Monday, July 1, 2013
Let Freedom Ring
I've always loved the phrase "Let freedom ring" from the lyrics written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831 for the song My Country 'Tis of Thee. Of course, it's well known that Smith swiped this patriotic melody from England's national anthem God Save the Queen. And prior to that, there 's plenty of evidence to indicate the tune probably originated as a galliard (or dance melody) that reaches all the way back to the Renaissance. Yet the idea of dancing to this tune only reinforces the impact of Smith's phrase for me. When I hear the words "Let freedom ring," it makes me feel as though liberty is an echo that can actually be heard deep within the heart—it's ring so pure & strong that it might even compel one to dance. And during July, the month of our annual Independence Day celebration in America, my thoughts naturally turn to what that freedom really means.
Because one thing I've noticed, in between getting sparklers ready for the 4th of July & preparing the inevitable casseroles & gooey desserts, is that when it comes to freedom, the heart never lies. You know whether you feel truly free or not—be that in your work or political environment, in your relationships, or even in your chosen spiritual traditions. When something feels "right", it's because it opens your life to more experiences & possibilities rather than restricts you. The job or love interest may carry with it great responsibility, but ultimately the burden is worth it for the reward of adding more color & radiance to your soul or physical experience of this world. But when an aspect of your life is actually denying you freedom & the ability to grow, no amount of money can truly compensate for that stress. It's never a surprise that clinical depression & a host of physical ailments usually begin to follow that coincidentally mirror the slow degradation of the human spirit. It's as though our hearts start to wither whenever we can no longer hear those notes of freedom that are always calling out to us—if we can pause long enough to listen.
So my wish for you this summer, as you watch fireworks burst in air & admire their magnificent colorscapes, is to take a moment to assess where you feel free & open to pursue possibilities in life—and more importantly, where you don't. And in those areas that you realize might have become crimped by external forces that no longer serve you well, I hope you'll be able to drum up the courage to one day declare your independence. Why? Because it's my genuine conviction that the world is at its finest when every soul within it shines to their full potential. Call me naïve, call me a dreamer—but I truly believe that. So here's a toast to YOU & all that you bring to this world when you know you're aligned with what makes you feel truly open, creative, full of life, and free. Think of it as not just a fleeting moment for you to enjoy once in a while, but rather as your divine destiny. Surely your purpose here is to be as fully YOU as possible (and not just a cheap imitation of someone else's goals or dreams). So please grab that sparkler & be brave! Remind yourself that the first step to authenticity is to let freedom ring in every corner of your heart & life experience. And as you follow the path it calls you to, may your soul one day embrace the confidence to unfurl its unique wings. After all, freedom looks so good on you...
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