Something I really started thinking about when I was unschooling high school was the nature of true freedom. Basically, I came to the conclusion that lack of restrictions was not enough: to be truly free we need to know the truth and be able to do what we truly want deep down inside.
Years later I came across a quote that seemed to really express this idea. When I spoke at my first big unschooling conference, Rethinking Education in Dallas, Texas, Barb Lundgren gave me her book of Mindful Quotations. This was one of my favorites:
Men are not free when they are doing just what they like … Men are only free when they are doing what the deepest self likes, and there is getting down to the deepest self! It takes some diving. -D. H. Lawrence
It takes some diving indeed! I was thinking about the need to really be free on the inside while I was unschooling high school. But it wasn’t until years later after lots travel, searching, life lessons, and getting to know myself that I began to fully understand this concept.
As a teen my eyes really started to open up to the world when I was about 15 years old. First I read an amazing book called Lies My Teacher Told Me: What American History Textbooks Got Wrong by James Loewen. This and many other books and people, especially Noam Chomsky, made clear to me that the world view we are normally given leaves a lot out and includes many lies.
I realized the world is a much more terrible and wonderful place than I ever thought.
I also realized that school was lying to me and wasting my time and energy when I could be finding out the truth. That was a major part of my motivation to leave school when I discovered homeschooling and unschooling.
What confused me was people could leave school and could find the truth in many books and magazines readily available at their local state run library! So how come they didn’t free themselves and find out the truth? On some level, it seems they weren’t free on the inside.
Of course, I think they would be freer on the inside if they hadn’t spent so much of their lives with so little outward freedom while in school: outward oppression tends to seep into the depths of who we are. Eventually, even when the outward restrictions are taken away many people won’t bother to make use of their freedom.
I’ve noted before how doing healing work was a big part of my unschooling experience during high school. Again: even if you understand a lot of the politics of the world you can’t do what you want and be free if you have deep emotional wounds controlling your actions – consciously or not.
So healing was part of my “diving” down to my true self. You could say unschooling in high school and my years of traveling and worldschooling has been largely about diving further down to my true self. It has been a journey!
And the journey continues, but I definitely eventually reached a turning point where I finally feel like I’m doing what I truly want. I’m following my purpose. It’s scary to use that word!: Purpose. But I do think writing about unschooling, homeschooling and education, doing my own traveling, and sharing travel with others through my Worldschool Travel Tours and my writing is what I’m meant to be doing.
It doesn’t mean it’s easy! It doesn’t mean I know exactly how or what to write about all the time. It doesn’t mean I know how or what countries to lead travel tours to. I just know I’m going in the right direction.
And when I really reflect I realize I am happy. I am doing what I really want. And I am free.