Day 31. Nelson Mandela reminds us of freedom during lockdown

Freedom during lockdown’ sounds like a contradictory topic. We do however need to take a closer look at ‘freedom’ for we sometimes only value and understand something, when it’s taken from us.  

How fragile is our freedom?

We have suddenly come to realise how fragile a basic human right like ‘freedom’ is. Suddenly, without any warning, the world is in lockdown because of an unseen foe, a virus.  This virus threatens to not only to take away our freedom, but life itself.

People, businesses, governments even countries were caught unaware.  They had to restrict the freedom of movement of the people, the freedom to do business, the freedom to have social contact, etc, in order to save lives.

The question is: How fragile is our ‘freedom’?

Once again, Nelson Mandela[i] reminds us of the importance of ‘freedom’.

Nelson Mandela and the importance of freedom

Nelson Mandela spent nearly 28 years in prison because he fought for freedom.  He fought for a basic human right.

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which  I am prepared to die.”
Nelson Mandela

However, freedom is not just the opportunity to move about freely. Freedom goes much deeper than that.

What is freedom?

Freedom is the ability to freely express the real you – our real-me, authentic self. Freedom is to have the power of self-expression, without hindrance, restraint or condemnation.

We find freedom on four levels: Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual freedom. There is power in freedom.

By taking away someone’s freedom, you also take away their power of choice. By taking away someone’s power, you also take away their freedom and ability to choose.

Freedom and responsibility

Freedom is the capacity to exercise personal power. We have a personal choice – we have free-will. This includes the freedom to stand up and fill our own unique space without hinderance. It also includes unrestricted movement, with full access to all resources while enjoying all the privileges and human rights available.

However, and at the same time, freedom includes personal responsibility and taking ownership of the ways and means of expressing the self. We are never free from responsibility – we are free within responsibility. Only responsible people can truly be free. About this, Madiba said:

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Nelson Mandela

Currently, responsible people all over the world are opting for lockdown in order to beat the Corona-virus pandemic. Although laws are issued by governments, it still takes responsible people who choose to adhere to these laws, to make this work.

Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand.

Kinds of freedom

We need to be free physically, emotionally mentally and spiritually in order to be truly free. Freedom is not something – its someone. You say. ‘I am free’.

Nelson Mandela knew that emotional freedom was just as important as physical freedom. He said:

 “I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”              Nelson Mandela

Freedom also includes the ability to make mistakes. Mahatma Gandhi said:

 “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes”

How to stay free

In order to stay free, you need to protect your personal power and your right to real-me, authentic self-expression.[ii] You must learn to be vigilant, as power-mongers will want to take your power from you. Intimidation, manipulation dictation and physical, emotional and even financial abuse, are all forms of power games and wanting to take your power. If you are in such a situation, don’t give in. Set yourself free. Get help….

Beware and remember, all prisons don’t look the same.

Identify your ‘prison’

There are many people who have lost their freedom – and given their personal power away.

Just think of those who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, over-eating, over-work or any other additive behaviors. Then these are people who have terminal illnesses, people in hospital or imprisoned in a wheelchair. Think of those who are currently in jail.

Just think of all the people who are living under the domination and dictation of a religious dogma, government laws and/or social programming. Imagine all the discrimination and/or condemnation and restrictions placed on women, homosexuality, ethnic groups, color and race. This is currently going on, although it is unnatural and goes against a basic human right – the human right to be free.

Just think of people who are caught up in meaningless jobs or who are sitting around doing nothing and are even bored with retirement. Imagine abusive people imprisoning their partners in a marriage. Just think of the pain and desperation of being stuck in a dysfunctional relationship. Imagine what it must be like for children imprisoned in a dysfunctional family.

 This is where we find the real disasters. Remember, only you can set yourself free.    

Value your freedom

Although lockdown is not going to last forever – your freedom can.

Value your freedom:

  • Value your freedom to think freely and to express your thoughts freely. Value your freedom to learn.  
  • Value your emotional freedom to feel the feelings you have and to grow emotionally and change for the better.
  • Value your physical freedom and the ability move around freely. Value your health.  
  • Value your spiritual freedom and the ability to free your soul.

You can only be truly happy when you can say – ‘I am truly free’.

See lockdown as an opportunity

The Corona-virus lockdown time is giving us the opportunity to value and appreciate our freedom.

During this lockdown time you can take back your power from anything or anybody you’ve invested your time and energy in and who are holding you back – even holding you hostage. You will know who or what because you feel trapped, imprisoned, disempowered and surely, unloved and disrespected.

These are abusive circumstances. Lockdown time is a time you can set yourself free.

Don’t miss the opportunity.

To do list

Here are a few ideas to help you on this path:

  • Value your freedom
  • Can you say: I am free to express my real-me self without any negative consequences?
  • Are you emotionally free? Have you overcome depression and negativity?
  • Can you freely think for yourself?
  • Are you physically free? Are you healthy enough to move about?
  • Are you spiritually free? Can you express your deepest soul needs, calling, meaning and purpose?  Do you bring the Light?
  • Can you love and be loved?
  • Can you liberate yourself from downpressing and abusive circumstances?
  • Contact us if you need any assistance
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Stay safe – stay connected

Brenda Hattingh

[i] Mandela, Nelson, R. (1994). Illustrated. The long walk to freedom. The            

          Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Little, Brown & Company: London.

     Hattingh, Brenda. (2014). Sevens steps to securing the Madiba Magic in life and 

          leadership. Currency Communications (Pty. Ltd.); Johannesburg.

[ii]   Hattingh, B. (2013). Power Tools for Power People. Jhb: Currency communications.