As I prepared for my family’s July 4th celebration, I couldn’t help but think about some of the events and threads that comprise our freedom.
Our freedom, for all of us who live in countries that afford us the privilege of choosing our own daily course of actions, was born on the backs and of the bloodshed of too many to count.
Our freedoms, for there are many, were first established by a small group of individuals who had the desire, wherewithal, conviction, and enough compassion to stand up and speak for those who weren’t able to do so themselves.
They were the rallyiers and the leaders.
They sparked excitement and enthusiasm and their passion evoked evolution when others joined the alliance.
But that was just the beginning.
The beach towels I rolled and stuffed into a monogrammed tote are reminders of the blankets our service men and women might or might not have.
That tote is a symbol of the packs our protectors strap onto their backs and carry everywhere they go; containers that sometimes house every ounce of sustenance and as many survival supplies as possible.
The initials neatly stitched into my bag are indicative of the life fibers that are woven into our warrior’s wounds and their well-being; memories and images and love for all they have and all they left behind.
There are those who enter the military because they hear the calling.
There are those who were groomed by others and that is all they know.
There are those who join government ranks solely for the benefits.
And there are those in days gone by who went because they were drafted.
Some of these men and women paid what we deem the ultimate sacrifice–Death.
Even as I type those words I caution you to remember that the ultimate sacrifice is different for each and every one of us.
For some the ultimate sacrifice could be living a life of physical, emotional, mental, social, or spiritual pain following their time of service.
Some will quickly (all things relative) accept their situations and find ways to live their best lives in the face of their adversity while others will labor to find the resolutions that are right for them.
Which brings us to the other side of freedom.
Though we often refer to our country’s freedoms as personal freedom, I liken them more to physical freedom; freedom to move our bodies and stretch our minds and to think and speak our personal truths.
The second side of freedom is freedom from and within the self.
This is where I struggle most.
In a lecture class I attended last night, we were prompted to answer three questions.
1) What do I want to attract into my life right now?
2) What am I blocking/preventing from happening? Where am I self-sabotaging?
3) What would my life look and feel like if I was totally free?
As I type that last word I am, once again, in awe of life’s little miracles…or validations or serendipity…whatever you wish to call them.
You see, this post has been rattling around in my brain and sitting on my screen for a week but it just wasn’t coming together. Now I realize that what was missing was the link, the segue to tie these two things together.
In the thirty or so seconds we were allowed to write our responses, I scrawled this onto the page in front of me:
“I would be feeling the wind on my face, hearing the birds and crickets and the wind rustling; I would hear my typewriter click click clicking day after day. I would be a total wanderer and explorer and researcher, and teacher, and self. I would be. Myself.”
All of those things are about feeling, Journeyer, about being in my body and embracing it. These things are like little sunbursts lighting up my soul from the inside and radiating outward.
In that life I would embrace Me.
How did I answer that second question?
“I don’t feel as if I deserve, that I’m not worthy, that I haven’t served my time, that I don’t measure up, that I don’t have the means or the knowledge or the time.”
The poor use of commas separating those statements reflects the inherent nature of those thoughts. They are reactive, reflexive, and always at the ready.
They aren’t about Me or You or Us, Journeyer. They aren’t about Unity or Empowerment or Love.
They are about Others. They are about Control and Admonishment and Judgement.
The duality in those statements is breathtaking.
Breathtaking as in the painful awareness that I am limiting myself, holding myself back from living my best life and from fully embracing my divine life purpose.
Breathtaking as in the glorious growth possibilities that exist.
In the end, Journeyer, Freedom boils down to Choice.
Healing a nation means choosing to lend our attention, to ask questions,to seek answers, and to reconcile conflict.
Healing the individual means choosing to acknowledge our own intuition, to ask questions, to listen to the voice inside, and to heed our own callings.
Of those service men and women who chose military life for themselves, some had the support of family and friends while others did not.
Of those draftees who didn’t want to go or didn’t believe in the system, they ultimately chose to conform because serving was a better alternative to defecting.
Freedom is a bit like healing; it often resides on the other side of strife and suffering.
Freedom, like healing, is about venturing into uncharted territory, flexing our academic, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual muscles, and then honoring all that is.
Until we meet again, yours in hope, healing, and happiness,