I crave lots of things. All the human things: food, safety, shelter, attention, affection, love, material things. But there is almost another word needed for the things I crave that I have the ability to give myself — however, I find that a lot of the above list gets in the way of me getting the things I crave most…
Time to write and reflect.
Time spent in nature.
Time with animals.
And the change of seasons is always a life event for me. Like something deep inside me awakens that is only accessible during Fall, or Spring, or even Summer or Winter.
I come alive in different ways, different forms of myself as the seasons change.
I am hopeful in Spring, lustful in Summer, Reflective and vibrating in the Fall, and introspective and withdrawn in Winter. Every single year for the whole of my life.
And freedom. Oh, sweet freedom. That ability to be true to yourself before anything else. I used to allow the standard definition to suffice: being free from tethers or chains or responsibility. But that definition rarely kept me satisfied for long. Because I like tethers and chords of connection and responsibility is something that I love and do not know if I could survive without. I am responsible for a great number of things…and my life is more complete because of my willingness to show up, stand up and do what I said I would.
So freedom has come to mean something else to me. It has come to mean that I have the time to enjoy all the things listed above: plants, animals, books, time to write, being in the natural world. Music! Fuck, I love music.
Freedom, for me anyway, really is having the time to do all of the above, daily. To enjoy and relish those things that I am quite frantic about. That seems to be the truest reckoning of freedom for me. The freedom from, yes. But the older I get, it is more the freedom to.
Fall is here and I feel the most alive I have all year. Deeply connected to all that is going on around me. Reflective, thoughtful with a deep and abiding desire to be outside among the Redwoods. I am lying in bed today with the dog and all three cats scattered across my bed. The dog snuggled up in the nest of my legs, the kitten snuggled under one arm, purring contentedly as I write. I can’t imagine a better start to the day, really. This is my best life, right here, right now. And what I feel in my soul is a deep resounding of freedom’s ring.
I have nowhere to be today. So my morning hike with the dog can be longer and more luxurious. I didn’t get up today until 8 am which is 2 hours later than normal. I gave that to myself and the middle aged sleep Gods allowed it which is nothing short of a miracle. I am here in my bedroom surrounded by plants, and books, and pets, windows open, nature sending in her sounds and fresh air. And I feel free. I feel alive. I feel supported, affirmed and easy, the frenetic panic assuaged with my current surrounding and circumstances.
This is my life. I sit in the middle of the vast important things of knowing how wonderful it feels to be sitting in my bed on a Sunday morning, window open, breeze blowing in, coffee in my cup, typing away, allowing the contents of my head their own kind of freedom that can only be expressed in written form. I bless the books which have given me knowledge, the plants for their aesthetic and oxygen, the pets for the love never metered out, just allowed to flow freely towards me.
The morning hike begins to beckon but I have the freedom to languish here with cats in repose for a little longer, snuggling contentedly in our shared bed, feeling alive, content, at peace, loved, and loving. And I can tell you that this feeling is granted passage only by the entrance of Autumn. If it were Spring, or Summer or God forbid Winter, the circumstances might be exactly the same, but would land very differently in me.
And so perhaps the ultimate freedom is to just be. Here with my books, cats, plants, music, watching Autumn saunter in, feeling alive and free in a way that one can only feel when one allows oneself to be at the center of ones own life. And so the craving is sated. And that I can tell you is the best definition of freedom…freedom from want, from craving, from the idea that there is something you don’t have that you need…