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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

~Freedom is the basic condition for you to touch life, to touch the blue sky, the trees, the birds, the tea, and the other person.~
-Thich Nhat Hanh-

Freedom is a basic condition my life. Since I live in a country founded on democracy, and I don’t have violence perpetrated on me by hostile powers  most of my freedom is based on my own personal choices in life. This is a blessing but one that I had to learn.

This freedom can be pretty wrangly to come by too, as sometimes it is really difficult to make choices that truly set me free. Right now most of my freedom seems to center around family values, good health choices, and being at peace with simplicity in life, traveling into the “eldership of my life, and being a good citizen of the Earth and my community.

This is ok and it is easy for me to see when I step outside the boundaries. The big clue appears quickly. I simply don’t feel free and I feel the internal discomfort of that when my choices don’t have a particular bottom line: they need to add up to the value that this choice is good for me and it respects all others.

Today, I am not going to work too hard in this blog, so I am not going to elicit examples of this statement. Trust me, however, there are daily events and thinking and actions upon which I must use this measuring stick.

I don’t always get it right, but I get it right more often than I used to!

Recently I read some comments about the “pursuit of happiness,” and a person of Eastern philosophy and culture said, “It is amazing that Westerners have it in their very constitution that they are “free”  in their “pursuit of happiness’.” His take on this was that IF you have to PURSUE happiness, then perhaps you are not FREE.

I think the word, pursue, is interesting in this matter. Pursue has brought about the materialism, consumerism, the “I want more” ism, the Never-enuff-ism and I surely have lived all of these isms.  The trouble and truth of this, however, seems to be that in reality, there is never a period after “pursue.”  You cannot stop…..there is always more to pursue…..hence no period, no ending the sentence!

So, I have cut down on my pursuing. I am doing more realizing. Happiness is already here, abundantly, for those of us who have at least our basic needs met on the Abraham  Maslow hierarchy of needs. And I have noticed when my life or work has touched in the communities of the poor and needy, there is a Spirit within them, ones we may call “the unfortunate” and a happiness they communicate and share when they are being helped, respected or when they are celebrating their faith and joy of the Universal Creator. You can’t miss it.

Today in my walk, I will invite the blue sky to touch me, the birds to sing to me, the trees to blow their gentle breeze on me and I will  greet the others I meet with joy. I will sip my cold tea after my walk in gratitude for the freedom I enjoy this day.

Inner Freedom and  happiness are as exciting as the best Fourth of July Fireworks and Band performances and here they come!

Marine Corps Band on Capitol Hill  Fourth of July

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This is a goddess sculpture made by my friend Ameyo Ameyot several years ago. This morning “I assumed” I would be able to click it into place and write my blog quickly before afternoon errands.  Not!  Somehow on my beginning draft, my images would not download.  I do not know why that was, but I will continue this evening now that I have an image there.

Picture this. I wish I had a camera this afternoon at Tom’s doctor appointment. On the way out of the office building, Tom – with a cane – was holding the door for a more elderly woman who was gingerly moving her specialized walker along into the entryway, followed by a man wheeling his wheelchair, with a body strap held by the woman behind him. These people were followed by a handsome Fed-Ex guy, in summer shorts of course, who lined up behind them and was unable to “sprint” into the doctor’s office.

When he came back out and we were getting into our car, I told him that he was in the line of people who had “used up” their Express days. He laughed.

Which brings me to the Third Agreement of Don Miguel Ruiz: Don’t make assumptions.”  I was thinking about, how when we are young and crazy, we make all kinds of assumptions about our agile, strong and willing bodiesto move us along, it seems, at the speed of a bullet. We do assume it is there for us. It is quite likely we assume that now is forever. We don’t give it a thought what added several decades  of  “wear and tear” on the body will do. We assume the aches and pains and general slowing down wait over the horizen for others when they reach a ripe, older age. In fact, we assume actually that we are not old, maybe just old-er.

I catch myself in conversation all the time saying, “We were with this older couple the other day”…. and then I realize they were either a little younger or just a little older than myself.

I can remember assuming more when I was younger, than I do now. I assumed that I could exert myself for longer than my body really wanted to go without paying many unpleasant results. Not so today. Years ago, I could skip a few days of exercise without feeling like the next day I was starting all over again. Now I keep a steady pace in my exercise routines to stay energized. And today, I don’t assume my body gets its proper building blocks without a rather regular diet of wholesome nutrients on a regular basis.

Life’s later wisdom seems to grant a general acceptance of not making assumptions because, frankly — I’ve been wrong too many times when I did. In making assumptions about a situation, a person, or a problem, I’ve been right sometimes, I’ve been wrong others; I’ve been betrayed and I’ve been rewarded.

Ruiz says that all the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally (The Second Agreement, not to take things personally). The whole world of control between humans is about making assumptions and taking things personally.

It then comes down to being right or wrong. That becomes what is most important to us. We are afraid to ask for clarification, so we make assumptions and we believe we are right about our assumptions. I’ve done that.

Then we defend our assumptions and try to make someone else wrong. That’s me again. It is always better, Ruiz says, to ask a question than to make an assumption, because assumptions set us up for suffering.

Assumptions are often made so fast and unconsciously because we have agreed to not ask questions. The biggest assumption that human beings make is that everyone sees life the way we, ourselves, do. Even though our mind knows this cannot possibly be true, we struggle to make it so. We assume others think the way we think and  feel the way we feel.

He goes to the heart of the matter when he says that is the exact reason we have a fear of being ourselves around others…because we think everyone else will judge us with the same tough standards we use to judge ourselves, so even before others have a chance to reject us, we have already rejected ourselves.

The way to keep yourself from making assumptions is to ask questions. Work to make your communication very clear with another, without having to change yourself for the other, or worse yet attempting to change the other, as in “winning them over”.

Find your voice to ask for what you want. Listen inwardly to your own voice. When you hear an answer, it will sound like truth to you.

He admits that just saying this sounds easy, but that it is difficult to do. It takes practice. It takes recognizing our habits, which ones serve us, which ones don’t. So I am willing to practice this like all the other practices I have going on in my life. It’s just one of the things I do.

Taking action over and over again on this principle forms a habit, strengthens my will  and establishes a solid foundation that tends to erase chaos in my life.  I know it to be only too true that many of my  assumptions create chaos, not solutions in my life.

Don Miguel says making this one agreement (to make no assumptions) will transform one’s life. What you need comes to you easily because Spirit moves through you freely.

“This is the mastery of intent, the mastery of the Spirit, the mastery of love, the mastery of gratitude, and the mastery of life — the path to personal freedom.”

You know what they say about getting a little taste of freedom!

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REMEMBER
Memorial Day 2011

Remember the men and women who have served our country in the Armed Forces and say, “Thank You.”

Remember those brave men and women who have died fighting a war they wished had never happened.

Remember the men and women who braved the battlefield and returned home wounded in body, mind, and spirit.

Remember the sufferings of families touched by the forever loss of their loved ones in service to their country.

Remember Mother Earth and all her mutilations from all the wars.

Remember the good people who rebuild her and comfort her and bring her back to rest.

Remember the beauty of freedom the next opportunity you get to drop a ballot in a voting box.

Remember that we have a choice.

A choice to choose and not criticize.
A choice to build up and not tear down.
A choice to believe in the good, not the terrifying.
A choice to unify and not divide.
A choice for peace and not disruption.
A choice for joy, not dispair.
A choice for gratitude in place of grumbling.
A choice for community and not dissention.
A choice for understanding our fellow human beings.
A choice to choose honor and human dignity in our own lives.
A choice to place top value on life which nothing can surpass.
A choice to know we are all One, not two.
A choice to shorten the long journey between head and heart.
A choice to listen for the purpose of our life and follow that path.

My friends, I believe that war is obsolete and within that belief I remain patriotic to and loving of my country and grateful for the freedoms we share as Americans.

It is my vision that these freedoms continue in our country through many of my grandchildren’s future generations and that these freedoms spread around the world to the rest of Earth’s citizens. Mother Earth is the only mothership we have….and we need to know how to navigate her seas in a peaceful spirit with compassionate hearts and willing hands to serve the total ascention of humankind.

Remember Peace. Remember Love. Remember Life. 

 

 

 

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