Lifting Off to Freedom

Lifting Off to Freedom

 
hot-air-balloons-four-300x188.jpg?profile=RESIZE_584xJuly 25, 2021
 
It is left to the vagaries of the mind to invent
love and despair and anxiety
and their pain.
~Anne Stevenson, The Spirit Is Too Blunt an Instrument

 

After an intense yet uplifting Emotion Code session, (1) I walked around feeling a bit goofy, smiling for no reason, loose limbed and light. It felt wonderful since I typically feel heavy, earthbound, constrained by walking pain.

4-Child-Balloons-small-300x200.jpg?profile=RESIZE_400xA phrase popped into my mind: I don’t care what anyone thinks.

Huh. That’s nice. Not sure how it relates to feeling less pain, but I’ll make a note. And then I went on about my day.

But that phrase was running like a background mantra.

I don’t care what anyone thinks. I don’t care what anyone thinks. I don’t care what anyone thinks.

After awhile, when I realized it wasn’t going to go away, I accepted it for the poke that it was. What does that mean? Why don’t I care? What exactly is it that I don’t care about?

****

I’ll be ruminating upon this for days, no doubt. My first thought is that this “I don’t care” attitude is…freeing. I don’t care what you or anyone else thinks. As the saying goes, “What you think of me is none of my business.”

More to the point, I recognized a different kind of freedom. Mind-freedom. Not only do I not care what “you” think, I don’t care what I think.

nagging-mother-nag-vintage-300x150.jpg?profile=RESIZE_400xA perpetual nagging inner voice seems to have been quietened. The “should” voice. You ought to care about your behavior! You ought to care what people think of you!

I’m looking from side to side, as if to find that nag. Searching my mind, looking up left and right, as people do when trying to remember something.

I mentally shrug and give up for now. In keeping with the theme, I don’t care where it’s gone. I don’t miss it. I don’t want it back.

Because, I realize, along with the freedom comes peace. I’m at peace. Not caring what others think of me, or think of anything, especially if they’re trying to convince me of something I already disbelieve, is so restful.

Truly not caring is unexplored territory in the landscape of my beingness. I approach a bit cautiously, but curiously, wondering what lies beyond this little hill over here, that valley (a depression?) over there.

Hot-air-Balloon.jpeg?profile=RESIZE_400xI’m not feeling malicious or pugnacious about “not caring.” I recognize I have compassion in addition to an ordinary level of social politeness; that hasn’t gone away and isn’t likely to. It occurs to me that this is how a good nurse treats patients: with infinite compassion and courtesy, but also a kind of reserve. Dispassionate caring, which, while sounding oxymoronic, probably describes it as well as anything.

It’s a bit difficult to build a box around this feeling and slap a single-word label upon it for everyone’s ease of definition, including mine.

I realize that along with the freedom and the peacefulness is an absence. The absence of fear. I’m not afraid of being judged—found lacking—by self or by others.

I don’t think this is a “state” I could have forced myself into. I more or less just fell in, landing gently as a hot air balloon after a successful, exhilarating jaunt into the sky.

I can’t wait for the next flight up, lifting off to more freedom.

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