Aquí teniu el post en Català.
The featured photo for this post shows the Catalan independence flag, and the graffiti message refers to the longstanding fight to make Catalonia a free, independent state within Europe. This website and this post is not meant to be a political instrument for any party or ideology. The actual words painted on the wall are what caught our attention and warrant deeper personal reflection.
“Qui no es mou, no sent les cadenes.”
“Those that don’t move, don’t feel the chains.”
There are many chains that bind us. This piece of street art, found on a wall in a park in Barcelona, reminds us of how true that is.
We’re bound to our families, our work, our cities, our countries, our value systems and the direction in which we hope life takes us. But if we do not move, we do not feel these chains. We may not even notice them, or even think of them as chains. Eventually, they become part of who we are, and sometimes it’s easier to ignore them or deny that they exist. As Joan Barril, a well-known Catalan radio broadcaster who passed away in 2014, once said, “Too many times we prefer the comfortable security of the shackles or handcuffs to the risk of freedom by ourselves.”
While the chains may be soft ones that keep us in check with our responsibilities, others are iron locks suppressing us. If we look at ourselves in a mirror and ask, “What is holding me back,” an honest, sincere answer may reveal some of these figurative manacles. If we’re bold enough, we’ll invent ways to unlock the ones that curb our independence.
Over the last several months, the two of us have had long, hard talks about the things impeding us. They are the typical limitations outlined by work and family obligations, economic insecurity and lack of creative motivation. Our Bangkok-Barcelona trip is the outward intention of how we hope to get ourselves unstuck and carve out a brave, new way of being. We hope it paves a different kind of freedom for us.
Since today is a special day in Catalan history (and is poised to become a day to remember for its future), we’re using this post to encourage people to move a bit and feel the chains, or at least identify them. Doing so is the first step towards self-liberation.
The first steps for any life-changing situation are always hard. They could be fraught with complications, difficulties, excuses, overwhelm and discomfort.
But you have to start somewhere. So maybe the first step is to simply wonder what chains hamper you from feeling freer and happier. We’re not saying you should ignore your obligations and commitments, engage in reckless activities or jump blindly without a parachute. Instead, we’re saying, do what we did. Move yourself a bit and feel the chains. Then do something, true to you, that will help lessen the weight of that chain.
Here is a partial list of things that helped us label our chains and start separating from them. It’s a constant work in progress, and who knows if we’ll ever truly be freer, but we’re trying, one step at a time, one lock at a time.
- If you work in a company where integrity is lacking, material wealth supersedes everything else and corporate norms dictate that people steal, cheat and lie their way into earning megabucks, feel that chain and find a way to unchain yourself.
- If you work in place that is damaging the world or leaves your self-respect in rubble, feel that chain and find a way to unchain yourself.
- If you are in a personal situation that does not make you happy and is destroying your health, feel that chain and find a way to unchain yourself.
- If you are doing things to keep up appearances for the group or for society and are constantly worried about what people will think about you, feel that chain and find a way to unchain yourself.
- If you followed the dictates imposed by a consumer-centric, capitalistic world and this is not the way of life that best suits you or brings you true joy, feel that chain and find a way to unchain yourself.
- If you have debt and feel the pressure to keep acquiring material goods that put you in more debt, feel that chain and find a way to unchain yourself.
- If you feel the drudgery of everyday life or inertia and lethargy have robbed your creativity, motivation or enthusiasm, feel that chain and find a way to unchain yourself.
- If you live in a country where your freedoms, culture, history, business or identity is frequently threatened, attacked or repressed, feel that chain and find a way to unchain yourself.
Life is too short and too beautiful to stayed chained. So, go ahead. Move a bit. Feel what holds you back. See whether it’s crushing your happiness or keeping you grounded in a chaotic world. Leave behind the chains that don’t serve you any more. Step into the change waiting for you.