Freedom.  There is this fairly-tale of a girl who grew up very poor. She was so poor she could not afford shoes, but she longed for a red pair. When a rich woman adopted her it was the first thing she asked for. So she wore them every day and everywhere, even slept in it. Then one day the shoes started dancing of their own accord, with her feet inside it. At first it was fun, but soon she realised she couldn’t stop. She had no control, and even holding on to a foot to still it, it would keep on dancing in mid-air by itself. Try as she might, she could not pry the shoes off her feet. For miles and miles she danced, and the day became night and the night became day again, until she became so exhausted that she asked a lumberjack to cut off both her feet. And she remained a crippled as long for as she lived.

The moral of this story is when we have been deprived of something, we try and make up for it by going overboard. The girl grew up very poor and had no shoes, and when a rich woman adopted her, in stead of just an ordinary, sensible pair of shoes, she chose – against the rich woman’s orders – the red pair. But with it came the danger. That which was so desirable before, became a curse.

See, “ordinary” and “sensible” is not what we want to do when we have found a new-found freedom. We want to celebrate, go wild, go all out. The girl grew up deprived of life’s pleasures and luxuries, and along with the rich woman came a sense of freedom; she was no longer entrapped in poverty. But at a price. A price so big that she chose to sacrifice her own two feet for it.

This is the pendulum-effect. Life has a way of naturally restoring equilibrium. It can mould us, like a sculptor moulds his clay. People can pull and circumstances can push us into directions, and life can force us to where we are meant to be, but it remains a constant battle, a shoving and pushing. With casualties. If we let it flow freely, it becomes easy.

But I know! It’s hard! As a free, empowered woman, I want to “go for it”, not be worried about “going overboard”. I want to push the boundaries, celebrate and not having to deal with consequences!

And that is where we often misinterpret freedom. Freedom is not about having no boundaries or rules or limitations. Neither is it being free of responsibility…in fact with freedom comes more responsibility; no one or nothing to blame for anything!

It is knowing what those boundaries are and what the purpose of those boundaries are. Some boundaries may be necessary – to interact with others, to understand, to get things done. Some boundaries may be placed upon us by others (or we might perceive it as such), like social do’s and don’t, or others’ insecurities. These may not always have a place. But the ones you place upon yourself..those undeserving, unnecessary untruths…those are really dangerous! If they’re outdated, false, or limiting your potential, throw them out! Let life flow freely and restore your own pendulum.

And then get those red shoes!