As I celebrate Independence Day 2021, it is my privilege to let freedom ring with my words and actions. I am fortunate and grateful to have the liberty to contemplate what freedom means to me; to talk about it; and to make choices within it. As a citizen, it is my responsibility to actively participate in building strong community.
During the months of lock-down, I questioned what freedom means to me. What is it exactly that makes me believe and feel that I am free? I know that no matter what, human beings have free will. We have the freedom to make proactive choices that are healing and loving for ourselves and others. We are defined by our choices. Our actions show who we are and what we believe.
Even when everything has been stripped away from us and we have no control in a situation, we have freedom – the freedom to choose how we react to what is done to us. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr. Viktor Frankl recounts his time as a prisoner in German concentration camps. The camps were designed to strip everything away from prisoners – family, belongings, beliefs, faith, dignity, and respect.
Dr. Frankl recounts incidents he witnessed of prisoners choosing freely: choosing to resist and die rather than give in; choosing to help other prisoners in spite of personal costs; choosing to suffer through degradation in order to stay alive in hopes of seeing loved ones again; and choosing to stand tall as a human being, not forgetting the beautiful essence of our spirit.
Freedom takes many forms and may have special meanings for different people; for example:
- Freedom from addiction and attachment
Addictions and attachments trap us subliminally. We find we need to consume some substance, food or drink, possess certain things, or have a superior position in order to feel good or comfortable. Forces in society work to keep us attached, because we spend lots of money to meet these needs. Awareness of how these forces are working is a good first step toward releasing them and being free.
- Freedom from caring what others think of us
My goal is to become “self-referring” as opposed to “other-referring”, as defined by Deepak Chopra in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. I love the term, “self-referring” because I understand that I must look to myself and my connection to the Divine as I understand It for guidance, clarity, and peace.
Freedom comes in many shapes and sizes. It is a feeling and sense of self that carries me through the good times and the bad. It fuels my passions and calms my fears, and it gives me the confidence to move forward. Like true power, freedom is an inside job, and we express it in all our choices, which, in turn, bring about freedom in the external world.
In the Power Peers Network, we engage in meaningful conversations; listen with respect; allow others to speak from their heart so we begin to see differently. Please contact me to learn more and comment below to share your thoughts on what freedom means to you.
Thanks for participating in the conversation, Laura