It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.
When we are given real freedom to seek our own potential, we often cower. We want what is familiar; what is safe and predictable. We are afraid to take risks that might realize our full potential, perhaps more than anything because we are afraid of failing. Or maybe we’re afraid of success itself. They say the higher you climb, the further you fall.
But what about seeking a different kind of potential, the kind that also lifts up those around us? I’m talking about the kind of individual potential that makes a positive impact in this world, not the kind where it’s all about competing for perceived finite attention/resources and gets us entangled in all sorts of competition.
I recently listened to an online talk about realizing our own power, and the speaker pointed out that women today (and I would argue men as well) are of the first few generations who can truly ask what our higher purpose is. We have this new-found freedom to do more than we could have ever imagined, but we’ve been given no road map, no orientation to properly manage this freedom for the greater good of ourselves, our communities and humanity at large. When I look around at how we use our freedom in the western world, and I’m not terribly impressed with our choices.
And before you think I’m up on my own pedestal, let me insert here that I just watched four episodes of Weeds in a row last night. I had to really stop myself from watching a fifth.
I’m not going to languish in my own fear of failure, even if I am scared to seek my higher calling instead of getting another cushy job that I hate with even more money (an option I haven’t ignored). My higher calling doesn’t have to be grandiose. I will take that leap of faith when it comes to me.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
What does your freedom mean to you?