Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ride to Freedom

"Freedom means you are unobstructed in living your life as you choose. Anything less is a form of slavery."
-Wayne Dyer

There is something about being stuck in a car that I find free.

I see the obvious dichotomy here- being constricted is not usually where a person feels most unchained. Specifically since when I say in the car, I mean stuck in my seat, surrounded by a blanket and a number of suitcases with my parents, my sister, and our little white dog. There's not a lot of room to move, but it's in the constriction of my quarters that I find myself feeling least claustrophobic. 

First of all, in the car, even though I'm in a small seat, the world is moving around me at 40, 50, 60 mph- passing by with such quickness that I cannot capture small snapshots even with my mind. It's a blur that makes me realize all the things that have been plaguing me- questions of existence, of purpose, of love, of the undying needs of my heart. It's as if with the speed of the world increasing, the speed of my life is decreasing, and suddenly I am capable of making well intentioned analyses of all that is going on. 

Throw in the fact that this most recent car ride included about 22 hours of driving in 2 days, and we've arrived at the moment where you start to really question my sanity. 

For me, a little road trip was a much needed break for all that was dragging me down. Lately, the burdens of life have been a bit more than my shoulders can carry. It seems like every new ambition is merely another distraction from the older goals. I take them out every few weeks to polish them off, but it doesn't make them get used. My time management skills do not allow me a lot of additional moments to get things  done- adding anything in often leads to the loss of sleep or time to eat, and eventually even that runs out. 

But sitting in the car, watching the world fly around me, a priority list came well in to view. What was most important? What was most exciting? What was on my list because I truly believed it might impress someone else? It all fell into clearer levels as the miles became hours on the the open road. 

I won't lie- I am increasingly impressed by writers who give up everything to jump out on to the open road- to follow their aspirations to whatever paths it will lead them down. It's as if it takes losing everything to find the door into your soul- you've got to open up and let yourself in. We fall into such heavy patterns with what we have, and become held down by it. But on the road, I understood. I found great amounts of joy in realizing that the true question was not about what I wanted to do, or what I wanted to have. Prioritizing is all about slowing down, and asking ourselves not what we want to achieve,
but instead, by asking ourselves if the world fell away, what would we want to do? What is the simplest desires of our heart? And what do they mean for us when we still have everything in tact? 

Don't get me wrong- I understand that life is full of things we don't want to do, and that at one point or another, we are going to have to continue something we used to love and now hate. I understand that there are responsibilities in life. I understand that achievement is part of what we need to keep us going. We can't spend all day in our cars being driven while we ponder life and meaning.

But for just a moment, it was me, and the sky, and the road, and my thoughts, and I was soaring through the depths of myself, realizing what was holding me back and what needed to be done. And in those hours on my road, I let the wheels rock me to an easier mode of development, to a hope of things that one day, I might feel differently on, but for right no,  I was seeing clearly. And in the perception of that clarity, I felt released from some of the biggest things that were holding me back, like the chains strapping the baggage to my shoulder had fallen away. I left it behind me on the open road for other cars to run over, as I snuggled down in my seat underneath the blanket. 

Freedom never felt so cozy.

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