“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.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Would you say you are free? Or do you crave to break out of your life? Freedom is something I often take for granted. Of course there are restrictions imposed by my domestic or work situation, but generally I can travel where I choose, I can read what I want, listen to the music I enjoy, practice my faith – all without fear. Many around the world can barely imagine such privileges. But whilst I accept these liberties as usual in my life, the opposite can be said for my personal freedom. Being able to live my life as the person I was meant to be is something I appreciate and cherish daily.
“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre
I wake up and am glad that I am alive. For anyone who has never experienced a deep depression, waking up each day is not an issue. But my depression took me to suicidal depths that held me trapped for many years – fearful, hopeless, stuck with past memories, fighting a daily battle to simply exist. So to find myself living a life of joy, expectancy, enthusiasm and creativity is an existence that I could only have previously dreamed.
I wake up without the need for a drink. For anyone who drinks socially or is teetotal from choice that is no big deal. But alcoholism controlled me physically and mentally for many years. So to be able enjoy sobriety and reap the incredible rewards it brings is a breakthrough that I could only have previously coveted.
Both the freedom from acute depression and addiction are something that I have received for many years. Never do I take them for granted. They are something I thank God for, thank my family for and thank my friends for every single day of my life.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32
It’s through my bondage that I have found my release. It’s by enduring the trials that I have found the solutions. It’s by confronting my personal truth that I have found my authentic self.
When you are feeling trapped and weak it is hard to imagine freedom. If you are the grip of victim mentality, it is practically impossible to feel empowered. But whatever the restraints of your situation and however hard it is to change what goes in your physical world, you are still a unique being. How you react and how you feel inside are choices that have within you. Choices that will encourage and expand your personal freedom.
My journey of self-discovery meant facing truths that hurt. With the comfort and restoration of faith I dealt with the pain. I allowed myself to start walking in freedom. Freedom to accept myself for who and what I was. Freedom to say ‘Yes’ when I wanted and ‘No’ when I didn’t. Freedom to accept my mistakes and to celebrate my successes. Freedom to love and be loved.
Freedom to be me.
What does freedom mean to you?
Images thanks to the wonderfully talented Aja of the Sagittarius Gallery at http://www.etsy.com/shop/SagittariusGallery And many thanks to Val Andrews – Escape Artist who’s blog regularly inspires me to consider and revere my freedom.
Carolyn, I am so glad I found your page at FB. I am truly inspired by your strength and courage and take comfort that if you are strong enough, I too, can be strong enough to find my own freedom and accept myself. Thank YOU.
What a wonderful comment Charlene. Thank you for such kindness and it is wonderful to see you here as well as on FB/ Keep strong. 🙂
I loved this post. I am so happy that you are free from depression and addiction. It can rule one’s life and destroy it. I think freedom is the choice to be your best self and not worrying about what others will think because of it because no matter what you do people will dislike you. Sadly, I am not there yet, but I am trying.
We can’t be everything to everybody and if we try we are setting ourselves up for a very difficult time. Realising that we are good enough just as we are and loving ourselves for who we are allows us the freedom to live without the fear of being disliked or rejected by others. It’s a continuing journey and I’m glad you are on it! Little by little you will find the strength to be your authentic self and what others think of you will become less important. Thank you for your encouragement and support Sebastian 🙂
Yes that is very true. I have failed trying to do that. That is true that it is a continuing journey and takes time, but it is well worth it. Have a great day Carolyn.
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Thank you for linking me! I appreciate that 🙂
You are such an inspiration to everyone Carolyn – for facing that journey in your life with freedom. Awesome!
Thankyou for you encouragement Lorii!
Freedom is my highest value. This was informative and inspiring! Thank you 🙂
Thank you Anita for all your support and kind words. 🙂
Freedom is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves. One of my favorite quotes is : “Forgiving you is my gift to you. Moving on is my gift to myself” … Therein lies one of the greatest keys to your freedom. It can only ever be found in forgiveness and love, which starts with the one you see in the mirror. I absolutely LOVE your words:
“It’s through my bondage that I have found my release. It’s by enduring the trials that I have found the solutions. It’s by confronting my personal truth that I have found my authentic self.”
Stay blessed and strong in your faith Carolyn, I can clearly see it has worked miracles in your life, and I’m proud of you for what you have done with what has happened to you. x
Thank you Christine! I love your forgiveness quote. You are so right in that forgiveness and love are the keys to freedom. I have been blessed to have found the keys! xo
Awesome post! I love this quote: “Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre
It’s great isn’t it Catherine 🙂
Yes! After being stuck in an abusive relationship for too long, I cherish my freedom and say thank you for it every day. To know now that what I eat, or read, or work at is my choice makes all the difference in the world! Thanks for another great post Carolyn!
Thank you for sharing your personal story Helena. Your strength and courage shine through 🙂
I saw a poster in a treatment center that I think you’ll appreciate: Truth will set you free…but first it will make you miserable. That was my experience, was it yours, too, Carolyn?
Absolutely Meryl! Very tough at first but then wonderful at the end 🙂
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Thank you for linking to my blog. I appreciate that:)
I needed these words today….”But whatever the restraints of your situation and however hard it is to change what goes in your physical world, you are still a unique being.”Thank you!
Thank you for your support Carl!
Carolyn, your words are so moving and real and are an inspiration to others who may be feeling trapped, and thinking there is no way out. Once we realize that we truly have the freedom to choose our dreams, we can begin to fly!
Thank you Patti! Many don’t see that it doesn’t have to be a huge opening, just enough to take the first step is enough to freedom.
Excellent post Carolyn! For me, feeling free has so much to do with just feeling comfortable with who and what I am, not needing to be or do something to keep another happy to the detriment of what I need.
Life experience has helped me to learn that we can be free once we learn to be authentic to that inner voice (that’s sometimes been drowned out in some way).
Thank you Moira for your great comments and advice to ‘listen to that inner voice.’ Wonderful!
I love your work, Carolyn, and every time I read a new post, I find it resonates with my own experiences. Coming from decades of being on the family side of this disease and my years of recovery work to unravel those impacts, I’ve finally found who I was meant to be. I especially loved these two sentiments you shared, “It’s through my bondage that I have found my release. It’s by enduring the trials that I have found the solutions. It’s by confronting my personal truth that I have found my authentic self.” and “Being able to live my life as the person I was meant to be is something I appreciate and cherish daily.” Thanks for another wonderful post!
I’m inspired by your recovery from being on the family side of addiction Lisa. Thank you for your comments 🙂
Freedom is the ability to just be myself no matter where I am. There are so many times that there are unspoken rules in social groups and people want you to behave, dress and look a certain way and that is not being yourself. Freedom to me means being able to do whatever I want and behave as I am in all situations while at the same time respecting the freedom of others. I guess that would fall into be and let be.
I love your definition of freedom Karla. Being able to do whatever you want and behave as you are in all situations while at the same time respecting the freedom of others. Perfect! 🙂
I like to be able to take myself on the road whenever I want. I like to be able to say Yes whenever I want. I like to know that I’m not dependent on anything materially.
Great attitude and fabulous way to live Aimee 🙂
Hello, dear Carolyn…I popped over from “Lifebeam”…
Your post is wonderfully in tuned with all that has to do with choice. Isn’t it wonderful when we choose to live life abundantly? Renewing the mind isn’t easy, but it has it’s rewards. I thank God every day for teaching me.
Thank you for sharing a very powerful message.
Blessings for wings to fly,
Thank you so much Marianne for your beautiful comments. So wonderful to see you here. Blessings. xoxo
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32 That is one of my favorite verses…. and I always wondered why the caged bird sang… Great article Carolyn. Thanks.
Thank you Norma. If you ever get the chance to read Maya Angelous’ book I would recommend it!
Wow Carolyn, very powerful, insightful and helpful to me today! Thanks so much for the post!!!
Thank you Liz!
Freedom has become the ability to say “no” even when a “yes” is expected. I’ve learned to love the little things I have and do, especially because depression and ill health taught me so many things, the hard way!
Learning to love the little things is so important MamaRed. Thank you for your comments!
Love this post, Carolyn! Freedom to accept ourselves for who we are can make our life meaningful and authentic. Freedom comes when we accept ourselves. Thanks for the inspiration!
I totally agree with you Cathy. Freedom does come from self-acceptance. Thank you for your ongoing support 🙂
Freedom is my own personal, highest, core value. It took a long time for me to discover that and to design my life around it. For me, truth is freedom…I love this part of your post “I wake up and am glad that I am alive”…just beautiful!
Thank you for your wise words Sherie. Once you make freedom a core value, you can design your life around it and live a life of truth. 🙂
I always look forward to reading your blog. You quietly and consistently weave your story and the result is I always get a good lesson to take with me. Freedom. From our own bondage. That is so powerful. Thank you.
Thank you for your kind comments Martha. Freedom from bondage is freedom indeed. 🙂
Having lived and traveled all over the world, I know that words like freedom and liberty have different meanings in different cultures. You, Carolyn, have added a whole other dimension to the concepts! What an eye-opening way of looking at something so many simply take for granted. Thank you for pointing out the vulnerabilities!
Thank you Sharon for your kind comments 🙂
Freedom is about letting the stress and fear that has run so much of my life go! Freedom is telling it goodbye and doing things frightened or not! Thanks Sweetie, I enjoyed thinking about my release from it!
I love your definition of freedom Elizabeth – letting go of stress and fear 🙂
It took a long time to find “myself”, but that is part of the journey of life. And it is so true that you must believe in yourself and stop worrying about what others think. It’s good to know that others have to travel this road also. Thx for your thoughts.
I appreciate your comments Barbara. So glad you found yourself!
Carolyn, your posts always move me! I loved ” Freedom to say ‘Yes’ when I wanted and ‘No’ when I didn’t. Freedom to accept my mistakes and to celebrate my successes. Freedom to love and be loved.” That’s my definition of freedom. Thank you!
Thank you for your support Lisa!
This was a beautiful and heartfelt article. I loved it. It is so hard to go through this kind of journey and not many people have the courage to do so. Congratulations on your courage. I applaud you!
Thank you so much for your encouragement Angela 🙂
****It’s through my bondage that I have found my release***
W O W!
Carolyn, you continually move me, soak thru my bones…
Your comments make me grin from ear to ear Kim 🙂
I enjoy all your encouraging and thought provoking posts Carolyn. Thank you!
What does freedom mean to me? Well, what I most long for is freedom from fear, the most crippling and depressing of emotions. I know in my own life, and from what I have seen in others, that fear is usually the underlying cause of most of our ” bondages” however they manifest themselves.
My journey on a daily basis is to trust the perfect love which casts out all fear. 1 John 4 v 18
But it is an ongoing process and I don’t find it easy at times.
Keep encouraging us all…!
Thank you for such insightful comments Cilla. Fear is something that affects us all and can have devastating effects. The freedom from fear is freedom indeed!
Hi Carolyn, I’m glad my blog inspired you 🙂 As always, I like your take on your things & your lovely, fluid writing style. I also love your choice of artworks & quotes. Keep up the brilliant, beautiful work!
Thank you Val 🙂
Thanks again for sharing Carolyn. I can say that feeling free does come with time. As we get older we do stop worrying about what someone else may think or say and we let the real self shine through. I wished there was a way to teach the young just be you. Don’t worry about what your peers are going to think. Freedom means being strong and standing by your values and beliefs.
Thanks again for sharing.
Thank you for sharing your wise advice Debbie. Great advice to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks!