Monday, September 14, 2009

Freedom


The idea of freedom is one that draws many people to polyamory. The freedom to be open to connecting with others, to experience new and exciting facets of one's personality, to be sexual, to be loving, to explore.

If you ask children what they are looking forward to about being an adult, the answer is likely to involve the idea of freedom, as they see it. That usually looks something like, "People give you money, and you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, and no one tells you what to do." At this point, there is typically laughter and rueful eye-rolling on the part of the adults in the room. Just wait until they find out the realities!

The thing is that some people see freedom within poly very similarly. All the privileges, none of the responsibility. Everyone does whatever they want without regard to others, because we are all individuals answerable to no one but ourselves.

While the underlying idea that we are all ultimately answerable to ourselves has merit, the concept of our actions not impacting others, positively or negatively, is crap. Even in poly systems that are largely independent (no shared practical responsibilities or obligations), each person is connected to those they care for. When one piece of the circle is doing well, it brings things up for the others. Likewise, when one piece is struggling, there's some bracing that is done to maintain position that requires additional effort, or downward inertia sets in.

Pare your needs down the the essential components. This allows the maximal range of "freedom", for yourself and your partner(s). When you can articulate the minimal effective effort needed, it clears out the extraneous stuff that has been pulling energy, much in the way that an appliance that is plugged in, even while not turned on, uses electricity.

"Go Green." in your emotional landscape. Find ways to have lush surroundings that need less water to maintain. By all means, if you have the extra moisture to give, go ahead and add to the landscape, but remember that plants die of over-watering as well as under-watering. Perhaps in your partner selection process you can look at cacti. ;)

Freedom is a word that has different meanings to each of us. For me, a piece of freedom is shared responsibility. I feel less tied down when I am not the only one responsible for something. For others, freedom means less communication, not sharing responsibility with others, or not being accountable to outside parties.

Going through the process to discover the core of what you NEED to feel free, which can be pretty different than what you WANT, takes some pretty significant effort and self-awareness. Self-deception is flat out. In the end, you may find you have more to give, or less, than you thought at the beginning. This is stuff that is worth knowing, so make the effort to discover your personal truth. Let freedom ring.
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