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Around this holiday time I often ask myself what it means to be free.  Not only as an American but also as a person who places freedom among her most treasured values.   Freedom means different things to different people, for me it is more than having the civil rights to express myself and live without shackles. It is also the opportunity to seek out and experience what I want most for myself and the people I surround myself with.  On a deeper level, freedom is ability to let go of the fear and doubt that become barriers to our inner freedom.  This is where I need to be to be truly free.

But feeling free isn’t the same for everyone.  Just as we each have our own beliefs, attachments and experiences we also have different ideas about what defines personal freedom.  For me feeling selfassured and content is liberating. Often it comes from the acknowledgment of people I love or respect, and sometimes it comes from breaking boundaries, setting goals, and achieving them.

I imagine that it is not easy being dependent on another because you are physically disabled or in need financially. Thinking about these settings makes me sad yet grateful for my independence.  I recognize that it takes more than courage to live through and hopefully overcome and illness or loss.  But what I do know is coming from a mindset of gratitude and selfcompassion helps me get through the day when I feel the headwinds in my face.

From my perspective, freedom doesn’t just present itself, it takes courage in the face of what appears to be an unscalable hurdles.  As the 4th of July feeling grateful that for the courageous, beautiful and loving people in my who showed me the way to be brave and fly free.


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