Years ago, I read an essay on aging, and the importance of finding our “freedom” at mid-life. The gist of this writing was that anything we felt was hampering us, we should leave behind, and move out into the world. At one point it said something like, get rid of your cat if that is the thing keeping you from this adventure. I would have believed that message 30 years ago, maybe 2o years ago….
What I have come to see, and know, is that it isn’t the outside stuff that hampers us, it is our thoughts. In my mid-forties, I gave away almost everything I owned to go work in a mission. I was trying to find inner freedom by stepping out of the “material” world. I blamed possessions, and the desire for them, for much of my inner turmoil and the troubles of the world. I wanted to devote myself to a higher calling and thought this was a part of becoming more spiritual.
It was a rude (very necessary) awakening. Having nothing doesn’t make you more spiritual, peaceful, happy or free. It doesn’t make you more helpful to those who feel disempowered and unable to earn a living. Freedom, at any age, comes from a change of attitude. This is the real mid-life call. The call to go inside and find the infinite within ourselves. To find peace and presence right here; in this house, with this car (or cars), these animals, friends, partner, or work, and not to blame them for our feelings of imprisonment. This is the real freedom.
“…the last of human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances….“. Viktor Frankl
A friend (thank you Judith!) send me a beautiful story and video yesterday about a baby bird that was found. At first, they needed to feed him every 20 minutes, but far from feeling like this experience was restricting, I felt the expansion in it…in them.