Definition of Obedience: Compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another’s authority.
Obedience demands that we close our eyes, ears and especially our heart to do what somebody else wants.
Obedience should not seem normal to us. Obedience holds a beautiful soul under water until it cries uncle.
Thinking that obedience is a good thing presupposes that the people we obey have a higher knowledge, when in fact, they often do not. No one else knows you, why you came here, or what you came here to do. Only you do.
Life is too short to figure out how to please others and yourself, so pick one.
You simply can’t change yourself in enough ways to make the fickle folks around you happy.
Give it up. It’s a lose-lose proposition.
Do what you need to do and give others the golden opportunity to get over themselves.
Most everybody alive has been trained away from who they are.
Be quiet. Do this. Don’t do that. Color inside the lines. This is right. That is wrong.
But you can recover yourself today in this small moment.
Did your young daily life revolve around approval from others? Let it go…
When your freedom is calling you, run, baby run! Speak, baby, speak! Stand up baby, stand up!
“Art wasn’t accepted in my family, so I went to medical school.”
“Growing up, I wanted to play piano and sing, but I was not allowed to go near my mother’s piano. She was a well-known performer, sang with the big bands of her era and lived quite the life. She made it clear there was room for only one musician in the family, so I took a different path. I’m in my sixties now and I’ve discovered I’m a jazz singer. I also play classical piano. I’ve got a lot of music in me!”
“I wanted to go to cooking school, but my father talked me out of it and added a little pressure for good measure. He wouldn’t pay my college tuition unless I went to Ag College.”
Once a dream is smashed, it can take even the brightest person years to circle back around and give it another go.
But it’s never too late!
Don’t fall for media fervor ’cause that’s just another form of obedience.
Stay out of the word swirl. It messes with you. Turn off the radio. Put down the foreboding newspaper article. Click off the TV. The nightly news will happily hand you a head full of gory details you don’t need.
Keep your mind clear to do what you came here to do.
Now reach for your wings. Definition of Freedom: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
Did you know our Statue of Liberty wears shackles and chains at her feet? Do you know why? And why would I (relationship writer) be talking about this?
The Statue of Liberty, that sits on Liberty Island in New York harbor, was conceived by the French abolitionist Edouard de Laboulaye. In 1865, the year the United States abolished slavery, Laboulaye discussed the idea of a monument to honor the emancipation of slaves in America with French sculptor Frederic Bartholdi.
(By the way, did you know that slavery didn’t end on Jan. 1, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation? It officially ended on December 6, 1865, the day the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. The 13th amendment says “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”)
Although Laboulaye and Bartholdi had envisioned a statue holding broken chains and shackles, American financiers did not want chains on the monument, or any mention of slavery, and insisted the chains be removed. Because the French faced difficult economic times and couldn’t fund the project fully themselves, they relied on American money to complete the project. Bartholdi eventually compromised to avoid losing American financial support. He eventually agreed to remove the chains from Lady Liberty’s hand, and replace them with a book.
But what many of us don’t realize is that Bartholdi left the shackles and broken chains at her feet. Because of the height of the pedestal built to support the statue, the shackles and chains are invisible to visitors on the ground. You can only see the chains from a helicopter. You can only see them “from above.”
SO WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH YOU OR ME?
Quite a bit, actually. I’ll go straight for it.
I very much appreciate that Laboulaye was an abolitionist, and that his desire was to celebrate the end of slavery in America. I’m all for that. Being raised Quaker, I remember hearing in Sunday School about Quakers helping slaves. Quakers actually played a major role in organizing and running the Underground Railroad, which was a system of secret routes and safe-houses that helped runaway slaves reach freedom in the northern states and in Canada. Quakers believe it is a moral duty to support freedom for all. After all, Quakers are a pretty spunky bunch and left England for America because they wanted freedom from bowing to the rules of royalty, religious or otherwise.
Even though we can’t (easily) see the chains on the Statue of Liberty, they are there. And while it’s doubtful that American financiers, who likely made their fortunes through the use of slaves, were pure in their motives about not wanting chains on the statue, nevertheless, the spirit and essence of freedom is not celebrated by bringing chains of the past (visible or invisible) into the present.
Broken chains are a celebration of resistance, not freedom.
It’s impossible to view shackles and chains and think “freedom.”
To celebrate true clean-as-a-whistle freedom, leave shackles out of the picture. To create a new life, with total freedom to move forward, it’s vital to turn my full attention from where I’ve been to where I’m going. While it may be tempting to throw stones as I leave, or emphasize the struggle, that won’t help because it chains me to my past through continuing resistance. If I’m throwing stones, even silently in my head, I’m still pushing against what happened in my past. If I’m talking about the struggle, and I’ve got broken chains to prove it, I’m keeping the feeling of my past active in me. The (not so) funny thing is, resistance to my past glues it to me.
So, the moral of the story is, don’t be a slave to a habit of resistance.
Resistance slows you down and keeps you un-free.
Honoring the struggle of the past will keep you there, too.
Instead, choose to make a clean break.
This, by the way, requires impeccable awareness.
It also requires a strong, clear desire to move cleanly in a new direction.
Can being resistant be useful somehow? Sure, if you notice it. Pay attention to how your body feels and you’ll be able to catch it. Use resistance to remind you to wake up. When you wake up, be vigilant about noticing when you’ve slipped into exploring old territory again.
Touch on your past just enough to notice what you want now — in the present. Turn entirely toward that. Use your past as a springboard.
Original vs. Final Design
BE AWAKE SO THAT YOU CAN BE INTENTIONAL.
If I want my relationship with my husband to improve, I don’t accomplish this by continuously telling my friends why things aren’t working, or what a schmuck he is. That plan won’t help me create a relationship I truly want! Pointing out the many ways he’s wrong, and how I’m the smart one, of course — that won’t help either.
To begin to change, I turn my attention to being who I am, not to the small, un-free, victim version of me. I don’t keep my attention on feeling stuck. Or on the belief that he’s the true problem. I let old ideas sit right where they are. I don’t pick them up and play with them. Why? Because I’m no longer fascinated by them. Neither am I fascinated by the drama of how things aren’t working. Or by who’s wrong and who’s right. It’s old news and it didn’t work. I leave the old stuff alone, like abandoned toys, and I deliberately and consciously get up and walk out of the room.
I turn my attention to what I want now, which I’m aware of precisely because of my difficult past. Gradually, I begin to feel genuine appreciation for my past because it helped me clarify important desires. This might take a little while, but we can get there eventually. (Yes, I know. At first it feels irritating that the biggest thorn in my side becomes my growth opportunity. Oh, joy!!!)
From my own personal experience, and from working with couples, I can report that it’s often quite a challenge to set aside old expectations in a relationship. Sometimes it feels more natural to discuss past details and justify why we feel the way we do rather than head straight for a solution. But talking about the problem reinforces the problem. Dwelling on the past keeps us there.
If I believe my partner is the reason I can’t be happy, I’m expressing my own personal, self-inflicted version of slavery. This may sound like an exaggeration, but in essence, it is not. I’ve been married four times, and divorced three. I learned about moving toward freedom in marriage number four. Trust me, you want to leave the chains of the past behind.
“You’re so free you can choose bondage.” — Abraham
In marriage or otherwise, we get more of whatever we pay attention to. If you prefer a feeling of freedom, pay close attention to when you experience that, and celebrate those moments.
Watch how things change!
By focusing on what you prefer, shackles fade into the sunset and they keep right on fading unless you miss them, call them back or invite them to tea. If you leave the past in the past, your new priorities can blossom. And what’s more beautiful than the long-awaited crocus, or cascading cherry blossoms, or a spring tulip all pretty in pink?
You’re broken down and tired Of living life on a merry go round And you can’t find the fighter But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out And move mountains We gonna walk it out And move mountains
And I’ll rise up I’ll rise like the day I’ll rise up I’ll rise unafraid I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again And I’ll rise up High like the waves I’ll rise up In spite of the ache I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you For you For you For you
When the silence isn’t quiet And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe And I know you feel like dying But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet And move mountains Bring it to its feet And move mountains
And I’ll rise up I’ll rise like the day I’ll rise up I’ll rise unafraid I’ll rise up And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you For you For you For you
All we need, all we need is hope And for that we have each other And for that we have each other And we will rise We will rise We’ll rise, oh, oh We’ll rise
I’ll rise up Rise like the day I’ll rise up In spite of the ache I will rise a thousand times again And we’ll rise up High like the waves We’ll rise up In spite of the ache We’ll rise up And we’ll do it a thousand times again
During this strange time in history, I noticed y’all were tackling all sorts of interesting projects. I decided I needed one, too—something positive to remember the pandemic of 2020 by.
I decided to pay attention to something I had abandoned…
Nope, I’m not cleaning my garage. I am not organizing one single thing. I’m not planting a garden or cleaning up my yard.
Instead, I decided to take care of myself better. This, folks, has made all the difference for me.
With relatively little time and effort on my part, I feel so much better than I did a month ago.
On March 30, I got on the exercise bike and the yoga mat for the first time in a long time, and did 30 minutes each. I liked it so much that I decided to do it every day. But I fell short of that, and changed my commitment to every other day, which felt more manageable, reasonable, and doable.
I also get off the bike after every song, take a couple of sips of water, shake out my legs and arms for a few seconds, and get back on. This makes the bike project a reasonable proposition, too.
Daily walks of any length—by myself, or with my little guy, Jackson—are a fresh air bonus.
My recumbent exercise bike has pulleys to work my upper body while I pedal, which gets my heart rate up fast, and also helps my whole-body strength. It feels good to get up from writing, or doing a consulting session with a client, to do something physically challenging while listening to good music.
After only a month, I feel a sheet of muscles on the front of me I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. Goodness gracious. Who knew they were there. I’ll be posting rippling ab photos soon, I’m sure.
I have no idea what the scales have to say about my bike/yoga project—I don’t care. Paying attention to scales tends to send me sideways, and therefore, I’m ignoring them completely.
But—I LOVE the way I feel! Hang in there, everyone.