Finding Freedom in a Cage

This thing that has taken us by storm,
Has pulled us out of our comfort zone,
We have no choice but to conform
and use this time to do things of our own.

Before that we were trudging along,
Like cogs in a wheel.
Is that how we want to be?

~ Bhavika

(This is not to dismiss your feelings or situation at this point of time, it is a testing time for all of us, this article is an attempt to look at it from a different lens, giving it a positive twist.)

It has shaken us up and pulled us right out of our comfort zones and propelled us into an unknown territory. This uncertainty can kill us from the inside… what can I do with myself?

If you have children, you tend to wonder… what am I going to do with him/her? How am I going to spend so much time with my spouse, I can’t even stand her/him?

This is a sacred opportunity given to us to introspect, rethink, and reshuffle our lives. When you go too fast, you have to slow down to recalibrate – may be your mental or emotional life needs some clearing.

This is the time to unbottle all those suppressed emotions, thoughts and feelings and work on them. You could also pursue all those dreams and desires that you never got time for.

Were you happy with your life and the way it was going prior to the lockdown?

I wasn’t.

I was just following the routine, more like dragging along rather than facing each day with enthusiasm and vigour. Of course that requires daily inner work, but unfortunately, there never was time for it. I was so exhausted at the end of the day that sleep was the only chance of meditating.

Then came the lockdown, which was more of an explosion of all those feelings and thoughts that finally got the attention it deserved. This was a chance for us to come back to the countryside – the place where we’ve spent many years and has always held a special place in our hearts.

We’re making the most of the time with a lot of inner dialogues and conflicts, epiphanies of sorts, and questioning our choices too. It has also made me realise that its possible to simplify our existence even more, we’re managing with far less than what we use on a daily basis.

We’re not heavily or even borderline consumerists, we would place ourselves closer to minimalism but this lockdown helped us realize that there’s more that we can cut out, which will not just help us simplify more, but also benefit the planet as well.

Yes, ‘things’ – all the extra stuff, not just the material realm, that end up becoming a part of your life and you don’t even know that they’re part of the backpack you’re carrying, until you check and clear your baggage. It is like shedding the unwanted layers, as they have played their part and it is time for them to go.

“People living deeply have no fear of death.” ~ Anais Nin

Nature has been such a wonderful teacher in this process. The birds only eat what they actually need to survive. Plants only consume the amount of water they require, if you end up putting too much it will dry up.

Same with humans, when we consume too much we are only swimming in shallow waters of materialism without actually diving deep into the depths of our soul.

Another thing that came up for me was socially distancing yourself from others. That is required anyway, on a regular basis.

We have been used to it, having lived seven years in the countryside, with only the birds and animals being the major source of our entertainment. We’re not media free, although we haven’t had a TV for over a decade we do watch an occasional movie on our laptop.

I’m not denying the fact that we are interdependent beings who need each other to thrive. But at the same time magic unfolds when you are in solitude, or for some, fears emerge or rather comes to the surface when you don’t like to be alone and always want to be surrounded by people.

It is a test of your mental makeup, whether you can let go of that mindset and adjust to this new reality. Address that mental chatter that tells you to be around people all the time, and start enjoying your own company.

“Not being comfortable alone means you must spend more time alone.” ~ Maxime Lagacé

I seek solitude, which was amiss in my daily routine. I used to feel lost, frustrated being surrounded by people all the time – might be the introvert in me talking, and this introvert is very happy at the moment.

We have the opportunity to take a much-needed pause, reflect on our lives and re-prioritize. We are treading new territory where the only thing certain is that we have time for ourselves and our loved ones. Maximise the use of this time and hopefully we will make wiser choices when a ‘new normal’ manifests!

“A man can be himself alone so long as he is alone … if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer,

Image Sources

Art by Peter van Straten

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