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Today, as the United States’ celebrates independence, I am thinking about freedom as an inalienable right. Not a right that has been granted by a country’s constitution to its people, but a birthright. The truth is, we don’t GET to be free or not. We ARE free. That’s, of course, not how most experience it. Many of you have read Viktor Frankl’s much quoted insight on freedom, discovered while in the Nazi concentration camps: Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. If you think about it, that’s a pretty profound realization given the horrific circumstances he found himself in. Most of us, in this country anyway, will most likely never face such a dramatic opportunity for profound insight. Yet few of us ever really apply that insight to our own lives. I submit that most of us experience less freedom in our lives than he did. A smattering of what TRUE FREEDOM is to me: Free to be myself. To take the time to uncover and recover who I really am, when I strip away all the ideas of who I am supposed to be that have been, and continue to be, imposed on me all my life. Free to express my emotions - all of them. First, to give myself permission to FEEL them, rather than spiritually bypass them. And then express them - anger, sadness, grief, fear as well as joy and gratitude. Free to speak my truth when I see an injustice. To make waves where waves are needed. To confront someone when their behavior is uncomfortable or abusive, to me or others. Free to ask for what I need or want. Free to rest when tired, regardless of the to-do list, or others’ desires. To take care of my health and well-being, as if it were a priority. Free to say no to something I don’t want to do simply because I don’t want to do it. Free to say yes to something I want to do, simply because I want to do it, even though it means no to something, or someone else. Free to be generous, because it feels good, without a reason. Free to not suffer. Free to live my life as if it mattered - as if I had a contribution to make to Life. Free to put myself first because I understand that being fully me and doing what I am called to do IS my service, and it’s yours, too. Free to take responsibility for myself, and allow others the freedom to take responsibility for themselves. Free to pursue my passions. To spend my precious time and energy here on earth doing what inspires me, what I feel called to do. Free to leave or say no to soul-killing work, which is different for everyone, to choose health and happiness over supposed security. . Free to choose joy over security. Free to find security in that joy. Free from what society, and even loved ones, dictate I should be, do or have. Free from the marketing/media’s overriding message that I am not enough unless I be, do or have this, that and then other thing. Free to choose Free to create Free to change Free to grow Free to not know Free to expand Free to discover Free to LIVE. Happy Independence Day… everyone, everywhere.

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