sunday afternoon reading a book for pleasure (Educated by Tara Westover— I highly recommend).
There were moments when I wanted to get up and throw some laundry in, run the dishwasher— to mix my now with things somewhere else.
But every thought of doing something somewhere else but here felt like a small dagger in my inflated freedom bubble. So I didn’t. The world didn’t end. The dishes got done another time. And I got to swim in the deep end of that feeling I oh-so-love because I was present with me and the words on that page.
Presence is the strongest taste of freedom I know. It’s a choice. It’s an intention. And it’s a detachment from things outside of our control– things that may linger behind us or before us.
Today, consider one small thing you could do (or not do) that would elicit that sense of freedom, “school’s-out-no-worry” feeling and I challenge you to do it. I’m pretty sure the world will continue to spin if you stay in bed, under the covers and have the best snuggle party on the block instead of tackling the list of chores that is lurking around somewhere.
In love & freedom,
PS. First step to expanding freedom— consider a memory you have that elicits that feeling of freedom. Savor it each day this holiday weekend.
PPS. Second step—- surround yourself with people who also want to cultivate a sense of presence (and aren’t always in a race to get somewhere else). A great place to start? Join my free, private Love is Everywhere group.