What I know for sure is that freedom is an inside job. As spiritual beings having a human experience, we are all blessed with free will. This means that we are always at choice. This is quite the gift. In my own life, I have sometimes chosen unwisely, yet as I grow in wisdom through the years of my life, I am finding that I choose well, and enjoy more freedom, independence, love, peace and joy.
When we were young, my sister was the recipient of my father’s rage at times. She talked back to him more than I did, and he would whip her with a belt as my mother, other sister and I watched in fear and sorrow. My sister later told me that she always knew he could not touch or hurt her Spirit, that she felt free no matter what. I still find that soooo powerful, and am grateful to this day for the wisdom she shared.
July 4th is the United States’ Independence Day, and as I reflect on freedom today, I can’t ignore the Supreme Court’s recent decision on rights for women. I honestly believe that at the core of this decision lies the intention to keep women down, to take away a law that was gained 50 years ago. At the same time, I can see how those who have been praying for abortion to be illegal are feeling a great sense of happiness and relief that this ruling came down from the highest court in this land, reversing hard-won legislation. We are once again experiencing such a dichotomy of opinion in the United States. I’m not sure what the answer is, because many women (and men) are demonstrating, and are mad and frustrated, and do not believe this should have happened. Yet, I realize that others are overjoyed, and also out on the streets to show their solidarity and happiness about this Supreme Court decision.
My spiritual practice helps me know that it is not my job to judge anybody else, and even judging myself hurts my self-love. Acceptance of what-is is also paramount. As I apply what I can be grateful for in this recent Supreme Court decision, I am thankful we all have the right and freedom to express ourselves in the U.S. I am grateful for all the people speaking out at this time from both sides. I am thankful to be cultivating my listening skills, and accepting other points of view more than I used to be able to. I am grateful for my faith that good will prevail.
I am grateful to know that I have within me the power to feel freedom, no matter what. Look at heroes like Nelson Mandala, the Dalai Lama and Victor Frankl, imprisoned and yet free. They understood and showed the world that freedom is an inside job. Without spiritually bypassing, I acknowledge my own freedom to feel enthusiasm and joy and love no matter what happens in the outside world.
This April and May, Oregon got surprise rain which helps incredibly with our drought situation. Yes, I am thankful! We also got snow and freezing temperatures. Not quite so thankful. You see, we have this gorgeous wisteria that was about to flower. The tender blossoms were so close to full regalia. Then the freeze caused them all to die. I was so sad. I honestly grieved for about three days. It may sound silly, but this is one of the most glorious times in Spring, when the wisteria erupts into full bloom.
Enter the blue jays getting busy making a nest in the bare wisteria. They labored for a time, bringing in all that they needed to make a strong, durable nest. And then Mrs. Jay must have laid her eggs, and began sitting in the nest day after day. We could easily witness this gestation period from the windows of the kitchen door. We were so delighted and prayed the baby jays would hatch. Then they did. At first, they were like little dinosaurs, so plain and pink and bare. We kept watching them grow in awe. The kids trusted us implicitly. They didn’t mind our two dogs and us frequently going in and out the door. They let me get on a ladder and snap their photos quite a few times. They would stare right into my eyes as I took the photos. (Mama and Papa Jay were not around, they would not have been so happy.)
I will be writing a book on Radical Gratitude and this is a lesson in how when things go wrong in life, if we look hard enough, there is a blessing in the loss, like with our cute little visitors this Spring. I have many other examples of times when life was horribly hard and then from the ashes, the Phoenix in my heart arose as I found other immensely beautiful, learning lessons from the pain.
If you are having a difficult time right now, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I offer spiritual counseling and powerful affirmative prayer, and would love to share with you.