The Robert Frost Poem, ‘The Road Not Taken’ as does the book by M Scott Peck, ‘The Road Less Travelled’ come to mind as this post takes form. For me, the poem and book espouse the iconic choice between doing what I have always done and in crafting a ‘me’ and a life based on the road less travelled.
The Road Most Travelled
For almost all of us we keep on repeating habitual patterns of being and doing and ending most times back where we started, landing with a bump as reality provides us with yet another opportunity to interrogate ourselves and our choices. This certainly has been true for me. By my own doing, I enslaved myself in the illusion of what I thought freedom to be.
Yes, and I am fortunate to live in a democracy, in a country with one of the most advanced constitutions in the world where there are all of the essentials of the freedom contained in human rights and our constitutional rights. Further, the knowledge and information age provides a context in which to provide meaning frames of life’s journey as a series of progressions through a hierarchical structure of needs; of self-help books; opinions and the variety of psychological schools of thought that all profess one or another way of being, all in the hope of unravelling and understanding the human psyche.
And yes, Maslow and his hierarchy of needs has relevance here. For most of us who get there, we are stuck in the trappings of the ego and how our ego’s wants and needs serve us in our definition of who we see ourselves to be – our home, the car we drive, the balance in our bank accounts, where we live, how we live and ultimately for most, if not all, our ongoing attempts to feed our ego’s insidious need for more. We become enslaved to its need for more, more and more shrouded in aspirational living, of goals and in striving to meet those goals as we define ourselves more by what we do, what we have and what we have achieved. And in so doing we foster debt-based living – financial, emotional, psychological and spiritual.
By its very nature, our ego is greedy. Like a stealth ninja, it feeds off comparing oneself to others. And God knows how much this has been a very real part of my own paradox. On this road I travelled this meant that it was convenient for me to place blame for my unhappiness on others, on external sources – people, places and things –that I saw as my own obstruction to not having what I wanted, to be where I thought my life and everything in it needed to be.
The innermost parts of me – that authentic nature that lies deep within all of us, began its call – a whisper at first beckoning me to explore my own truth. This quiet, gentle voice urged me on to challenge all that I had internalised and all that I had come to believe about myself. Little did I know that this journey was to herald my own heroine’s journey – that journey that would lead me along the road less travelled and the one that mapped out my own journey to freedom.
The beginning of freedom, for me, was in summoning the courage to explore myself, my motives, my values, my beliefs and to begin the journey back by walking away from that which no longer served me or others. Even here, in the beginning, my ego masked the change and work that my very Soul called me to do. For my ego shrouded this walking away still ever seeking the solution to my dilemma with myself outside of myself and holding others responsible for my life, my choices and my happiness.
And I then discovered, that this was not Freedom. I had become a product of every moment in which I had given my power away to others, to situations and circumstances where it had been convenient not to hold myself accountable; not to face my fears. I had become ensnared in a prison of my own ego’s making. And it was up to me to embark on a journey – that road less travelled – that would lead to my own inner emancipation and the freedom to walk in truth and the beauty of who I already was that I had forgotten. And so my personal journey to freedom began …
The Road to Freedom
The other road, that less travelled, is that which, when I faced it with courage, led and continued to lead me to investigate, to challenge, all that I have been that has emerged from all that I had become. Reminiscent of the butterfly analogy and that of the snake, without being clichéd, the heroine’s (hero’s) journey is all about overcoming the insidious nature of the enmeshment in and of our negative ego, to aligning with the healthy nature of our ego to and in its truth. It is about breaking through glass ceilings, of limiting beliefs and the lies and half-truths that we have internalised and believed to be true.
What does Freedom mean to me? It is truth – it is seeing, owning, loving me as I am and who I am in the process of becoming as I continue to learn, to grow and to Be the me I was born to Be. And in this truth, mine is not a better way, merely another way. I am discovering that the extent of my growth is determined by how I distance myself from negative influences – not those of others, more those of my own making. I am learning how to step aside, to yield, to let go of people and events allowing them to pass without judgement. Freedom comes from being devoted to the good in all things and remaining detached from outcomes. It is from this space, that I have influence.
In these fluid movements, there is freedom and Grace. And on my road to freedom, I choose to rest in a state of Grace. For here in the sanctity of this space of waiting, of beauty, of balance, life gently unfolds and reveals the blessings and miracles of manifestation. The only work that there is for me to do is to Be, silent with a heart filled with gratitude that is open and willing to receive.
I invite you too, to be a part of this journey to finding and honouring your truth as we discover together the power to be found in free will choice – that of purpose and meaning, of self-discovery and self-awareness, of taking authentic action and in so doing, discovering the gifts to be found in living in alignment with authentic choice.
Angela is an avid advocate for freedom and choice and her passion lies in transformation, facilitating processes as Storytelling and Experience Economy thinking that encourage people and organisations to access their strengths, talents and potential.