Maybe You’re Ready for a Life of Freedom

Look what arrived in my inbox from the amazing Tama Kieves:

I have always craved freedom. It’s why I’ve pursued an authentic life. But it’s meant I have had to go off the map. Sometimes, off the rails, maybe where the mail can’t find me. I have had to find myself. I have a junk drawer of inner voices, and it took a while to realize which suggestions come from the beacon of my truth and which were useless screws from gadgetry that no longer works for me, if it ever did. I still hesitate around vital guidance. Because my heart always tells me things like rest or go pick daisies, when I’m hoping for some lottery numbers or an in with Oprah.

Of course, I imagined that “finding myself” would be a once in a lifetime thing. I thought it would be like riding an escalator once you found your right step. But turns out, it’s a way of life. The world never stops shouting or posturing in ways that muffle wisdom. It’s easy to lose touch. It’s like dropping an earring at a rambunctious party. I have to hunt for the glint of gold again. Normal people peer at me strangely. Still, I search. Because only I know what is missing. A life of reaching the highest expression of my potential requires continuous focus and choice. I may not know exactly what I’m looking for, but I always know when something’s missing.

Just to be clear, I am so not cut out to be a trailblazer. I am careful and neurotic and do not like adventure one bit. I don’t even like trying new foods, much less new jobs or lives or voices inside myself. But I want to feel good. And feeling good comes from undiluted self-honesty. There’s no owner’s manual or cheat sheet. And forget about external validation. No tour guide and souvenir shop. This is not a trip for tourists. This is the trip of travelers. Your feet crunch on the ground as you listen to your own breath. This is the footpath that only you can find, create, conjure, or allow. It’s unsettling to be “on your own” without directions. But it saves time. Because the highways just take you where everyone else is going and while it’s popular as all get-out, so are Kim Kardashian Instagram posts. Freedom demands more of you. Freedom reveals more of you to yourself.

When it comes to owning your life, no one else can tell you where you belong. It’s okay to falter and lose your way. You have to listen, probe, make mistakes, step on snakes, and do a few takes of the scene that might not even get into the movie. Because you will get this right. You will find what’s yours already.

It’s the process that gives you clarity.

And it’s always better to lose the way for a time, than to stop for good and lose yourself.

Tama Kieves

You Don’t Need to Explain Yourself


How much time did I waste wondering how something I wanted to do would affect other people? Perfect example: For years I worried about inconveniencing friends because I had quit drinking. How would I explain it to them?

What a waste of time.

Today, my reading from the book A Year Without Fear addressed this perfectly:

Today, you do not need to explain yourself to others.

You do not have to explain your journey or courageous faith to others. If you were giving birth, you wouldn’t take time to make others feel comfortable and secure. You would be doing what your nature demands. You’d focus on the task at hand, the evolutionary impulse. You’d attend to your own needs. A new life will speak for itself.

— Tama Kieves,  A Year Without Fear