Saturday, July 4, 2009

Real Freedom

I cannot take credit for the following. It was part of an email I received from my friend Kate Hawkes 5 years ago.

I still think there is much to think about here. Real Independence. Real Freedom. Not just flag waving and fireworks.

I wish you all peace and REAL freedom.

- kc

So the madness of the rush to celebrate is over. While it feels entirely appropriate for children to express their excitement with noise and bright lights and a frantic There it is! and Look! and Where is the next bright bang? I find that I am less in sync with that and more wanting to reassure the dog, admire the cat's ability to ignore it all (mind you she doesn't want to go outside) and wait until it is quiet again. I don't think that I am getting old and stodgy. I just realize, perhaps, that the colored lights, huge noises and the bigger, brighter more breathtakingly violent expressions of 'independence miss the real quality of that gift.
Surprisingly, real independence is in the still center, where we are responsible to others and ourselves, to some extent alone to make our own mistakes, and then to truly have real pride in our own achievements. That is real freedom. I wonder if the world we live in is afraid of that real freedom - is it easier to have others make the rules? Others to go to when something goes wrong? To hold them responsible? To get permission to see what we should and shouldn't do in our lives? And as more of those rules leak into our daily lives so we move further and further away from being able to both appreciate and express our freedom. We need more noise and brighter lights to hide from the still, quiet center of freedom... better this unceasing entertainment of talking about freedom than the more frightening and often rather dull act of living it.
So when the last explosion with the last sharp blossom fades out of the night sky, the night sounds settle back over the dark skyline, and the dog stops shaking, then I celebrate.
I wish for my daughter the courage to really live with/in freedom, examples from which to learn on how to do that, and the time and space to sit in the midst of that still quiet center often enough to recognize it when out in the noise of the world.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Beautiful. It is rare we all just stop and sit without distraction, so true. This is why even though I work from home and have the radio, tv, movies, iTunes, etc right there I tend to type away in blissful silence with my phone on vibrate mode most of the day. It helps me stay more focused (most of the time) and not so overwhelmed inside my head. Thanks for the reminder!