Posted on / by Natalie / in Season 1 / 5 comments

Is Freedom Really Free?

For the longest time I’ve been obsessed with freedom. Freedom is my main mission in life, or has been for the greater part of the 7 years.

But recently, I’ve been realizing that my hunt for understanding, defining and having freedom may be completely off track.

And that’s a huge revelation to have when you’ve named your new podcast Quest for Freedom, and you think you have all the freedom in the world right?

Several weeks ago I saw my friend Conni Biesalski post an update on Facebook about attending Tony Robbin’s Date with Destiny.

Conni is the Founder of Planetbackpack, has written a book, is a bit of a YouTube star and believes in…

  • holistic lifestyle design
  • slow travel as a spiritual experience
  • connecting with our bodies and souls through healthy clean eating, meditation and yoga
  • opening our hearts through healing and connecting to ourselves

So on her Facebook update she wrote:

Life will never be the same again. 6 days with Tony Robbins in Florida and I feel like the greatest transformation of my life just happened. So powerful, so deep, so incredibly healing. I have finally let go of my story and am starting a new one. Amazing miracles happened in these days, things I never thought possible. Everything feels wide open, just like in this photo that I took on the beach on the last morning. Infinite gratitude and love in my heart. This is Life 2.0.

Now incidentally, at the start of this year I decided to invest in myself for the first time in a loooongg time and take up a Mastery Program through the Tony Robbins Institute.

I’m heading to Unleash the Power event in London at the end of April. If you want to join me there are still tickets. Head to nataliesisson.com/tony and grab one.

If you don’t know who he is, in a nutshell he’s the Worlds No #1 Personal Development Master who’s worked with presidents, Oprah Winfrey. His documentary “I am not your Guru” is a great insight into how he works.

I first read his book Awaken the Giant Within back in 2004 when I was training for body-sculpting competition, and that year, in big part thanks to reading his books and listening to his audio series, I had one of the most amazing years of my life.

I felt like I could achieve anything I put my mind to. And that year in particular I did – I won the Regional North Island Body Sculpting Championships, I got a kick ass job, and I completed my Certificate in Fitness Management Diploma extramurally through Otago University.

I was unstoppable, and aside from neglecting my personal relationship with my then boyfriend…ooops, everything else in life was going amazing.

So back to my Facebook chat with Conni mid December, which went like this:

Me: Well that answers my question to what did you get out of it. Sending a big virtual hug of Freedom  your way to go with your transformation

Conni: You know what’s funny.. freedom was always so high on my values list.. in the process of DwD I kicked freedom off my list. After having questioned it and looked at what it costs me, I realised this intense strive for it has out-served me. I now feel freer than ever not having freedom as my main driver anymore. Crazy!!

Natalie:  Oooh I think I’ll need to jump on a chat with you about that for my new podcast starting in the new year:

And so we did. And here it is.

Yup, it was this epiphany during “Date with Destiny” with Tony Robbins in December and he was talking about freedom and how he one day started to question his quest for freedom that he was following his whole life and he was telling this long story.

In the end it was…..he said that once he questioned his search for freedom, it was that he realized that he can stop looking for freedom and feel a lot freer.

I thought about this for days and weeks after that and then eventually it hit me.

I was like, “Wow!”. I’ve been looking for freedom, I’ve been searching for freedom my entire life. It’s been my main mission with whatever I do, wherever I go.

It’s always like how much freedom will this give me? How much freedom will I have? It dictated the way I do business. It dictated my travels. It dictated my personal life and my relationships.

It was always about freedom, freedom, freedom.

And then I realized actually by constantly being on this path to freedom, it’s like judging everything by how much freedom it would give me and them I’m actually free.

I kind of trapped myself into thinking that by constantly striving for freedom, that that would make me free and so then I had this epiphany and I realized, “Wow I can let it go”.

Now when Connie said this I was nodding my head in fervent agreement. I realized I’d come to exactly the same conclusion. If I’m constantly pursuing freedom, in some ways I’m a slave to it….how’s that for a mindbending thought?

What she said next though blew me away.

I can actually, because with “Date of Destiny”, what you do is you come up with a list of values in your life that are really important to you and then you kind of revise them and go through the whole six day process so then at the end you come up with a new list of values.

And it’s kind of like a new blueprint. You can upgrade your entire inner system.

Freedom was obviously number one, next to love, and all these things on my first value list. And then at the end, freedom was not on my list anymore!

It wasn’t needed anymore, and that was for me so huge because I could kind of let that go and realize I am so free, like the life that I have it’s already so free.

I don’t need to measure freedom anymore, I can stop it.

Like I can do whatever I want, I’ve achieved so many things and so on the outside, I’ve completely achieved freedom.

And then obviously there’s this other level of freedom and that was another tough process and integration process and it was the comparison between outer freedom and inner freedom.

And so I realized, “Wow, I’ve got all this outer freedom, there’s no need to keep on striving for that, no one can take that away from me.

But how free am I on the inside?”.

And this is a great question. In fact this is at the core of The Quest for Freedom Podcast, and Season 1 as I come to grips with what IS personal freedom really?

Let me know what you think about this. What your version of freedom is? Whether you think real freedom is all about inner freedom.

What Connie goes on to say next may resonate with you too. Especially if you’ve ever been in a place like her.  I know I have and I speak to that too.

So this has become my message with what I do really, what is the essence of freedom and how can we go beyond the outer freedom of lifestyle design, doing what we want, and having passive income?

And then going to the next level of, “Okay, maybe I have a lot of shadow work to do to kind of free myself.”

And then to actually be able to enjoy the outer freedom in the first place because I realized after like a year ago, even I was at a very depressed place in my life.

I was doing really bad, like emotionally in all levels. It was one of those times where you kind of question everything. And you don’t see a purpose for yourself in life, like I didn’t have a mission anymore and everything was going well on the outside but on the inside I was super unhappy.

I was depressed. I couldn’t appreciate anything I had.

I was sitting in Bali in this amazing villa with pool and you know, life could not have been better on the outside but on the inside it was a trainwreck. So yes that was the next level and then for me to now realize, “Okay, wow!” So there is this whole freedom thing, it’s way more than we might initially think it is.

 


So what Conni said next I could absolutely resonate with as it’s something I’ve been recognizing in myself.

In all these years of traveling the world and wanting to be free, I’ve shied away from locking in full on plans, or committing too far out, or saying I’ll definitely turn up to a place, or even to interviews and appointments.

Now, if there’s one person who knows me well, I’d like to think it’s myself, and that behaviour, that’s just not really me.

Don’t get me wrong I fully commit to the projects I take on and and my peeps – for example the Write the Damn Book Freedom Lab I’m running, I turn up to every single live session we do multiple times a week to write our damn books and deliver on my promise of the expert interviews and lessons.

But anything that’s not driven or led by me I’ve been shying away from over the years.

In part I know that’s because I’ve had to take a step back and reserve my time and energy to make sure I can give it to the right people – my family, friends and community.

But some of this lack of desire to commit has definitely affected how I live, and my approach to relationships. Here’s what Conni had to say:

Yeah, it’s funny so I can commit to things now a lot more. I feel like I can make plans better. I don’t feel pressured, because usually before I would really shy away from making plans, people putting me down in a certain date to do something even if it was only a few weeks away and that was a real issue.

And I realized that if I don’t commit to things in life, then how can I attract people like that..

Because that’s been my issue. I would attract people that also can’t commit and that would make my life very difficult in relationships, in friendships and you know, all these areas.

And so I realized if I can’t commit how am I ever going to attract more reliable people into my life. So anyway, I just realized that I can actually, I can commit to plans and I feel comfortable doing so.

It’s kind of nice. It also like, right now, I am in a place for three months and I feel awesome. I really don’t feel like moving around much right now.

I have a daily routine. I have a wonderful life in California. I am just really enjoying being creative and being in one place.

I don’t have this urge to keep moving and keep moving, I feel like I’m such a inner peaceful place with myself at the moment that there’s no need to change that or to distract myself or to kind of not feel something.

Because a lot of times I would travel or I would do all these crazy things because I would then want to feel something and so I went out and I don’t know, bought the next plane ticket or I went out, whatever you do, or you look for love maybe in the wrong places and so because you know, there is something we don’t want to feel.

So I am in a point where I really have much better access to my own feelings, into what is going on inside of me.

I have a very regular meditation practice now, way more now especially since Tony Robbins just because I realized how important it is to check in with my feelings everyday and to gauge where I am at.

PS I covered off on meditation and even included a mini one in this Season’s second episode called Mind Your Mindfulness.

Back to Conni:

And generally I mean if I look back to now about a year ago, or a bit longer, and then where I am today it’s really like back then I was doing the 4-hour Workweek.

I was doing surfing all day, going to yoga and reading, and hanging out with people and literally just like doing the 4 hour thing and barely sitting at my laptop, barely doing anything, not being creative, not creating anything really.

It was all, business was automated and so after awhile I just realized and I was getting depressed and I also realized eventually,

“Wow I am not contributing to this world. I am not growing. I am not giving people anything. I am not helping people.”

It was like this spiral downwards and I realized just how important it is to really have something in life where you feel like you are contributing and changing the world, I think that’s kind of what I need maybe.

And so now everyday I wake up in the morning, I can’t wait to get out of bed and start creating or learn stuff. There’s so much enthusiasm and ambition there and mostly because I found things and ways to contribute again and to help other people and inspire other people and that in its health is a well of fulfillment.

Thanks Conni, for providing such a beautiful segway into exactly how I’ve been feeling lately too.

And by lately, if I’m really honest about it, I mean for the last 18 months.

I was reading a blog post I’d written called ‘Why my 9 day digital sabbatical in Samoa transformed my life’.  I did this trip with my Dad in October 2014 and it was magical.

Yet as I read back over this post, for research for my upcoming book, I took note that I talk about falling a little out of love with my business, and not feeling as if the work I’m doing is as meaningful as it could be.

I was frankly surprised I wrote this back then. And that I’ve been talking about it since then. And that in September 2016 I finally said “That’s it. I’m going to take a break from my business. And that that is finally happening this April 2017.

I mean, that’s a lot of talking about it and not doing right? Which is kind of my jam. I’m an action taker. Normally I just DO.

So clearly this has been a long-time coming decision to make and act upon.

And I guess giving up on everything you’ve worked so hard for, to take a short break, isn’t a decision to be taken so lightly.

But for the last two weeks my decision has been well and truly validated by two amazing events I attended.

New Frontiers and the Enspiral Summerfest where I met some of the smartest, most innovative, world changing changemakers from around the world.

My mind was expanded upon belief. My heart was filled with passion and joy for which of these areas I could throw myself into and how I could help to be part of the change and the solution.

Here’s just a sneak peek into what I’ll share with you in the next episode, and a glimpse into the kind of speakers I heard from and met.  This is Dr Catlin Powers, co-founder and CEO of One Earth Designs, which she has led from its humble beginnings in the Himalayas to reach customers on six continents.….

 

Intrigued? I’ve got so much more from where that came from, and better sounding audio too. So tune in to the next episode by subscribing in your favourite podcast player to Quest for Freedom.

Leave your comment on what inner freedom means to you, or to simply discuss anything that’s resonated with you in this episode.

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Comments

comments

5 thoughts

  • Great food for thought… Especially as I am moving into self-employment in just 3 weeks after 6+ years of dreaming about it! My only question is, where’s the chicken and broccoli picture you said you’d post 🙂
    Natalie, you’ve been a huge inspiration to me, thank you so much!!

    • Ha ha I think I said I’d post a picture of my bodysculpting as proof, never did take a photo of the food. This was pre Instagram days you know 🙂

  • Hi Natalie. Interesting stuff, indeed. I’m a few years ahead of you and have come to realise that everything (our energy and attention) comes round in different phases. On a personal level, I think that freedom means not having to be dependent on anyone or anything for our choices. That’s it. Choice. Not having to take the bull from a manager/bad partner/fill in the blank… and having the financial means to do so. (Note this doesn’t mean being ‘rich’).

    After my 20 year marriage disolved in 2004, I was 42. I went a little bit loopy. I went on holiday to Turkey and spent some of my small settlement on a cheap apartment. It was to be my bolt hole. People thought I was crazy. There was none of this ‘Freedom Lifestyle’ movement at that time, it was just an inner drive to DO it before I got too old. I trained as an EFL teacher so I could finance myself and moved here. it hasn’t been a bed of roses as people seem to think it is on the outside; living by the sea in a beuatiful holiday town I think people think I’m sipping cocktails all day… but I have had some great experiences. (I met a new man, re-married, and we owned a small yacht for a year). We just spent some time in the UAE where I was teaching. The bolt-hole is our permanent home.

    I’ve now quit the teaching and have a lot of time and am feeling there can be ‘too much’ freedom. I resonate with your friend Connie in that I do not feel I am giving in any way, I have become a rolling stone and cannot make commitments. My main goal has been to remain connected to my family even though I’m not in the same country. (Ironically, 2 sons have foreign born wives and the other 2 are living in different parts of the world). But I have settled here and this IS our way of life.

    What I am looking for now is a way to sustain this through working for myself, which is the hardest part. Finding the effort to push the ball down the hill to get it rolling again. I can’t legally work where I live so I’m in an odd position of not being employed/unemployed/retired but still need an income. This is the other side of ‘freedom’.

    Anyway, enjoyed your podcast. It’s ok to sit still for a bit and process things. It’s not a permanent condition and I’m sure you’ll be back into DOing mode again after your sabbatical. Enjoy the present.

    • Great story Melanie and thank you for sharing. Perhaps it will end up in my next book, with your permission. I do believe there can be too much freedom for sure so I wish you luck on the next stage of your journey and discovering the right work and life balance for you that satiates your appetite and makes life even more fulfilling.

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