Dec 2, 2022 • 4M

When We Don’t Realize We’re Trapped

Breaking free of the cage of the mind

54
 
0:00
-3:40
Open in playerListen on);
A quest to uncover what shifts, when we shift our attention
Episode details
54 comments

I was a firefly
in a mason jar
thinking each 
hole in the lid 
was freedom
right up until 
the moment 
I found my 
way out.

Hi Wonderful Community,

I wrote the above stanza a few weeks ago, but have spent much of this year thinking about freedom. About the cages we cannot escape, and the ones we can. How there are cages of being I believed I’d never break free from, but since have. How there are still times I’ll think I’m free, and won’t until later realize I’d been locked behind the bars of some wrong way of thinking. 

One can be confined by many things: others expectations, the rules of culture. There’s a script for how to be a person in this world. Refusing to stay on script is a quick path to one kind of freedom. Long ago my friend Oak told me we can only go where we have first been in our minds. For something to be possible, we have to first consider its possibility. Each day I ask myself — am I in a mason jar of my own making? Am I calling the holes in the lid the sky

What of my own truth am I censoring to be someone other people want me to be? Historically I could point to obvious places: Coming out as queer was busting out of a jar. Coming out as nonbinary was too. But what are the less obvious ways I’m still trapped? I find out when the air thins, in moments when my chest tightens, when the house of my heart dims. 

What I know for sure---I’m not free when I’m thinking my life is something that happens to me. Nor am I free when believing anyone else is the conductor of the symphony of my living. There has been so much more music in my days since I took responsibility for the sound.

Another cage I broke free from was the idea that I can only love who loves me. Loving people is a joy I give myself regardless of whether or not someone is cherishing me in return. That's not everyone’s jam––but it’s one of the sweetest aspects of my life these days.

As you might imagine, I've spent a lot of this year thinking about mortality. I’ve watched countless documentaries about folks who’ve had near-death experiences. So many of them speak about what they saw on the other side being more real than here. This life looks a bit cartoonish in comparison to the next realm, they say. Two dimensional as opposed to multi-dimensional. Like we were confined in ways we can't possibly know we're confined, until we are entirely spirit.

When a firefly looks up at the lid does it see what we see when we look at the night sky? Darkness dotted with light? Are the stars holes in the lid? Is life itself a kind of mason jar? If so, is death itself freedom? Maybe. But I think the real freedom is learning how to fly here and now. Learning when and where we have the power to bust out.

What comes to mind when you imagine yourself wildly free? I love these conversations that happen in the comments. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I look forward to reading what you write. 

Love, Andrea 🖤

Leave a comment


Person in orange winter jacket sitting on wooden deck overlooking a lake and colorful sunset

Things That Don't Suck is a reader-supported digital bouquet filled with flowers that bloom on the bright side. Both free and paid subscriptions are available. If you want to support my work, the best way is by becoming a paid subscriber. Thank you for being here.

Give a gift subscription to a loved one