The Freedom in Devotion


When you look back at experiences from your childhood, you can glean a pretty clear understanding of what makes up who you are – the way you naturally lean, the undercurrent of desire that pulls you. And also: the opportunities to grow.

On a crusty old home video buried * somewhere * at one of my parent’s places, there’s footage of me as a 3 year old, standing in the loungeroom as my mother tries in vain to dress me in my pajamas. The only problem is I won’t have bar of it – I’m twirling around the loungeroom singing (whining) ‘I’ll do it, I’ll do it!’ until finally mum swings the clothes my way with a sigh and I proceed to try and dress myself.

It’s a funny little scene because it ends with me running around the lounge Beavis and Butthead-style with my PJ top stuck halfway over my head and the arms flailing. What you see very clearly is the burning desire for independence and freedom. I’m 3 but don’t contain me. Please.

That’s just one occurrence.

There were the (many, many) times in my early teens when I’d zoom off into the morning sun on my bike and ride as far away as I could with friends, returning at dusk with a sunburnt glow, weary legs and a stack of crazy adventures tucked in my backpack.

There was the time I went on a trip to the U.S and Ireland at age 14 – by myself. (I met relatives in each city, but there was plenty of transport-customs-connecting-flight navigation in between…. and I loved every second of it.).

As a tried-and-true Sagittarian I have never seen a description of my sign that hasn’t contained the words ‘freedom-loving’ peppered in somewhere. It’s always been a big life theme and I have no doubt, always will be.

But I’ve come to a realisation over the past little while, while exploring and experimenting and figuring out what works best in this entrepreneurial, self-managed life o’ mine, and it’s this:

Discipline, dedication and devotion ARE freedom.  

Yep. A bit of structure is a mighty fine thing, and rather than taking away from those deliciously fulfilling ‘footloose and fancy free’ times, I find it actually paves the way for more of them.

Ever experienced true time expansion?

When commitment leads the way, you can say a big hello to more of that because your schedule becomes one that you actually have control over. I find that when I don’t create any parameters around my work, for example, it’s really easy to get swept up in a spur-of-the-moment YES that might be fun but inevitably leaves me lagging a day behind. When I do allocate my time, however, I find myself in a beautiful state of flow and I finish the day wondering how I fit so much in. That’s the kind of day that has you saying ‘Yep, more of that.’

We have to power to choose the meaning the words we speak – whether positive, negative or neither here nor there – and while the usual definition of ‘discipline’ seems a touch restrictive, let’s layer it with a load of loving intention and choose to see it as something powerful and meaningful.

Let’s declare, that by drawing a perimeter around a dedicated block of time for our craft/ our spiritual practice/ our work/ exercise/ the things that truly bring us alive – and then showing up consistently – we encourage soul growth at a rocked-out rate and the kind of fulfillment that seems just out of reach when there are no guides in place.

I’ve found that the opposite of focused intention is unfocused attention and while I’m still definitely learning, it’s becoming clear to me that when I set down times to write, exercise, create and meditate, the ideas, the form, the energy and life itself rise up to meet me.

What’s your relationship to discipline, dedication and devotion? Like me, do you find having a bit of structure gives you freedom outside of that structure?

Can’t wait to hear from you below!

Image: Sophia Kim