I have a favourite walk that I take with our pup, Florence. It's a loop through a beautiful wetland near to our house. The scenery is just one reason I love to go there - it's also one of the few places I can let Florence off her lead without fear of her disappearing.
We reach the grassy bank and I unclip her lead. For a brief moment Florence looks up at me as if asking my permission. And then she is off. Galloping. She runs with such a fervour it makes you want to run and dance after her. She zig-zags and circles, not interested in stopping to sniff... only wanting to run and jump. When she is running she embodies joy, I swear she looks so happy I almost expect her to yell 'woo hoooo!'. As she whizzes around feeling the wind in her fur, she is an absolute joy to watch.
For Florence, this is freedom.
Almost every weekend, when I was little, my parents would pack us into the car for a road trip. We'd set off early and get back later the same day, sleepy and content. There are few parts of the UK I haven't seen. From the lakes and mountains of Cumbria to the chocolate-box villages of the Cotswolds.
I was 8, maybe 9, and standing amongst the sunshine-yellow gorse bushes of the North York Moors. Looking out over the expanse of green and feeling the wind whip my hair, I declared that I couldn't wait until the day I was old enough to choose my own adventures. To roam without supervision. To explore. My parents smiled at each other knowingly.
To me, that was freedom.
Freedom still lies in choosing my own adventure.
It's setting my own schedule, doing more of the things that light me up and less of the things that don't. It's deep conversation and laughter with my man. It's writing and sharing and teaching and learning. It's allowing myself to live and work from that place of pure creativity and truth.
It's accepting myself for all that I am, right here and now. Forgiveness, self-compassion.
It's making the choice. Daily, repeatedly.
For me, this is freedom.
What does freedom mean to you?