03 Jul Mindful Monday | Freedom is ours
“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Tomorrow is America’s birthday.
241 years ago, the Declaration of Independence was signed–setting America free from Britain’s rule.
On that day, we declared our freedom–Great Britain didn’t acknowledge our sovereignty until 1783 when they signed the Treaty of Paris.
As the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in our most recent presidential election forges ahead, we are faced with the possibility that foreign influence, if not foreign rule, is creeping back towards us.
In addition, many Americans now live in a heightened state of fear and anxiety.
Fear of foreign and domestic terrorism and anxiety over a way of life that seems fractured and disappearing.
So now is a great time to ask yourself, what does freedom mean to you?
Is it the ability to rack up unsecured debt in pursuit of a hollow and superficial American Dream that someone else sold you?
Or is it the freedom to live in alignment with your deepest values every day without fear of compromise?
That to me is the real American Dream.
That through diligent effort and the support of a loving community, I can reach my highest potential and be happy.
And everyone should have access to that dream.
Freedom isn’t just for the wealthy or the white among us.
Freedom is perhaps the most sought after principle in the world.
Wars are fought over it, books and songs and poems are written about it.
People still come to the USA looking for the opportunity to be free and those of us already here work at sustaining our hard-won freedom and defending it from those who want to take it away.
Sometimes we talk about freedom as if it is a permanent state that is somehow guaranteed.
But is it?
Viewed through many different lenses–political, religious and speech among them–what is true freedom?
True freedom runs much deeper than simply flipping through the religious text of your choice or reciting the Second Amendment.
True freedom is the ability and capacity to live and act according to your deepest values, to be your own person, self-determined and free from the coercion of outside forces.
It takes courage to be true to yourself, to refrain from letting others define you or shape your existence.
And when we look at the levels of freedom other people around the world experience, we should be both grateful and appalled at what mankind is capable of.
There are 10 countries in the world where simply loving whom you choose can be punished by death.
Countless more individuals face political prosecution or find their speech limited by their government.
So never take for granted this great country and everything it stands for.
We may not always get it right … human nature being what it is. But we have not yet lost the ability to correct course and live by our collective values in a powerful and meaningful way.
And on a micro level, where are you holding yourself back?
Where are clutter, disorganization and wasted time undermining your ability to be free and independent?
Take a few moments and look at where you are limiting your own freedom.
Maybe it’s time to break free from the constraints that society, in the form of social norms or friends and family, have put on you to look a certain way, act a certain way or have a home filled with certain objects.
Perhaps it’s also time to let go of the stories you tell yourself that keep you bound up in dead-end relationships with stuff—stuff that doesn’t serve you, stuff that keeps you down.
Freedom is a practice we must do daily to enjoy its deepest rewards—a life free from clutter, distraction and regret at home …
And liberty throughout this great land to love one another and support each other in being our best and most generous selves every day.
Here’s to more love and less stuff!