Freedom lies in path of your passions

IMG_9073What if freedom, what we all want, is specific? Not to a universal truth or common ideology. Though we are similar, what if we truly are inherently different?

What if what you need is what you need to find out for yourself?

I have begun the arduous journey of discovering that a lot of things we are told are not based on truth. Correction, MANY of the things we are told are false. The way to dress, talk, behave, pursue, succeed, love, hate, it is explained somewhere.

But I must pose the question: There seems to be limitless answers, so why don’t we live in utopian bliss? Because the answer for one may not ring true for another. I believe at best, answers are an attempt for truth, but there is something missing.

Sometimes as I scour the internet, and watch films exposing injustice, I discover a world of artificial truths, and feel defeated. I feel lied to, manipulated and discouraged. It causes me a great deal of emotional turmoil to discover that many things I have believed for as long as I can remember, may not in fact be true. They may not even be based on my well-being. Maybe I should have known this earlier, maybe a lot of you already are aware of this, through direct experience of false truth.

However, I do know I am not the only one who feels confused. I could let it beat me. I could curl up in a ball and choose not to believe what anyone says. I could become bitter, resentful and angry. I could fight fire with fire and violently aggress against those that enforce unethical bounds to our very existence.

But at the end of the day, I do not have the answer either. I do not know anyone who does, and I’m not sure one answer exists. Recently I have been made aware of many false ideas, yet the revealing of truth is specific to those areas. Uncovering the reality of one situation does not always generalize to an ultimate solution. That would be great, but it is not something I have been able to witness thus far.

So we are left with our capacity for wonder, our ability to imagine and create. We are left with our curiosity, thirst for knowledge, and innate need to survive. We reside within these bodies for a period of time, longing to be fulfilled, longing to be nourished.

We are told that we must work for it. That success does not come without hard work. But we have begun to associate that synonymously with monetary success, and forgotten what that actually produces.

When you look at your life, and what you desire to accomplish, how much of it is based on other people?
How much of your life is dedicated to responding to what you’ve been told?
How many hours of your day to you spend working hard towards a goal you don’t intrinsically desire to meet?
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results then I beg you to stop for just a second.
Stop and think about times in your life where you have felt joy, happiness, success, freedom, love and belonging. What is it that has made you feel like life has a purpose? I do not ask what your purpose is, because that is a question we are asked constantly that may or may not have an ultimate truth to it.
Maybe it has been a long time since you felt purpose, maybe you have been convinced that you were destined to be whatever it is that you currently are.

But what if we believed freedom was relative? That our needs might in fact be unique? What if you saw yourself as a someone who has the inherent ability to fulfill your own specific needs?
Then it becomes a matter of figuring that out, of working hard to fulfill the needs that you actually require. You can become empowered by your own existence, knowing you hold truth within yourself. Working hard becomes less about providing the financial security to allow for basic survival. Instead it becomes the search for fulfillment, whatever that may be.

If you are unhappy with who you are or where you are at, take a moment to think about what you want. What you really want.
OK.
Now think about what you are currently doing.
How many of those wants are consistent with your ideal reality? How many are you unsure of? How many are directly in opposition with them?

Sometimes I think we are afraid to know what we want, because we know how hard it will be to pursue it. Because of money, adversaries, geography, time, lack of support and lack of belief in ourselves.
But spending our days chasing after something that we KNOW we don’t want, is never going to get us closer to a purposeful life.

Your value is not in the money you earn.
It is not in the materials you attain.
It is not the people you know, the places you’ve been.

There is value in what you want. What you really, really want.
What you would do for free. What you would sacrifice everything for. It is not restricted to a career, or lifestyle. It is what you want people to say about you when you’re gone.
Whether you believe life has a reason and purpose or not, you have the ability to create it, because you are alive, and you always have something to offer.

When you don’t want what they want, that does not mean you have failed. It means you have a different idea of what success is.

And here is the ultimate challenge. What is it that you want, that can also make someone else’s life better? Is your want simply about personal gain, or is there a way you can meet with a greater need?

“Vocation is where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.” – Frederick Buechner

The world needs you. It needs your pursuits, desires and passions.

Me? I have new goals everyday. Seriously, it could be considered a hobby.

I want truth, and direction.
I want to contribute to a system that reaps and sows equality.
I want to erase cognitive dissonance from my life.
I want to depend on others, and not attempt to live life by my own strengths.
I want to experience art, and new realms of creativity.
I want to experience my skill set based on what it is that the world needs from me.
I want to feel free to express my deepest desires, and be excited about them.
I know that life has meaning. I want to cultivate that and erase the meaningless pursuits that strip it of its worth.
I want to know what love is at its best.

Seek first. Know after. Follow Freedom. Love unconditionally.

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I’m not making a statement, I’m just figuring out who I am

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Alright here’s a secret…
If I show up to a party with a christmas sweater in July, i’m not making a statement that we need to be festive year round. Maybe it’s just all I had left in my closet, and it’s comfortable okay?
If I’m drinking fair trade coffee in a mason jar, it’s not because i’m a ‘hipster’ that thinks large coffee corporations are evil and the world is a bad place. I just happen to like mason jars and think it’s cool that some companies choose to pay their employees enough money to live, or maybe I bought it by accident, it doesn’t matter.

I’m tired of being labeled for things that I want to just be able to do. I’m tired of having to decide if i’m feeling up for getting attention or whether I’ll just act normally and avoid it. I’m tired of having to figure out what’s normal so I can try to comply with it.

Being different isn’t about standing out, it’s about making it okay for others to be different. It’s about acting on your innate uniqueness. It’s about just being who you are, not because you are expecting other people to notice.
It’s about opening up the idea for people to express their individuality and not feel like they have to be absorbed by what’s popular. We all go through periods of really wanting to fit in, but for the vast majority struggle to feel accepted, I believe that choosing to be different can allow other people to see that it’s okay.
I often find myself in between two options:
On one hand, i don’t want to be stared at everytime I walk into a room, however I also desperately don’t want to be grouped together with every other person, until I feel like I have completely lost myself and am just a product of whomever i’m with the most.

I like being barefoot. I don’t do it because I don’t have shoes, or because I want to be ‘different’. In fact, much of the I won’t go barefoot simply because it’s not ‘normal’.
Really, I just like the feeling of the ground under my feet, and I feel more free. That’s all. Sometimes I wish I didn’t live in Canada, where for half the year that’s not possible.

If you see me around, and I’m doing or wearing something weird, no I won’t be offended if you comment about it, but just know that i’m not making a statement. Unless that statement is
“I like this so I’m wearing it.”
Many of these references include clothing, which I absolutely do not see as the ‘be all and end all’ of your identity and label. However I do think it’s the easiest for us to relate to, and I personally identify with the daily battle of deciding whether my clothing choices will be ‘ordinary’ or not.

If you’ve ever written an exam you might know the feeling of walking into a room with rows of empty desks, sitting down to the paper in front of you, along with hundreds of other students. In that moment, you are a number. you are just a student who needs a certain grade to pass this exam. Your skills, interests, passions, none of that matters at this moment. It’s all about how much you memorized, how much sleep you got, and how much information you can spew out of your mind in the allotted two hours.
I wish that our lives would look much differently. I don’t want to follow every fashion trend so that I’ll fit in, and comply with every ‘normal’ pattern of behavior just so I’m not noticed as being different.
I think that the more people know that they have the ability to do it, the less they will feel like they are ‘making a statement’ and the more you can just embrace the things that you love. If people will be so quick to assume that you are ‘making a statement’ then that’s their fault for being so close-minded.

I think we all want to experience the freedom of our uniqueness, but only some will.

It’s not about ‘trying’ to be different, because the fact is, you ARE different. You are not, and never have been, the same as everyone else so don’t feel like you need to be.
If you want to walk around in barefeet. DO IT.
If you want to have a pet penguin, DO IT. (probably not realistic, but it’d be totally cool)
If you want to [insert societally unordinary behavior here], DO IT.
It doesn’t matter what it is. Just go for it, please.
Because if everyody is trying to be the same thing we’re going to end up being nothing at all.
Yes, people will try and put a label on you. It’s what we do. We like to know how to categorize things and put them in a box. I do it too.

Not everything has to be that easy. Be free to explore what you like and who you want to be. It will be scary at first, but I promise you it will get easier.
As my friend Hannah said to me one time when I was fearful of wearing a dress and getting unwanted attention (because I normally wear grungy clothes not because I think i’ll look smokin’)
“Don’t let them put you in a box … just be yourself”

Embrace your differences, so others can do the same.

Comment here!
Tell me about a time you did something you really wanted to, even though you knew people would think it was weird, what was it and what was the outcome?
Think of something that RIGHT NOW you want to do but don’t want too stand out or be labeled. DO IT. and tell me about it!!

BE DIFFERENT. IT’S WHO YOU ARE.

Photo Attribution: Keith Chastain

Freedom To Be Broken

ImageThis story is real, it contains pain but with that it also has hope. Hope for freedom, recovery and victory. I hope that as Mental Illness Awareness Week comes to an end, you would continue to know that it is okay to be honest. It is okay to struggle, and it is okay to ask for help. I am so fortunate to know this person and to be a part of her story both in the brokenness and in the freedom, and what exists beyond the reality of an eating disorder.

Read on.

When I started high school I had developed an obsession with my weight. I would try restricting and not eating because I thought I needed to be thinner. I was able to not eat in the beginning, but my body would become so hungry so I would binge on food. Then I became really guilty after and afraid I was going to gain weight so I would purge to get rid of it. I thought I would just do it once and a while, but it turned into an ongoing battle, one that I still work through.  This is how a cycle can start. It’s a lot easier to start a habit than to break one. So needless to say, breaking the habit took years.

The thing to know about bulimia is that it is impossible to be healthy in it. One can obsess over food all-day and think of how much you can eat or how to avoid food. This can even create social anxiety because hanging with friends usually involves food, so in the end you just don’t want to go because you don’t want to be around food. Then when your body becomes so hungry you binge and you binge on the foods that are not good for you because you know you will just get rid of it. After that you purge and your body never feels healthy because it is deprived of nutrients and you mind has conformed to an addiction.

Something that was helpful for me along my journey was knowing that it takes a lot time to recover. It can be so discouraging starting one day and thinking you will never engage in your eating disorder again and then binging and purging the next meal.  It takes a long time to retrain your mind and develop new habits. I remember thinking that there would never be a day where I don’t think about food all day or where I don’t want to purge after I eat. But it just took time. Now I don’t think about food every day, I don’t want to purge, and binging still happens, but food is my comfort food and I’m working on it. I’ve just come to realize that this is my struggle, and I really just need to take it one day at a time. I look back and see a lot of progress that has happened, but I know that this is something I still need to be aware of. I’m lucky to have people around me who know me and love me who I can go to when I am tempted to engage in my ED. I don’t look to the future. I just look at today.

Today I am going to work on analyzing my thoughts and instead of putting myself down I am going to look for the positives.

Today I am going to eat and if I get stressed out than I am going to go for a walk because I know that being around food might be hard.

Today I am going to hangout with a friend because I had a bad day yesterday and I need to be with someone.

Some of those days I engaged in my ED, but I was able to learn and keep going. Don’t compare with others because no matter how hard you try you will never be like anyone else. Your life is different and so recovery is different for everybody. There is no time constraint. You need community because it’s impossible to get over on your own. We are all broken, and everybody has something they carry. We may not have the same thing but something about being vulnerable with one another and unified in the midst of our brokenness is healing.

There is a lot more I could write so I’m going to end with this. Something I wrote when I wasn’t having the greatest day with my ED:

“In the midst of pain you hear the soul. Though it can feel defeated and weak; you bring moments of peace to survive. You do not promise that I won’t turmoil, so open my eyes that I may see the beauty in this brokenness. Thank you that truth is not dependent upon how we feel. Though our feelings are a reality that contributes to how well our day can go, the greater truth, one that surpasses all emotion and comprehension is that you are here. You give hope, purpose, and life in times that seem to be empty and in times that seem to be full. Forgive me for I will doubt and I will despair but I will choose to sit in the presence of my afflictions. I will not leave, or ignore them. But I will continue to move towards healing however that looks until your kingdom is fully restored. You have shown me that brokenness is not fixed in a day yet we experience glimpses of your kingdom here on earth as we unite together under affliction. How can I forget? This memory shapes who I am. Yes I battle and get discouraged, but there is freedom. Freedom as I am vulnerable with another, freedom as I acknowledge my pain, and freedom as I share in the brokenness of humanity. I see your eyes looking at me. They may look different every time, but I see you. I don’t have it all figured out, but this is me exposed. There is freedom, freedom to be broken. Let my act of service right now to you, be to rest in your love and not look to overcome tomorrow. “

I still struggle sometimes, but I know who I am. This doesn’t define me. Each day I am overcoming my thoughts and experiencing freedom. It’s interesting how a lot of things begin with our thoughts. Might be worth thinking about…

Notes on Bulimia:

1) I don’t have all the answers, just someone who has done some research

2) I’m not perfect and I still struggle

Bulimia Nervosa can be described as an eating disorder in the form of binging and purging. Binging is eating a lot of food usually within a short amount of time and purging is getting rid of that food whether through laxatives, vomiting, excessive exercise, and/or fasting. An eating disorder is also identified as a mental illness. (One that has the highest mortality rate.) It is one that usually is brought on because of an obsession with weight, whether it is focusing on loosing weight or fear of weight gain. That being said, a big gateway into developing an eating disorder is through unhealthy dieting. (Also keep in mind I am not writing in absolutes. This may not be for everyone who has or is struggling with bulimia.)

go here for more information about eating disorders:

http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/facts-about-eating-disorders/#.UlheBBYSNUQ

If you have a story to share email emily.scott93@gmail.com !

No Regrets

So you messed up. 

So you did that ONE thing you didn’t want to do. 

So you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

You fell, you became someone else even if just for a second.

You gave up the good fight in hopes of creating happiness in all the wrong ways.

You made a mistake, or a mistake was thrust upon you and you agreed.

You hate yourself for letting these things happen, and for letting them repeat.

And now all you can think about is how you wish you didn’t.

REGRET.

It’s powerful. It has the ability to create fear of moving forward, paralyzing you in the midst of your circumstance. 

It can wrap itself around you and tell you that your whole identity is contained within what you wish you didn’t do.

Your life becomes more about what you did wrong than what you’ve done right.

Regret is a lasso that becomes tighter as you fight it, the resistance keeps increasing until it gets harder to breathe, and you remain in that spot where you were caught, unable to progress. 

So take it off.

Take off your rope of regret – whatever it is.

Maybe it’s not that easy, I know. Maybe it takes more than that you might say.

But tell me, why do you regret?

Why do you spend time wishing you could change it all when you are completely aware that you can’t?

Why do you create circumstances in your head that are different, perhaps better than what actually occurred?

What is the purpose of dwelling on the past, wondering how it will shape your future?

Tell me one positive thing about being regretful, because I can’t think of any. 

This isn’t about the popular idea of ‘no regrets’. Of living in the now to such an extent that you mindlessly overindulge and take risks, claiming that you will have ‘no regrets’ and just live life to the full.

Mistakes are mistakes. Sometimes you know it at the time, sometimes you don’t.

But that’s all they are. You learn from some, others not so much.

You laugh about some, others not so much.

But don’t let regret have a hold on you. Don’t let it become your reason for where you are now. Free yourself from its trap.

Who you were for a moment or for a long time isn’t who you are now. It never needs to be. What you did doesn’t stop you from doing now.

If you need to apologize to someone, do it. After that, it’s out of your hands. Whether or not you feel forgiven or not, move on.

If you are waiting for an apology, live as if it’s not coming. Move beyond that expectancy so you can be present for the people who need you now.

Let your past guide your future, but don’t let it be the only guide.

You are more than the sum of your regrets.

What’s done is done. That door has closed, so open the one in front of you. The one where you have the rest of your life waiting to be lived. 

Hold on to hope and be free of regret.

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photo: http://simplelifestrategies.com/withoutregrets-sls/