“The Freedom to Be Me”
America, the land of the free. Who wouldn’t want to live in a country where they could say, “I’m free to be me?” Is that not why our own ancestors came to this country in the first place? To live their lives in a way that would fulfill their potential and personal calling from God? But freedom is not merely entitled to those who come to America. The source of freedom was given to us by God from the very beginning when he created us in likeness. He taught and continues to guide us through his example. That through our thoughts, words, and actions we create the world we live in, the country, the family all the way down to ourselves. Freedom is not just a word. It is nothing without choice. That choice is like the stone you toss into the still waters, it creates a ripple effect and touches everything around you. So, while the freedom to be me is a beautiful God-given gift. It also comes with a great responsibility not just to the people around me but to this great big wonderful world I live in. The real power of freedom begins with you and me right where we find ourselves…now. So, on this special day of freedom and independence maybe we could all take a moment to pause and ask ourselves, am I adding to the better-good of all through my thoughts words and actions? Or could I make a new commitment on this 4th of July to do the best I can to forgive and love one another as God first loved us? I’m in! How about you?
“It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”
-William Ernest Henley, “Invictus”
And God is the compass that points the way.
It’s up to me
which way I sail,
Which way I go
Is where I’ll be.
Sometimes I feel
Alone at sea.
Inside of me.
I look for an answer
A narrow telescope.
There is nothing in sight
But a seagull
Why do I forget
Its easy to see.
It can’t get lost,
For its inside of me.
I am after all
Of my soul,
But it’s the compass
That shows me
Way to go.
I think as we journey through life we come to the end of each path wondering how am I going to get from here to there? Sometimes the next journey requires us to walk through valleys or up steep mountains, maybe even across paths of hot coals, or over wobbly bridges, and what about the ones that are paved in stones across the sky. Will, freedom, choice, trust and faith come into play surrounding me, and ego steps into view with its limited human perspective announcing that there is no way on earth to get from here to there. All the while the spirit within waits and watches patiently until will, freedom, choice, trust and faith can finally see past ego and into the depth of their purpose.
We walk through a period of our life being host of our soul. Showing it all there is to be seen through our eyes, senses and emotions much like a tour guide on a trip. But eventually the spirit within the soul becomes bored and tired of seeing the same thing as we circle round the Ring of Kerry over and again. We are at the point of our crossroad and it’s time for the ego to get out of the drivers set and let the spirit take the wheel. The spirit doesn’t’ need the maps or GPS to get us to the next path in life. It tells us now to sit back and enjoy the ride, choice is our ticket, trust is all we can take, will is what pushes us on the bus, and faith is what gives us the courage to take the first step, freedom is the weightlessness we feel as we let go of all the things that hold us back from moving on. As we travel once again around the Ring of Kerry on our way to the next destination we see as if for the first time because now it’s through the eyes of God.
Simplicity, patience and compassion are truly the three treasures I’ve learned to live by.
The lesson in patience came first for me as I was in the midst of raising four children. I asked for prayer from a wise woman, and she told me that when you pray for patience God gives you lots of opportunity to practice it. I was certainly getting lots of practice then, and did learn a great level of patience, but the learning didn’t stop with just that lesson. I found many other areas of my life that patience needed to be mastered, and I am still learning to this day.
I always had compassion for others. It’s a nice quality to have except when you’re always putting everyone else above yourself. The hardest area for me to work on was being compassionate toward myself. It required that I learn to love who I was, and I wasn’t able to do that until I saw myself through God’s eyes. As I became more loving and compassionate with myself, I found I was better able to serve others in a more compassionate way.
Simplicity came into play after years of trying to do everything the way I thought I was supposed to. It was actually in the midst studying the Bible over and again that the very word simplify began popping off the pages. I would always ask the question at the end of my readings, “what is it that you’re trying to teach me today Lord?” Then I would write the answer that came to me in my journal. What I wrote was a dialogue between God and me, what he told me was that I was making things far more difficult than He had created life to be. As I let go of trying to find the answers I was looking for, I found simplicity by trusting in the process. The more I let go the freer I became, and with that freedom came the deepest of understandings in the simplest of ways.
Simplicity, patience and compassion are the ingredients that come from love, and there is nothing more important we can do in life than to do all things through love.
Painted by Marnie Pitts
“No tree has branches so foolish as to fight among themselves.”-Native American Saying
Today I’m turning over a new leaf in my life. I start by thanking God for this day, and pray that I may see the many gifts He has in store for me. Like the leaves blowing on this windy day, may all the accumulated negativism I’ve let piled up around me blow away with them. I am thankful for the people in my life who I can always depend on to point me in the right direction. They are ever-present the same as all the other good things that continue, even when I lose sight of them. Forgiving myself begins the healing of all the dis-ease I’ve brought into my life that has literally made my body sick. I am free of the prison that held me bound. My ego is not happy as it now takes a back seat to my true-self. I can breathe the fresh air again, see the beauty of the perfect world God created, and I’m reminded of how important it is to honor all His creations.
I was thinking as my day began that it was going to be hard work keeping myself centered in this good place. However, as my day goes on I realize the hard work is only present when I go against myself.
“If you look for the truth outside yourself, it gets farther and farther away.” -Tang-Shan Liang-Chich
To me this quote is a great reminder to bring it all in. It’s also a great example as we wind down to the last 3 days before the election. We cannot make a choice based on all the conflicting information that takes us away from what we base our own truth on. How does each candidate resonate with my own belief and truths? There’s this inner knowing that we all have within us. It’s a nagging voice that’s trying to be heard beneath all the other noise that the ego entertains. Where does the ego look for its truth but from that which it attaches itself to on the outside?
What does this all create, but a division within ourselves. If there is a division within us then it’s going to create a division outside of us, and it spreads like a disease. It has already become prevalent in our country. Now the concern is that whoever gets into office, the division will continue. I don’t want to be a part of planting this seed. All I can do is pull out the negative weeds it’s begun to grow in me.
The bottom line for me is in the clarity of the statement above. Look for the truth within your heart and soul. Don’t let the ego lead you astray. Some would say I don’t’ rely on myself. I rely on God. Well where do you think God exist? Within each of us. He didn’t create us to push aside who we are. He created us that He could experience life through us and with us. But it takes our cooperation and willingness to work as One. I have learned in my own life that when I’m feeling that sense of division it’s a sure sign that I’ve drifted away from the truth within. Until I find my way back I become a part of the problem that contributes to the division all around me.
As Saint Francis so simply taught, having peace on earth, can only happen when we first find it in ourselves.
My husband and I went to grandparent day recently. Our morning began with the pledge of allegiance to our country’s flag. Us oldie’s but goody’s automatically put our right hand over our heart, the way we were taught in school. It brought back memories. As I said the words I found myself thinking how different our country is today. I wondered where that pride went. It sure was prevalent right after 9/11. There where flags flying everywhere even from the windows of people’s cars. Every house had one standing proudly in its rightful place. We felt what that pledge of allegiance stood for. We were one nation, under God, undivided. We cherished the freedom that our county stood for. Love for each other came shining though also as we reached out to our loved making sure that they knew how much we cared about them. We never believed something like 9/11 could happen in our country, and I can’t help but wonder why it is that terrible things have to happen to bring us together like that.
That was 15 years ago, and now all we seem to do is fight with one another right here on our own soil. We are this melting pot of people from all over the world. We’ve come together to live in this great land of freedom, and now that very freedom is being twisted around by words that justify anything and everything, even if its blatantly wrong. We can’t let the gift of freedom be turned into the very thing that destroys us.
We can’t have the kind of world we want by starting with the whole world. We can’t have the kind of country we want by startling with the vastness of that either. We have to start right where we are, first with ourselves. Then reaching out to one another with compassion, understanding, and respect for our differences. Only then can we return to belief this country was founded on. We are one nation under God, undivided, and we stand for liberty and justice for all. Be the change you want this country to be, it has to start with each one of us.
I don’t know, maybe we should get back to flying the American flag in its honored place upon our property’s. Then stand before it with our hand over our hearts pledging our allegiance to the United States of America. The land that we love. It’s like saying our daily prayers it gives us a moment of pause that reminds us who we are, what we believe, and that we’re not alone. We are one nation under God.
It can be difficult to form a concrete understanding when we’re trying to make an informed decision. There is often as many good reasons as there are bad reasons on a subject. So how do I decide which way to go?
I think that’s where our intuition comes into play. It’s that gut feeling that will tell us which way feels right. It will also twist us into knots when we choose what goes against us. Our intuition holds a special place in which our beliefs and values lie. It’s representative of our true-selves.
Now some would say you don’t need all this, just turn to God and He’ll give you the answers. I won’t argue with that. I just like knowing that the person God created me to be has the ability to use the gifts He’s blessed me with. Because He created me after all. Gave me a brain to use. The freedom of choices, along with many tools like intuition, emotions and my senses to make the best informed decision. Then He simple responds to me by asking, “what does your gut tell you? That my dear friends is where our individual unique personifies are able to exercise what only we ourselves were created to do.
‘The subject of my daily reading is “Seek Justice.” It starts with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Justice is defined as “a moral principle determining just conduct.” It’s an innate quality we all have. It’s a matter of getting past the pressures of the society we live in and the influence it has upon us. We can tap into this quality of just conduct that allows us to be good, kind and loving to one another. Our guideline is the Golden Rule. The law of reciprocity. To treat others in the same way that we would like to be treated. If it is done from the heart, it is the most altruistic act you can practice. There can be nothing productive in division. That’s what we do when we believe that we’re better because of the color of our skin, the religion we practice, the politics we choose to follow. We are a world of unique differences, it’s true. Haven’t you ever wondered why God created us all so different? Maybe, just maybe he designed us so differently that we might leave our unique mark upon the world for the greater good.
I know what it feels like to live within a culture of different people as I was thrust into it at the age of 14 and lived as a minority for a year. I was unjustly treated because the color of my skin. I lived in fear at first of what I said or did that could trigger conflict. As time went on though I eventually blended in, because the bottom line was that none of us wanted to be where we were. We were all in the same boat for the same reason, and so it was our unfortunate circumstance that broke the divide between us. We don’t share each other’s history or experiences. So there would never be a way of coming to common ground with either of the injustices our cultures bred upon us. The only place we can start is from where we are today. This is our opportunity as human beings to transform these adverse circumstances into opportunities that create a better good for all. I believe that our differences should add to the equation, not divide us.
Prayer is important, but action must come right alongside it. I guess this is the time to be looking deep inside ourselves, to see what it is that we have to offer. If we don’t add what we were created to contribute, then what we have to offer will never come to be because there will never be another you or me. While we’ve been going through life wanting to feel special we’ve been looking everywhere except within ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty awesome.
Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature. –Benjamin Franklin
Remember the song “Born Free?” It popped in my head as I read the quote above.
Born free, as free as the wind blows
As free as the grass grows
Born free to follow your heart
Live free and beauty surrounds you
The world still astounds you
Each time you look at a star
Stay free, where no walls divide you
You’re free as the roaring tide
So there’s no need to hide
Born free, and life is worth living
But only worth living
‘Cause you’re born free
– Born Free Lyrics | MetroLyrics
I cannot experience true freedom until I first experience it within myself. I allow too many outside influences to stripe away my very own God given right. I admit I’m a work in progress. I have to work at remembering the freedom I have to choose what I allow myself to believe about me. If I live by the judgments that others place upon me than I live according to someone else’s thoughts. I become divided from my own truth. And as the song encourages us to, “stay free where no walls divide you.” So I’m practicing as I exercise my own personal freedom first. It means getting rid of the limitations my own thoughts place upon me. Than I become as free as the wind blows,to no longer feeling enslaved by the overwhelming need to please everyone else. I’m free!