“Freedom ain’t a state like Maine or Virginia Freedom ain’t across some county line. Freedom is a flame that burns within ya, Freedom’s in the state of mind.”
As a child, I saw this song performed on Broadway. The song in the show was about Freedom during the Civil War. Yet even then, I knew the words meant more than Freedom of the slaves or the freedom of pacifists during the war. The message is powerful and true for every person on the planet. Our own freedom is our state of mind. Is that FREEING?
We keep ourselves from Freedom by creating boxes or rules. We create our own rules, we have rules taught to us about how we are supposed to live, speak, act, feel and more. Each day it is our choice if we follow the rules or if we allow ourself freedom to live! I’m not talking about breaking laws or saying or doing anything to hurt yourself or anyone else. I’m talking about living as our true selves comfortable in our own skin. FREEDOM!
“Freedom ain’t a boat that’s leavin’ without ya, Freedom ain’t a place ya float to find. Freedom is the how ya think about ya Freedom’s in the state of mind”
Our desire to be accepted and loved can affect our choice of living our lives FREE. Not following the “rules” society has ingrained or taught by our parents or peers can lead us to feeling shame and so we construct our own constricted life to fit in.
I have always had a long loud laugh. When I was around 10 years old, I recall hearing comments from a variety of people about my loud laugh. “children should be seen and not heard” comes to mind; ladylike does not include loudlylike; wow, you can hear that laugh across the room and more, none of them embraced my laugh. I was headed down the road of puberty at the time and desperately wanted to be liked and fit in. My choice was to place my hand over my mouth when I laughed so I could stifle my own laughter. A laughter prison cell of sorts. What did that do for me? Well, my laugh didn’t stick out and call attention that I was different and so I fit IN. It also affected my ability to fully enjoy funny experiences for a VERY long time. I realized much later, I stifled my feelings.
“You can’t get to freedom by ridin’ a train The only way to freedom is right on through your brain. Freedom is a notion sweepin’ the nation Freedom is the right of all mankind. Freedom is a body’s ‘magination Freedom’s in the state of mind. Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom. Freedom is a notion sweepin’ the nation Freedom is a body’s ‘magination, Freedom is a full time occupation, Freedom’s in the state of mind” * Freedom, from Shenandoah, by Geld and Udell
If I could choose to condemn my own expression of laughter, something simple and easy, what other chains and prisons do we create that keeps us from FREEDOM due to the fear of SHAME?
My own self work and allowing myself to truly hear my laughter (it slipped out beyond my control occasionally) began to change my perspective. I felt FREE when I wasn’t focused on controlling my laugh and it slipped out naturally. I decided to release my laugh from prison permanently. And one day a confirmation came when a friend shared: “Marni, I LOVE your laugh. It makes me smile and laugh even more deeply. It is infectious.”
My FREEDOM affected other people and my laughter helped others lighten a moment in their day. It wasn’t off putting, it was healing and joyful because I rewrote “the rules” for myself. Are there rules you’ve written to protect yourself from shame? Are you ready to erase the prison forever (one brick at a time or all at once depending on how you process)?
As we move into this celebration of our Country’s freedom, Free yourself, Free your mind, CELEBRATE and ENJOY your Freedom.