Whenever I hear someone label me or another a “free spirit”, I always wonder— does that mean they consider most spirits imprisoned? My heart physically aches just thinking about that possibility.
If a spirit is imprisoned— who caged it in? Parents? Religion? Teachers? Employers? The government? Societal expectations? Conditioned fears and close-minded beliefs? More importantly, if there exists an awareness that the spirit is caged, who has the key?
From the day we are born, those around us begin the process of domesticating us. We're conditioned to be tamer versions of our authentic wild selves. In some aspects, it’s helpful for us to understand appropriate behaviors to be functional members of society. Peeing on our belongings to set boundaries. Biting others when they get too close. Running into traffic whenever we feel like crossing. I think we can all agree, behaviors like those might not always get the results we’re looking for.
I think what people mean by "free spirits” are those of us on an eternal quest to return to our natural state. Return back to svatantrya: the unbounded freedom that comes from standing firmly on our own paths; the freedom to be who we are.
Those of us attempting to lead fulfilling, content lives based off our own judgment.
Those of us who know that freedom is a state of mind that we all are blessed to travel to whenever we choose.
Those of us leading lives that actively love out loud.
Openly playing, experiencing, and exploring the world, even if we look "silly" or make ourselves vulnerable.
Appreciating and acknowledging the beauty that surrounds us.
Those of us who are consciously promoting love, freedom, and
creating beauty in our own ways.
Those of us who actively encourage those around us to do the same.
Those of us who know that being a "free spirit" doesn’t make us superior or more enlightened. It’s just a path that’ll get us to the same place as all the other paths.
And it just happens to be an enlivening one to be on.
The truth is "free spirits" aren't immune to the stresses of life. We all have experience with heartache and trauma. We all have a fear of the unknown, of failure, of rejection, of disappointing ourselves and others. We all have shadows that chase us. But some of us choose to face them more often. If we bring them out into the light and learn the lessons those experiences gave us— then we find the keys to unshackle ourselves.
I believe to my very core that we are all worth the love, time, energy, and attention that it requires to make friends with our entirety and to free our souls. Our spirits were meant to be free, so they can continue to explore all this universe has to offer.
May we all return back to Svatantrya.