Four Ways to Be Free

What does it mean to be free? Images of flags, military men, and sparklers amongst others come up for me. But freedom and it's loss can be subtle. In a modern age how do we fight in the war against our attention, power, and ultimately our freedom?

1. Garden. Suggested to me by authors and professors over the years as a means to participate less in the less than moral side of the global economy. Gardening cuts you off from the grocery store chain; a place designed to make you spend more, eat more, and waste more time. It helps you really see and feel the effort and time and resources put into a singular food item. Gardening is not only a great cultivator of produce but of gratitude. It also revolutionary.

2. Avoid ads. Did you know companies hijack and capitalize on attention? We see more ads today than we ever have before. Our clothes, phones, laptops, freeways, stores, and virtually all of our public and private space are constantly trying to get us to buy a product or mind space. Avoiding ads help us focus; on connecting with ourselves, on making genuine connections with others (especially friends and loved ones), and on nothing. They free our brains of busyness so we can harness the power of meditation.

3. Visit or Sell at a Farmer's Market. Sure, there is some aspect of economy at a farmer's market. You have a product that you trade people for monetary value. But it is up to you to participate. You are the proprietor and can decide for each and every transaction how much you are willing to give and receive. You are also a direct link between the producer and the consumer. And probably most exciting is the ability to bypass the monetary system and operate in the bartering one. Making trades creates relationships and a diversity of assets in a more human way than simply purchasing the same items from a company.

4. Make art. Write. Draw. Sculpt. Dance. Do whatever you can to create something in a space that no one else can touch. Paper notebooks are the ultimate space to write a curse word, draw a dirty picture, or whatever else you need to get out of your mind without judgement. You own that space. In a way that transcends the attention grab-bag that is social media.