What Is Freedom?

Entry by: Alobear

7th April 2021
My mind is a ship, sailing on the open sea. It is surrounded by boundless opportunities, but subject to the whim of the weather and the waves. The endless sky stretches above and the bottomless depths hide potential threats that could rise from below to engulf my fragile vessel and cause it to sink without trace.

The captain is a giant bear in a pirate hat. He is my inner mentor, keeping the rudder steady and helping me stay afloat upon sometimes rocky seas. He is always available for massive 'bear' hugs (oh yes!) and unconditional support to help my emotional equilibrium.

Another figure who can often be seen walking the decks is Detail-Oriented Debbie, with her clicking heels (impractical at sea), her pencil skirt (no use for climbing the rigging) and her ever-present clipboard. She is the keeper of the to-do list (or lists, as there are several). She always knows what's next, what's important, what's necessary and what can be left to slide (though she hates admitting this is even a possibility). Debbie wants to protect me from chaos and uncertainty but she often strays into adding to my sense of pressure and overwhelm with her insistence on always keeping to a strict schedule.

But I've started having team meetings with Captain Bear and Debbie in attendance. I give them both the opportunity to air any issues they want to raise (I am the notetaker, free-writing my way through meeting minutes) and to offer their views on any problems we are facing. Debbie has recently been persuaded that letting go of the to-do list is something that can actually help my productivity. And Captain Bear is always there to help me (and Debbie) feel valued and safe.

Below decks, the subconscious crew beaver away at tasks that stay out of sight (and out of mind) until they are ready to be presented. I give them assignments sometimes, asking them to work at a particular problem or question and come back to me with ideas at a specific day and time. It's taken a while to train them properly. Early on, they would often either forget about the assignment altogether, or wake me up at 3am desperate to share their ideas. But now they are mostly a well-oiled machine, only coming to me at the appropriate time and regularly exceeding my expectations with their results.

Sometimes it's quite crowded in my head! But it's never boring, and I get a huge sense of freedom and satisfaction from knowing that all the members of my crew are working hard on my behalf and can be relied upon to come up with the goods to help me through the day when I need them.