Posts Tagged ‘Laboulaye’

Our Statue of Liberty Has Chains At Her Feet. Do You?

statue of liberty 1 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

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.” — AbrahamSpring Cherry Blossoms

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? 

 

 

 

 

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Rise Up by Andra Day

What a great set of words for these oncoming days.

Rise Up

 
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
For you
For you
For you
For you
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Cassandra Monique Batie / Jennifer Decilveo
Rise Up lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry is here! 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.

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Rippling Abs, Anyone?

Rippling Abs, Anyone?

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.
 

Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry is here! 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.

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Check Out This Troublemaker in Relationships

Check Out This Troublemaker in Relationships

Sometimes we ask intimate partners to do for us what is actually ours to do.

We ask our partner to give us the reassurance, love or appreciation we feel is missing in ourselves, with the hope that they will give us what we’re asking for—and then we’ll feel better. They’ll take care of our problem.

But when they do give us what we’re asking for, it can never be enough, because we have insufficient context for what they’ve given. We haven’t build the inner foundation to receive it, hear it, welcome it, believe it. They try to help, but their love for us falls into our void, our black hole, our love bucket with no bottom.

As always, there’s hope. Check out the video below.

Terri Crosby. http://www.incareofrelationships.com/.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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Terri Crosby

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