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  • Writer's pictureCollette Ordano-Saunders

A Sailor and A Cowgirl

Updated: Oct 8, 2023

“The divine plan in one of freedom; bondage is not ‘God-ordained’. Freedom is the birthright of very living soul. All instinctively feel this.”

~ Ernest Holmes

I have never been much for fitting in…. Well, let me rephrase that… I have had my fair share of times and places throughout life where I have tried to fit in….


I recall attempting to ‘keep up’ with my wild, and very physically capable big brother, for instance. As I attempted outrageous ‘young boy’ feats of climbing, jumping, riding and falling, I’m sure that was ‘fitting in’.


Fast forward some years to a full swing the other way, and there I was trying on being a teenager who attempted to do her hair the ways the magazines showed, or who dated the guy my friends wanted me to date, or… various other teenage activities that were undertaken to ‘fit in’.


So, absolutely! I have experimented with ways of being, and I am not above the core need to ‘fit in’. Belonging is hardwired into us. But… I have always been called back to being myself. That ‘voice’, that pull, is a strong one that seems to outweigh or out rank the voice of ‘being like anyone else’.


The truth is, I have always been driven by freedom. The freedom to be one’s self fully… the freedom to live open, wide and fully expressive is a thing of beautiful magic to me. “Dance like no one is watching”, the saying goes, but I say, also dance even when people are watching, and unabashedly bust a move!


The humble and disciplined part of me checks in regularly with myself to see what I am motivated by. Am I ‘trying to be seen’, in a ‘spotlight’ sort of way?…Heck no! Am I dancing my way into an unbalanced, irresponsible place?… Definitely not. (“Responsible” is my middle name…sometimes to a fault… arg). As I reflect, and check all of my ‘managerial’ tick boxes, I find myself continuously encountering the grounded part of myself that says, “I want to be free!” I shout it from the roof tops. I spread my arms wide, as I marvel at the view on a mountain peak. I let a coastal storm rip through my bones. I sing and love my heart out. I try my darnedest to explore the outer wilderness and the inner wilderness, without ceasing…. All for this feeling of freedom.

Checking the dictionary, I learn that freedom means, “the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants, without hinderance or restraint.” This is often thought of in a context of hindrance or restraint from the outside. (Which, at times can be very true for many people, everywhere). I also challenge myself to see the way in which hinderance or restraint is happening from the inside. I wonder if you can feel it too?


I work with people, everyday, who uncover this in themselves. Our stories can be so simple, and yet they are often so hard to see. Awareness of them can take us from thoughts like, “yeah but my back hurts because of all the heavy lifting I have to do at work, and I cannot change that”… to, “ok, I asked for help with the lifting, and it turns out that my boss is needing a different position filled that I wasn’t aware of… and they offered it to me because I spoke up about my back… and the two scenarios fit perfectly together… who knew?!”


For me, caring so deeply about the state of humans and the Earth, and focusing on all the things I deemed to be issues, once upon a time had me sinking into the overwhelming feelings of despair and frustration. Now, I know who I am and why that care is my passion. Now, I know where I want to direct that energy within me, and now it leads me to feel fulfillment in being the “campaigner” that I am. Now, it fuels me instead of draining me… all because of a shift in my sense of ‘freedom on the inside’.


The seed of freedom must be planted in the innermost being of man, but man must make the great discovery for himself.” ~ Ernest Holmes


Once upon a time, I thought I would find my freedom by running away from my family, or changing where I worked, or choosing my career path, or chaining myself to an old growth tree, or countless other ways in which I was only focused on changing the outside circumstances of my life. Present day, I still do all those things, if and when they feel like necessary choices that I am called toward (because following my inner compass is crucial). At the same time, however, I know that I find my true freedom within.


That true freedom comes when I set myself free. That freedom is freedom from self-limiting thoughts. It is freedom from allowing old conditioning to run the show. It is the freedom to explore my own conscious awareness. It is the freedom to experiment with life without worrying about mistakes. I am Free to be me.

I know so many unique and brilliant people. Everywhere I turn, I see the creative impulses of others. Walking along the seawalk, I see small and giant creatures made from random pieces of driftwood, and I am amazed at how someone saw that potential and held that in their mind. At a seller’s stand, I found a book that a woman wrote all about broccoli… it was an homage to broccoli, (one of my favourite veggies)….a whole book! Then there was the time I encountered, down the road, the lovely mom who is a chocolatier… she ventured to make a chocolate look like half of an avocado, and she asked my opinion on the sidewalk about her attempt.


There are so many examples: The first people who rode much less advanced bicycles off of rock bluffs and drops to see if they could push the boundaries of a sport, and create something new. A girlfriend of mine who literally designs dances in her daydreams, and then makes them manifest in the studio. The lighthouse keeper who reflects on the ocean for hours and chooses to be a beacon of safety for floating strangers. The person who digs deep into their studies to expand some part of their mind towards an interest. The person who sits in quiet meditation for most of their lifetime, in order to know themselves as one with The Divine. I could keep going on and on. There are as many brilliant expressions of Life as there are people… and plants… and animals… and planets.


These days, I have followed my calling, heart and curiosity to new adventures as a sailor. I have recently completed my level one sailing course, I am still continuing on and, boy oh boy, do I ever love it! There is something so blissfully relaxing, and incredibly powerful, about using the wind to move around the world on water.


And yet… I know that I can say that sentence, and steep in the feeling, while someone else would say, “no way, not for me.” Both of us are right. Somewhere in my blood and bones, there is a sailor, learning to be set free. Everyone has their being-ness…. Maybe, for you, it doesn’t involve wind and water at all.

This is Collette. I am writing this article for Jill, who, as I write and you read this, is on a back-country horse riding trip through the Rocky Mountains. I can hear a lot of people’s voices in my head who might learn of such a trip and say, “no way, not for me.” I might love such animals and still not be ‘chomping at the bit’ to spend weeks on their backs in the cold mountains. I absolutely appreciate the fulfillment of this adventure for Jill and friends, though… even though it was not my choice to be there. I am cheering them on.


I am inspired when people follow their hearts. It doesn’t even matter if their hearts speak a completely different language from mine, or even if they want to go in a polar opposite direction. The language of our souls, of who we are, is universal. When someone is being themselves whole-heartedly, in all of their authentic form, I too am inspired to be myself.


Currently, I am participating in a book study around, The Lion Tracker’s Guide To Life, by Boyd Varty. The book is all about learning to ‘track’ one's own life. It is about teaching ourselves how to listen to those (sometimes subtle) guideposts that can be easy to ignore. That’s how it was for me to grab hold of the sailing idea. It was once a daydream that I would push away as not fitting in with my ‘responsible adult’ life. (Like, literally, where would it fit?) I wasn’t deeming it reasonable as an idea, until I remembered that if I want something that I love to ‘fit’, I just have to commit to putting it into my life.


In his Lion Tracker book, Boyd Varty writes, “No one can tell you what your track will be or how to know what calls you and brings you to life. That’s your work to do.”


What brings you to life? Who are you at your most free?


You may not be a sailor or a cowgirl, but YOU ARE SOMEONE AMAZING! Find that person. Invite them out more. Accept them fully… appreciating all the parts. Live from that place. My world will be better because of it… because of your courage to express… because of your freedom. You are a part of this amazing Life.


You are someone amazing.

ACTIVITIES FOR TRANSFORMATION


~ Get acquainted with the amazing you that is at your core. (Feel like you have lost touch? Try remembering back to the child you once were, before the winds of the world blew away some of your connection to your authentic, free self).


~ Try using journalling as part of your connection process, or maybe create a vision board or an art project to inspire you. (Or perhaps your dear friends might be able to help you to remember).


~ Once you feel like you have found your connection with your amazing, free inner self, think of 3 ways in which you could invite them out more.


~ Imagine that person is your very best friend. What are some ways in which you could accept them more fully… appreciating all the parts? Write down the ways, and affirm that acceptance every day. Live from that place.

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