Whilst on a recent trip to Washington DC I took a few hours off to go and explore. I, like most visitors, headed to the area with all of the monuments and I strolled around in the warm summers sunshine admiring the different buildings and structures and also reading many of the quotes enshrined into the walls. One that had the biggest impact was on the monument to the Korean War. It said simply:
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE
This got me thinking…. Is freedom free? Can freedom be free? I got the context clearly. Not difficult when surrounded by the names of 100’s of thousands of fallen soldiers. Yes they had to sacrifice their lives to help achieve the freedom of others; I get that, but can freedom ever be free?
My intent and mission in life is “to create the freedom to choose.” Freedom then is a key element of my own focus in life for my clients, my colleagues, my family and friends as well as myself. Can this “freedom to choose” be free?
What do I mean by creating the freedom to choose?
Simply to understand that there is always a different way and we are always free to choose once we can see the options ahead of us. So frequently in life though the stories we tell ourselves about what is going on, why, and what we are or are not allowed to do etc. are so strong that we get wrapped up in these and never allow ourselves the time and perspective to consider all options.
These options come to us only when we are calm and have a quiet mind. Some get this from mindfulness work, others from walking the dog or lying in a bath…there is no right or wrong…but what is important is to understand that when we are “thinking” and creating stories in our minds, then our head becomes very busy and noisy and at that point we become deaf and blind to the world around us and the options which can be right in front of our noses. When we take time out to let our minds settle, to get away from “thinking”, then the options open out in front of us…at this point we have the freedom to choose.
Personally I have invested much time and focus on my own personal growth, and without this investment I would not be as happy and aware as I am today. This awareness gives me “freedom” every single day and that is massively energising. I know I create this and I work with other individuals and their teams to create this for themselves also…the results are literally quite magical, in business and personal lives.
So, back to the question…can freedom ever be free?
I know my own experience and that of those who work with me is that freedom is not free. Freedom takes time and that requires an investment from individuals. These levels of awareness, happiness, and contentment will never be obtained by continuing to bang the same drum and working in the same way we always have. These levels of success come from doing things another way and looking at things differently, with a quiet and calm mind, free from the usual stories we tell ourselves. It takes investment to get this and my own experience is, it is the best investment we will ever make.
I think of all the soldiers who have died in the cause of their duty. We are lucky to have the freedom to choose our own path, thanks to them, and we honour their sacrifice when we acknowledge this and give ourselves permission to grow to be our best.