“To wake at dawn and decide what to do with your day.” – Toni Morrison
For a very long time I tried to gain insight into why people I know or don’t know think that I have a million dollar stash. Even my own mother thinks that I hoard money. It used to bother me but I am so happy that in a moment of reflection I found the answer as to why people get this impression of me. I am so happy and I will tell you why in a minute.
I have over the course of the years asked myself, “Why do people think this?” Is it because I brag, I asked myself? No! And just in case my own outlook of myself blinded me, I asked countless people that I know and they too said, No. I also asked, am I flashy, am I brand crazy, again a resounding, No.
Then just a couple of weeks ago, I heard again, “Are you rich and you’re just not sharing?” He was not smiling, he was very serious and at that moment I was inundated with all the times that people have said/insinuated/asked, this very same question.
My answer, “No,” but something told me that ‘No’ wasn’t entirely true. I went back and forth about this trying for the life of me to get the answer that I have been searching for, “What is it that I am giving off that gives off this impression?”
The answer is, “Yes, I am rich!” not by the worlds standards of having in hands or in my bank account more money than I can spend, but rich in that, I have a belief that it’s obtainable. I’ve experienced it and it’s called Freedom. You see I know my worth and I am not a stranger to abundance. Let me add that this same person followed that question with, “Can you afford to lose your job?” I hesitated, “Well, it’s not a matter of if I can afford to lose my job, I would rather not.” I respect contracts. Now to answer ‘can I afford to lose my job’, hmm, I have no problem with finding opportunities. So, if it is a matter of affordability, then the answer is, yes.
I have chosen to set boundaries when I signed the contract to sell my skills at a set wage for 7 hours daily, Monday – Friday, to Corporate America. Working 10-hour days is possible and strictly voluntary, right? Yes, the compensation is great, but it doesn’t add up for me. Being rich is much more than money, I think of freedom too.
There was a time when I was unable to express my want for freedom because I didn’t know what I was feeling. I just knew I felt restricted, that I seemed stuck in my life. I was preoccupied with what was expected of me. I had bills, some even overdue, but I knew that they would get paid. My pain was overwhelming because I didn’t feel free to do what made me happy.
The closest thing to freedom that I have heard defined is what Oprah Winfrey quoted from Toni Morrison’s Beloved, “To wake at dawn and decide what to do with your day.” That’s freedom. The more I experience it, the more I crave it. I have been blessed to have experienced freedom. I know freedom when I encounter it. I am reminded of a day last year when I felt like I had the wings of an eagle. That day was filled with the elements that equate to freedom for me: The feeding of the mind, the body & the soul. The morning started with a group yoga session. In the afternoon I went to VeganFest. Then the evening ended with the viewing and Q&A of ‘The Black Panthers: Vanguards of the Revolution’. I was so filled up full.
To actively take up the charge to make sure you a filled up full daily, Mind, Body & Soul, is a blessing that’s worth more than a per hour wage. I try to make this my religion daily. I challenge you to try to hit these points as often as possible. I have no problem with supporting my employer’s mission, but I need to clock as many hours of flight time as possible. I won’t put off being free until 60 or 70, whatever the retirement age is these days. Now is all I have and Freedom is what I chose today. I hope for you the same!