Wednesday, November 19

The Chains on Freedom

“When your world's crashing down
like you've lost every round
Stand your ground
And ring the bells of freedom”
– “Bells of Freedom” - Bon Jovi

“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

It’s the beginning of one of the most powerful documents ever written. It lays out the basic assumptions of an individual’s rights and freedoms. When you think about it, you can’t help but have a big rush of feelings and thoughts. Hold on to those for a second and walk with me on a related topic.

Freedom…we all want it, right? No one would willingly place themselves in slavery or servitude…would they?

Take a look around, in fact; take a good look at your own life. Let’s see exactly how “free” you are.

Can you pick up and leave whenever you want? Probably not.
Can you knock down your house and build a glass shack on stilts? Not if you live in a neighborhood community.
Can you open your front door and let your dog run around the neighborhood? Doubt it.

But, really…that’s not the kinds of freedom I wanna talk about today. :-)

I want to see you all freed from the chains that you have willingly placed around your own spirits. The chains of your mistakes, you personal judgments, your weaknesses, your suffering. These are the true things that keep you from being free.

We are weighed down with all the shit from this world and, as if that wasn’t enough, we continue to heap it on ourselves. And every chain that we add, while it seems to fit us so well, is simply locking our spirits and heart down closer to this world.

Remember…this world is only meant for one purpose. That’s to keep you from focusing on the important parts of life. Heart, Spirit, Love…these are the important parts of life. Everything else? That’s just the shit that keeps you from living a true, whole life.

Now, if I had a magic skeleton key that could drop all your chains at the same time and free your heart and spirit to fly…I’d be freeing you right now. But, unfortunately, there is no such silver bullet. It’s a process, one that requires a bit of work.

See, the only one that can take the chains off of you, is you. Hey, you put ‘em on…you take ‘em off. :-)

The hardest part is going to be actually recognizing the chains that you wear. See, we wear some of them for SO long that we come to think of them as an integral part of our lives. Sometimes it takes asking another to help for you to see that you wear them at all.

The good news? What? You want GOOD NEWS? :-) You CAN do it. There is really nothing that can stop you if you decide that you WANT to be free.

It will take some dedicated self-searching, self-awareness, and openness, but you CAN unlock every chain that you wear. Remember that you don’t HAVE to do this alone. The people that love you can become a great source of help in picking these damn locks. Sometimes, they can make the work easy and share the burden of lifting those chains from your neck. That’s why they’ve been placed in your life.

So tell me…what truths do you hold to be self-evident? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Or are you going to aim a bit higher?

How about Heart, Spirit, and a whole life free from the bonds of this world?

Yea…I think that might work for me. See ya on the other side!

Monday, November 17

Extreme Crisis…

“Walking in the footsteps
Of society’s lies
I don’t like what I see no more
Sometimes I wish that I was blind
Sometimes I wait forever
To stand out in the rain
So no one sees me cryin’
Trying to wash away the pain”
– “Keep the Faith” - Bon Jovi

Everyone has moments of hopelessness, despair, disillusionment, or even simply being lost. There are lots of things in our world today that compound those feelings and make them last longer than they have any right to.

Firstly, let me say that those feelings are NORMAL. The human spirit moves in cycles and waves. We all experience highs and lows throughout life. Again…that is NORMAL!

The problems come when we start to spend an inordinate amount of time at any one extreme. Yes, even spending all your time at the extreme of happiness is NOT good for you or your spirit. Life is meant to be a flow, a give and take, that will bring you through and help you to be a whole, well rounded person.

The danger of our world today, is not in spending all our time on the happy-side…it’s spending all our time on the sad-side. We have a great amount of anger, despair, sorrow, pain, etc, in our world. It seems that everyone is affected by it to some degree. Hell, we’ve generated a multi-billion dollar industry just servicing all the new pills to try to keep people away from the “Dark-side”. Damn…where’s Obi Wan Kenobi when you need him! :-)

Now...does anyone in the crowd believe that taking more pills is the answer to this situation? Good. See…the medications DO help. And I’m not taking anything away from the meds themselves. I actually think that they can and are a god thing. We have, however, become a culture that is more focused on medicating the symptoms, rather than treating the actual problem.

So…what IS the actual problem? And how can we treat it?

Those are the 100 Million dollar questions right there. Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get a variety of answers. Even from all the supposed “experts”. There is simply no consensus on what the hell is going on with people.

How is it that a suburban soccer mom can quietly and calmly snap and drown all of her kids? Or, seemingly normal people pull out guns and start shooting people before turning the gun on themselves? Or, perhaps the 12 year old that’s delivering her 12 year old boyfriend’s baby?

This isn’t a normal crisis that people might have the skills to deal with. This is a crisis of the Heart and Spirit. And we as a people are woefully unprepared to deal with that in any way.

We almost seem to have lost the capacity to “Love one another”. The most common responses are anger, frustration, rage, and even violence. And even IF the response is love, compassion, empathy, then it’s not usually received at all. It’s almost as if we can’t accept those feelings from another person. We’ve been SO hammered and beaten by all the “Dark” emotions that they have become our norm!

It’s amazing what a person can get used to, isn’t it?

We have example all over. The abused spouse that stays with the abuser. The level of injustice that is accepted by some people. The loss and need that goes unmet for LOTS of people.

I really can’t give you a total package solution. I wish I could. All I can give you is the way I believe we, as individuals, can work to make things better.

I believe that it all comes down to love. Plain and simple. I’m not talking about love for your immediate family and a few close friends. I’m talking about love for EVERYONE. From your immediate family to the random people that you meet every day. Express love for EVERYONE. Whether it’s a smile and a friendly “Hello”, a warm hug, or maybe a kiss at the end of the day, express love.

We have become so mired in the shit. We are deluged with it all the time, newspapers, TV, radio, it’s everywhere. Goodness, love, happiness, joy…these things DON’T sell. You won’t find many uplifting stories reported by ANY news agency. Tragedy and misery are the money makers.

That leaves it up to each of us to take the stand and make our small slice of the world a brighter place. If each of us could make our part of the world a loving, accepting, caring place, then the Spirit of the world could be changed. I’m not saying that it’ll be easy. You’ll be going against the norm for just about everyone. It might take a while for people to see that this is how you’re going to treat them and figure out how to respond in turn. It’s a slow process, but they WILL learn to respond. And by teaching them, you’re expanding your circle of love in the world.

Don’t be dejected if someone tries to take advantage of your love and compassion. Some people will always try. Just smile at them and let them go on their way.

So, I’ll leave you today with a simple thought that’s hard to pull off…

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi