We all want to change something about our lives. We are all searching for that one true happiness that will define us, be our legacy and/or make us feel like we matter.
It’s easy for 20 years to get behind you only to wake up one morning to realise that you’ve been living a lie, you’ve stifled your dreams, deferred your happiness. It’s not your fault, it’s hard not to conform; it’s very difficult to continually push against the huge volume of traffic heading the other way; conformity with society, wage slavery, consumerism and generally striving to get somewhere commonly defined as success.
If you still feel unfulfilled, maybe you are a restless peasant like me; not impressed with the trappings of wealth and career and looking for a simpler definition of life where people call the shots on their own lives and where individuals matter.
I first created restless peasant as a way to record my thoughts on the idea of freedom and if you look at some of the earliest posts I was a bit of a whinger. That’s mainly because I was in the very early days of my own search for freedom and I was trying to evaluate what on earth stops us from just being, instead of blindly conforming to what we’ve been told is normal. That search took me around the houses and showed up my real lack of in-depth knowledge of history, economics, politics and philosophy.
Then I joined a Buddhist meditation group and realised that there really wasn’t so much to know after all and I suppose I started to finally get a measure of what was really important to me in the world.
My previously very narrow definition of freedom was all to do with breaking away from the world of employment and taking orders, and to do that I needed to make some big changes. Getting a wider perspective on life helped me to identify the things that had held me back from attaining real freedom and this has led to restless peasant embracing the broader subject of life; changing.
That is, life (semi-colon) changing, re-booting or whatever you want to call it, but whatever the name, it has again become a huge phenomenon in the developed world as more and more people discover the folly of the hollow, consumerist societies in which we live.
Nobody ends up in a meditation group if they are balanced and 100% happy with their life and since joining my group I have discovered that I can take a much looser grasp on my life’s direction; there’s nowhere to go really, just make sure you are doing stuff you enjoy and that maybe adds value to others along the way. Everyone in my group has something they are trying to fix and mine was the concept of freedom. About a year before joining the group I had made the break to finally become a free agent in the world; someone who wouldn’t be shackled by the constraints of conformity; someone who wouldn’t take orders any more.
As time has progressed I have come to understand freedom a lot better than I ever did before. Some of my previously held views have changed; my idea of freedom itself has changed and I think I now have a greater understanding of what the major factors are that prevent people from being free. Free is a personal thing, a bit like a favourite song by a favourite artist.
I once heard an interview with Bruce Springsteen where he shared his concerns about the advent of music video. Although he wanted to embrace it and make something unique, he was concerned about literally painting too many pictures, as his audience were used to doing that by themselves; which made his songs even more powerful and relevant to each listener. If he made videos, would that be detrimental to the connection people made with his music? He was concerned that he’d be “painting a moustache on it”.
Freedom is like a song in that respect; it’s something that you paint your own picture of. Freedom to me, might be hell to you. So it’s important that you create your own version of freedom, the freedom that works best for you. Most importantly you don’t want to fall into the trap of pursuing the freedom that we are sold by the very institutions that keep us shackled; the freedom to have two holidays a year, a new car every 3 years and an idyllic scene of you swinging in a hammock in a straw hat.
Within that personalisation of freedom there are however, a few common themes. Things that seem to either hinder or facilitate the attainment of freedom for many people and I’ll try to shine light on these as we go. You will find posts on these here already and there will be many more as time goes on.
These Freedom Themes if you like, are things like money and our relationship with it, particularly the getting of and keeping of money. Then there is the friction from the status quo, or the turmoil that can be caused by others when you try to change your life radically in a short time. So we discuss themes like detaching from long held beliefs and constraints; recognising and breaking down or moving boundaries and most importantly, the power of choice.
My relationship with money has become a whole lot easier since I chose to take responsibility for it myself instead of leaving it up to some under qualified business owner or committee to decide whether or not there is enough money to pay my wages next week. So another strong theme of the site is supporting your freedom by your own endeavours…making your own money without unwittingly ending up back on the hamster wheel of doom.
The common thread running through all of this is of course choice and choice is probably as close as I can come to defining freedom…the freedom to choose what I do on any given day. The freedom to not have to wait for 10 hours until I’m finished polishing widgets for someone else’s financial benefit before my preferences are heard. For example, one of the biggest choices I’ve made is to not take orders anymore; what does that mean? I try to explain in this post.
What you gonna read about on here?
That is hard to answer without me continually updating this page every other day, because it could be anything. The overall theme of the restless peasant is Freedom and I talk a lot about changing my life to attain freedom. Life; changing as in a process that is underway, not as in mind blowingly inspirational, although I hope you will find inspiration in some of what you find here.
In my first 168 letter (which I don’t do anymore…at the moment anyway) for example, I wrote about classical guitar music, dead chefs, chopping firewood, walking and talking with donkeys, writing in the flow, sharpening chainsaws (literally and metaphorically), old ladies I haven’t met, tobogganing in a car, making things and hugely inspirational people.
How’s all that gonna help you?
Truth is I don’t know if it will help you, but if you have arrived here because you’re fed up with your current life on the hamster wheel of doom as a means to pay the bills, then it’s maybe worth a bit of your time to read a few posts to see if restless peasant is right for you.
I know that changing my life to what it is now and embracing the idea of continual change has been the most uplifting of experiences for me. I now feel truly free to choose what I do on a day to day basis, which is where I’ve always wanted to be.
I won’t bore you too much with the life’s too short and you only get one chance stuff, because I’m not here to force you into changing anything, merely to share what is working for me and to put out some resources that you can use if you decide to try it for yourself.
The site might also work for you in a small way if you are just into donkeys, or chainsaws, learning new skills or creating things from scratch.
So, I will be talking about lots of different stuff that all fits under the big umbrella of Life; changing
John the Restless-Peasant.