It's great to have a friend with a writing prompt and a leaning toward Shamanism.
Each month, Solo Flower and I eagerly await a newsletter from our favorite Shamans. It defines a theme for the month and breaks down the possible challenges and opportunities. Most months, we discuss the Shamanic report regularly. In the months we don't, we look back and say, "Wow. I shouldn't have done that," or "Oh, that's why he became so aggressive..." (Ok, we don't talk like that. We're more vulgar, and loaded with colorful metaphors. Point is, the Shamans haven't failed us with their wisdom or prophecy.)
"Discovery" is this month's theme. I've been learning (relearning) the cold, hard lesson that discovery doesn't mean randomly digging two inches into the dirt and finding a vein of gold, a new land, or even gemstone or a breakthrough solution. I pretend to be standing in the stream of life panning for precious metals— and my pan keeps coming up full of painful revelations. My life is not what I thought it was.
I was grieving the loss of both my imaginative version of discovery and the actual structure of my life when Solo Flower called to say, "Hey Ray-Ray... The Shamans are suggesting freedom. What's freedom?"
The last time I could remember feeling somewhat free was when I popped open a LaCroix while shopping for a friend's party supplies at Cost-Co. But is that the definition of freedom? Probably not. We decided to hang up and write about it, in hopes of connecting with a more enlighted realm of discovery.
What does freedom look like? What is it?
Here's what I wrote:
I closed my eyes and looked for freedom in my heart. It's more of a feeling than a look, a gentle swell the shape of a small playground slide. The sense of it swirled until I could see it. It was bright white, with rays of light extending from it— like a luminous, faceless porcupine that penetrated nothing. Freedom was stuck in my heart, and so it was not free.
How might I set this porcupine free? I imagined myself floating in space. A giant bubble formed around my chest, around the porcupine— a soap bubble, glowing with hints of hot pink, green, and purple. It occurred to me that the porcupine was something I wanted to share, so I invited my friends— my close friends— the people who wouldn't judge me for floating in space with a porcupine in a bubble stuck in my heart, or for my fear of my situation.
It was a relief to hear my friends laugh at my predicament. Solo Flower popped the bubble. The light dissolved into the space around us, into me, and into my friends. It was gentle, pure. We laughed for how easy it was to free the freedom trapped in my heart.
As I reflect on this imagined experience, I see that for me, freedom means sharing something of myself with others. It means being accepted and supported and offering the same. Freedom is something that's in me, something I want to give. It's the feeling of joy that goes with giving it and the celebration of receiving it. Freedom is trust and vulnerability.
Perhaps to some extent, freedom is earned. It's an invitation that may not be safe to offer to everyone, but it's one worth offering to those who are willing to experience me as I am and pop the bubbles that bind.
Fear subsides when I think of myself as free in this way. I see that what I have to give is something bright. Freedom isn't something I do, it's something I am, something that flows freely when I let it out.
It seems possible my definition of freedom will change.