July 4, 2014
Wishing you a wonderfully fun day with family and friends, on this day of celebration! I am continually reminded of the amazing good fortune we have to live in this country of independence. I live in an area of town with many immigrants from all around the globe. Sixty eight languages are spoken by the children in the local school system. Many come from war torn countries whose leaders are neglectful of their primary responsibility to nurture and foster the wellbeing of their citizens. When I see the colorful attire, especially that of the women and girls, which identifies both country of origin, and often religion, I am again reminded of the freedoms for which I am grateful.
I have the freedom to work outside the home. I have the freedom to own property in my own name. I have the freedom to ask for and receive a divorce. I have the freedom to practice any religion I choose. I have the freedom to marry or not marry the man of my choice. I have the freedom to dress in any way I choose (short of going naked in the street and even that is legal in private enclaves). I have the freedom to walk beside or in front of my husband. I have the freedom to hold checking and saving accounts in my own name without my father's, husband's, or son's signature. I have the freedom to seek an education. I have the freedom to drive. I have the freedom to speak my mind. I have the freedom to my own beliefs. I have the freedom to write this blog. I have the freedom to vote. I have so many freedoms!
This is not to say that there are not still strides to be made in this country with regards to human rights around gender, religion, sexual orientation, and race; or that there is not political machination to silence dissenters. But, compared to many other countries, we are leaps and bounds ahead when it comes to individual freedoms.
Eleanor Roosevelt said "Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility."
What is that responsibility? The responsibility lies in the active side of freedom: Choice. Every day we make many, many choices. We may not recognize that we are doing so because we fail to recognize that we have choice. We become so accustomed to routine that we don't even question or recognize that each action and inaction is a choice, that each response to circumstances is a choice. In every moment we have the choice of how to live. This doesn't mean that we have control of all of our external circumstances. And, it doesn't mean that we can reject what is. What it does mean is that we have the choice of how we respond to circumstances.
I was asked this week if I believe in Destiny or Free Will. I believe in destiny AND in free will. You could think of it as "destiny is what happens to us", "free will is what we choose to do in response to destiny." It is in that choice that we have freedom and are responsible. No one else can dictate our response. If a meteor lands on our house we can lament the loss of the house or celebrate the opportunity for change that the loss allows... It is our choice. If we had an abusive parent we can hold on to being a victim for life and perpetuate the pattern into the future generations, or we can celebrate the lessons and strength that was born out of their treatment – and use those lessons to change the future for our lineage. It is our choice.
Each and every day I have the freedom to choose responsibly for myself.
Emile Coué said "Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better". ("Tous les jours, a tous points de vue, je vais de mieux en mieux.")
I would like to add to this "at making wise choices." Let's celebrate making better and better choices each and every day.
Happy Holiday to You!
Best wishes for a lovely summer.