The Attitude Doc- Senior Dating & Vibrancy Articles

It’s that time of year again when parades are planned down Main Street; red, white and blue paper plates and napkins are selected for the neighborhood BBQ; animals seem to find little comfort from the uproar, and the tumult of fireworks either attracts or repels folks. Independence Day, 2005. The day our country declared her freedom. The day ole’ glory is displayed from most homes, businesses and light posts. The day most associated with freedom.

The dictionary has 11 different meanings for the word freedom, but the ones most relevant to this month’s message are as follows:

  • The state of being unaffected by, or not subject to, something unpleasant or unwanted.
  • The ability to exercise free will and make choices independently of any external determining force.

You’re invited to reflect on the meaning of freedom for yourself by referring to the four aspects of our nature; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual as a guide.

Physically, you may feel a sense of freedom when you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and without any undesirable results, such as weight gain, salt retention, poor digestion, etc. “Go ahead and take another helping—you deserve it,” the voice says. And you do. Another sure sign of freedom might be the ability to physically come and go as you please, without any constraints. So what if you moved from your friendly neighborhood just because a neurotic neighbor got the best of you?

Mentally, you have the power over your thoughts—or do you? A habit is a repetitive pattern that is often unconscious. Negative thinking can be habitual, even though you know it is harmful, promotes separation and is totally unproductive. You’re not in control. The thoughts of criticism and judgment precede the words and before you know it, the devastation and suffering has been inflicted.

Emotionally, you might profess freedom when feelings are spouted off to another, showing no signs of compassion, respect or empathy. Through the guise of freedom of speech, the recipient of those “bullets” has been seriously damaged. Then there are others who have been raised to deny, resist and put a lid on feelings. They have the freedom to feel or shut down. What choices are made? Beliefs such as, “It’s not safe to share feelings” and “Don’t make waves” have done more harm to the pursuit of happiness than one could imagine.

Spiritually, it is understood that we have the right to profess our faith through whatever means we choose. Did the Jews in Germany have the right to practice their faith? Surely the indigenous people—the Native Americans, Hawaiians, and Aborigines were greatly influenced to change their ways and be saved. Then we have the “New Agers” who seem to believe anything goes. Groups disagree, go their own ways and before long a new sect has been declared and more dogma has been established. Is this true freedom, or is it the manifestation of being run by a set of beliefs that encourage you to be right while making others wrong?

The state of being unaffected is to not be influenced by another’s ability to sway or persuade. You choose to be committed to your values and ideals, regardless. To exercise free will and make choices independently of any external determining force is using the greatest gift you have been given at birth. This is acting from soul guidance rather than by the habits that you’ve accumulated over the years that have more power over you than you may care to admit.

Freedom is discipline. When you’ve learned to discipline and train your mind to achieve peace and oneness, you have gained a degree of freedom. When you want that more than being right, wanting to get even or to hurt another because you’ve been hurt, you will start to know freedom. The more you make those kinds of choices, the more you’ll experience the inner not the outer victories (although that could come also). To be empowered is to choose to overcome a situation, a temptation, or a destructive habit, and to be untouched by the challenges of life. You become a master at demonstrating resiliency through the use of your free will. No longer are you the victim of your habits or moods. Freedom is choosing to move forward with trust and wisdom, knowing who you are, living with an attitude of gratitude for the gift of choice.

Celebrate your own independence this 4th of July and experience true freedom.