Freedom and Joy

by Leslie Sann

We have no choice, we must all die. How we live, however, is entirely of our choosing.
~ Simon Sinek

I am in the kitchen making breakfast. I notice there is a part of me that getting grumpy about the attention it requires for me to maintain my weight. (I am a petite woman at 5’2”.) I listen to this grumpy part who wants to eat something that I don’t include in my daily diet. It is arguing with my limitations, insisting I should be able to eat anything and everything I want. It is telling me that is what true freedom is: the ability to do whatever I want and to not experience consequences of my actions.

I lovingly explain to this part that life on planet earth includes limitations. Take gravity, for example. It weighs us down. I have never heard anyone arguing with the fact of gravity. Instead we have figured out how to use it to work for us. Think baseball, football, soccer, skiing and …. well …. everything. We use our limitations to get creative towards possibility, guiding us to design, innovation, invention and more.

Arguing with the limitation of my size, and what is required in order to stay on the slim side, is as silly as being upset about gravity.

When I look at the thought that I should be able to eat whatever I want, I realize how out of touch with reality that thinking is. How could we live together if we all did whatever we wanted with the expectation there would be no consequences? Even if there were no consequences to ourselves, there probably would be consequences to others.

Then I ask myself, “What if I have what I am already looking for in this moment?” This “grumpy part” is looking for freedom. I realize the truth is I am already free. In every moment I am free to make a choice and to experience the consequences of that choice.

A very subtle adjustment in focus and I see the truth in this shift. What is the experience of freedom, but the freedom to choose and to choose yet again?

Being fully alive is exercising our freedom of choice. In that freedom there is the opportunity to make choice. Choices lead to outcomes and more choices. This is the opportunity to design our experience of life.

The freedom to choose.

No one can give us our freedom. We claim it. We have the freedom to choose how we are going to relate to the circumstances of our lives. We are free to choose to focus on our limitations. Or, we can choose to see the abundance of choices, and the opportunity to choose, yet again.

Awareness of our freedom of choice is a doorway into joyful living. The joy of being alive and aware of our choices. The joy of creative action. The joy of learning and discovering due to the outcome of our choices and our actions.

Joy is sourced from deep within and is available when we exercise our freedom to choose, to participate, to learn and to grow as we journey through this precious gift of life.