“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Today, we are celebrating Independence Day, and I can’t help myself but to feel the meaning of freedom just little more in depth these days. Perhaps it has become more personal in my circumstances. There is a different meaning and choices are waiting to be made. Choices on how I will use this new kind of freedom I have encountered. On how I will apply it towards the future. Up until now it’s been more of a survival mode, making it through each day, dealing with chronic pain and a heatwave. I realize that I am in this position for the very first time in my life. To make choices and decisions, armed with the wisdom and knowledge I have now. Surely I have always been a co-creator, to create the life I see fit for myself, but I also realize that this is new territory. That it has never been at this level and that the freedom to fully create the future has always been limited. It is now that I don’t see myself as a co-creator any longer but the sole creator of what’s to come. And yet I am learning that there are trade offs. Just like our horse spirit for July is forecasting, I have free reign, free will, free power of choice and it’s up to me. “Freedom is yours” it said.
As we remember and honor the memory of Martin Luther King, his words ring across space and are timeless. There is a truth, a truth louder than ever, a truth for this very moment.
MLK speech from the Nobel Prize acceptance
“I refuse the idea that the “isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “outness” that forever confronts him.
I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the River of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.
I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.
I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying on the blood flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men.
I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for the it minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.
I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, other-centered men can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land.
This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom.
When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.”
When the going get’s tough, the tough adjusts. Yeah, I did make that up.
With my recent case of Lypophrenia, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to metaphorically shed some of the weight. Not in the sense of body weight, but in the sense of material possessions.
How long ago had I started this process of lightening my load? From time to time a Facebook memory flashed, reminding me of “less is more” and my desire of becoming a minimalist. Not giving too much weight to material bliss and living modestly. Soon I was reminded that in all actuality it had been years since I started this process. Sometimes the process was tackled with more gusto and other times it would quietly linger in the sidelines, flexing to whatever else was going on at the time. But it was always there, ever playing all it’s various roles.
Sometimes it would commence mentally, and other times in the physical sense, always sharing similarities along the process. How long had I told the same truths to friends and families? Either way, they must have thought I am either a very slow worker or procrastinator at the finest. It doesn’t really matter. I am doing “me” and I’m doing it the beat I can.
Since my recent case of blues was a mental one, it was time to attack the issue in the physical sense and weed out more of the old. I wasn’t in any major pain that would keep me from it. I succeeded to summon my energy and overcome the chronic fatigue I have to fight on a daily basis. And yeah, auto immune diseases suck.
Slowly I entered my closet and stood for a moment. How many times had I gone through it already? How many times had I gone through every drawer, slowly removing one piece at a time for various reasons, donating one giant lawn bag full of stuff after another. First because it no longer fit me, second because one too many washings had taken an unkind toll, third because I had outgrown my own style, fourth because I couldn’t actually remember when I wore it the last time. And so on, I’m sure there are a few more reasons I could come up with.
A similar concept had been applied to the rest of the house, carefully weighing each object, considering how long I had it, whether it still brought me joy, whether I was going to allow it to collect dust once more, or whether I will ever have a use for it. I probably will as soon as I discard it, ha. I take that chance.
It’s been a liberating process but also one that has to be learned. I’d be easily done, could I have gotten rid of everything on the first attempt, but this wasn’t the case. I held on to the memories, the past, the decision I once made long ago to acquire a particular piece. In the end it boiled down to realizing that I, myself, was no longer the same person I was when I originally purchased it. I held on to something that no longer served my purpose. And what I achieved by doing so was that it only weighed me down in the process of it.
I had to learn that there is an art to letting go and timing is a big stake holder. When the timing is wrong, you will always find the excuses to cling, but when the timing is right, you are set up to embrace the new and make changes. Not only on the material sense but with everything in life. When you let go of the old, the new can enter. When you let go of the past, your future will begin to flourish. When you let go of anger, peace will enter your heart. When you let go of the need to control, life will become a lot less stressful. When you let go of the desire to please everyone, you will allow your true authentic self to emerge. When you let go of fear, your mind becomes clearer. You will experience more joy and a sense of fulfillment and content. All this has to be learned and it all boils down to the art of letting go.
It was on my Birthday trip that I saw this message written on the small path I hiked that evening. As a believer in signs and messages finding us at any given time, I knew that this was no ordinary moment. I just didn’t quite understood at the time what it was referring to. I do now and today I see it as a message of progress in becoming more and more who I am meant to be. I see it as leaving the old behind, of becoming free from the shackles that bind us. Liberated from the things that hold us back, the people that don’t get us or put us down, and the old programming that no longer applies. It’s constant progress and it is happening.
It could be anything that leads to your freedom mile. Perhaps it’s financial independence or leaving behind a job that sucks the life out of you. Maybe you are leaving behind a abusive or toxic relationship, maybe it’s just a matter of moving on. Each freedom mile is unique, different and very personal. And it’s painful and ugly at first, but trust me when I tell you that you will be rewarded in ways never imaginable if you stay the course.
So please understand this;
Bad chapters can still create great stories. Wrong paths can still lead to right places. Failed dreams can still create successful people, and sometimes it takes losing yourself to find yourself.
You can’t go wrong and perhaps every negative experience only makes you stronger. Strong enough to walk your “Freedom Mile.”
Chin up, it’s worth the effort.
July 4th, celebration of Independence Day here in the United States. It is said to be the land of the free with endless possibilities. If you can dream it, you can do it here most likely easier than any other place on earth, and the resources available will support you in the building and the reality of making your dreams come true.
America, where much of the landscape is still wild with a vast wilderness and a beauty that is majestic and takes your breath away. Where wild horses run free and the Wild West still exists. A land of glaciers and where the world erupts in volcanic hardship, leaving behind its own kind of beauty born from within it’s struggle. Where you can drive hours and hours and feel the wind in your hair with a sense of adventure and a feeling that makes your heart beat faster. A land that is getting faster and faster, catering to the convenience of a increasingly rushed society. America, land of oceans and mountains, deserts and wetlands, animals and spirits.
A land full of entrepreneurial spirit where it is possible to be anything you want. Where the Statue of Liberty stands guard to remind us of what’s important, what this country was build on, and what we should never forget. A land and melting pot uniting many cultures, talents and races with the hope to understand and respect one another and to be truly diverse and unique. A land where freedom rings.
America, rich in resources and fertile soil, where we have more food than we need and where poverty should not exist. And yet with every positive there also come challenges that this still fairly young country has yet to figure out and determine for what it really wants to be known for.
I am not going into political views as I sit here paying homage to the country that has been my home for the past 30+ years and which I have come to love. I debate what can be said on this holiday, this Independence Day that all of a sudden doesn’t feel so independent. What can be said about the current pandemic that has changed the dynamics and the lives of millions. I feel somewhat sad as I prepare for the aftermath when millions gather for what should be a joyous event to celebrate Independence Day and America’s birthday. I don’t want to turn on the news to hear about the spikes in corona virus cases as the many, proud to be an American, throw their independence and all cautions to the wind while a deadly virus sweeps through the land! Maybe I am the party popper, but many can’t see wearing a mask as a means of protecting ourselves and each other, and instead protest and complain, feeling that their rights are taken away! Personally I think that we are sending a message that doesn’t seem very smart, while other countries who have followed the guidelines have a much better handle on the pandemic.
An article from 2006 outlines what makes America so great and I can’t help compare it to now.
A freedom message from a water tower in Reno Nevada
The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without restraint or hinderance.
Absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.
The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
It is Independence Day in Amerika. Today we celebrate this holiday for the ones that gave some, and the ones that gave all. It is a reminder of our independence and the sweet smell of freedom that often takes great sacrifices and often requires a fight or war.
Independence Day has an added meaning for me this year and it is more than just celebrating the history and the anniversary of our freedom. It’s more than BBQ’s and gatherings with friends and family. It’s more than fireworks and smoke filled air. And while this holiday celebration affects us all and our way of life today, I was thinking of our current, individual fights for freedom and independence. I don’t know why, but I was thinking of the various struggles each one of us faces to attain such precious freedom.
I was thinking of Mom, alive and well now, but not really free in a place she doesn’t want to be. Nor is she independent any longer and requires help. She will never enjoy that privilege ever again. This so called help comes at a price, and is in exchange for money and not voluntarily given.
I don’t mean this to turn out to be a sad and depressive post, as clearly this is a day of celebration, but for me it was a mere reality check. Taking a look around at what was happening. How many people I know that were truly happy, independent and free. It was an eye opener as I couldn’t name many at all. Most were stuck in unhealthy jobs, a slave to make ends meet with no freedom in sight. Others were in unhealthy and oppressive marriages, unable to move on by themselves, and made dependent. Others were sick and their dreams were cut short, having to fight unimaginable battles and wars against pain each and every day. Others simply had bad luck and got dealt a poor hand to deal with. And what about the ones stuck in their own hell, the ones that crumble from the pressures of society and believe that they are not good enough? The ones with anxiety, fighting for acceptance each day, just trying to find a place to belong. The ones that try to beat drugs and are made prisoners to their own addictions. The list goes on and on and doesn’t stop here. Even the ones that did defend us and came back as survivors continue to fight their battles each and every day.
So what is the point I’m trying to make here! What I’m saying is that today is an important anniversary in history, a crucial turning point that allowed many people to escape the claws of war, while others never made it and paid the ultimate prize for what we enjoy as our freedom today. A freedom that should never be taken for granted. And yet the fight for freedom and independence continues as each of us carries out their own battle. World peace, independence and freedom may look the same for all of us, but our individual freedom can have many different faces and is never free. There is always some prize to be paid, some struggle to be endured, some war and battle to be fought. May you never give up the fight, for it is always worth it and united we are strong and united we stand.
Happy Independence Day America and to all of you. Bless each and everyone of you ❤️