"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Live Free or Die

There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail. (Erich Fromm)

There is no such thing as a little freedom. Either you are all free, or you are not free. (Walter Cronkite)

Within yourself deliverance must be searched for, because each man makes his own prison. (Edwin Arnold)

I spent yesterday, my birthday, in New Hampshire. New Hampshire not only is a gorgeous state of mountains, lakes, rivers and the ocean, it also bears a great slogan... LIVE FREE OR DIE.

This phrase can mean different things to different people. Some people will think of it politically while others will think of it in a more esoteric way. My former dentist took these words literally and refused to pay her taxes ending up without any freedom and behind bars, but I like to think of the words in a different light - for the free spirits.

I am a free spirit. Many artistic people march by the beat of their own drum. A free spirit defies definition. They cannot be contained or put in a box. A free spirit likes to live life in the moment, to it's fullest and has trouble committing to something in case something better comes up. A free spirit does not like limits - they find them to be suffocating and get in the way of their fun. A free spirit is an independent sort, wanting to live life on their terms and in their way. Most free spirit's are quite creative and passionate. You cannot nail a free spirit down on a time or a place to meet for they prefer to drift through life without confines. A free spirited child is hard to raise because they just don't want you to tell them what to do! Free spirit's can be a lot of fun to be with but can be a bit exasperating if you want a relationship with them because they don't like to be caught. While they want the thrill of love, they don't really want to be tied down. If you are not yourself a free spirit but are in a relationship with one, you may like to read this blog for 10 great tips on how to "tame" a free spirit.

My definition of a free spirit is someone who exercises their freedom to it's fullest capacity. A true free spirit values their independence so highly that to be confined makes them crazy. They want to spread their wings and fly in the deepest way. This thinking often gives them a creative edge because they can devote themselves to their work without thought for others needs at the time.

Lest you are despairing right now because one, you feel you are a free spirit and are doomed to a life of selfishness or two, you are not a free spirit and are worrying about how boring you have become, rest assured, we are all on a continuum. Each of us, has a little free spirit in us that can be tapped! The trick is to identify your limits and push them just a tad. Let's look at the adventurous spirits for example.

States like New Hampshire, Vermont and California attract free spirits who seek adventure. I see people driving down mountain roads on their motorcycles flying as if they are birds or people hiking on mountain trails, or swimming in mountain streams. Hang gliding off a high point or scaling up the side of a stone wall can bring adrenal rushes. These are true free-spirited adventures and not for everyone.

There is a danger component to most adventure sometimes resulting in death. It is not uncommon for one bad calculation to result in disastrous consequences.

Someone with very little free spirit in them would say... stay home to avoid calamity.  Why risk it?

We can take this line of thinking further. Why risk traveling on a plane because it could crash? Why get in the car because accidents happen every day? Why dive in a lake because it could be shallow and you may break your neck and be paralyzed?  Why eat at a restaurant because the food could be contaminated and you will get sick? Why ask your boss for a raise because they may turn around and fire you because you are demanding? Why bring up a sore subject with your spouse or child because it could cause a fight? Why ask that person out because they could say no and break your heart? Why... why...why? Pretty soon we find we have so limited our freedom by our fears that the quality of our lives has diminished. We all weigh our risks, for some the risk outweighs the benefit. It's your call.

My uncle is an avid biker. I love going for rides with him but have to admit, I get a big scared. My anxieties about wiping out in front of a car and being ground as hamburger get the best of me. He said to me once that he believed the day he was to die had already been decided and he could just as easily have a heart attack or slip in the shower as to get in a motorcycle accident. You die when it's your time. He said that he would not live in fear of death. Think of all the fun he would have missed if he stayed in his LazyBoy instead of pursuing his passions.

How many of us have limited our personal freedom because we are afraid to die, fail or be disappointed? This slogan suggests that there is no point to life unless you are free to LIVE YOUR LIFE IN FREEDOM.

Free people smile and have a bounce in their step. Free people make others happy because their light-heartedness is contagious. Free people know how to REALLY LIVE!

Freedom is a right in this country. America, land of the free and home of the brave. People died for our freedom and still do. God designed us to value freedom by giving us a free will.

Do you feel free? Are you bound by something that keeps you from living freely? Are your limits of your own doing or in your head?

Today, take a look at your life and take stock of where you are feeling a bit weighed down. It might be time to set yourself free from things that no longer serve a good purpose in your life. Do not live like you are dead... live like you are free - because you are! The choices are always yours! You are only limited by your mind and how you view things! So celebrate your freedom... dance.... sing....whistle....play ... take a chance on something .... it's good for the soul!

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