Tuesday, March 25, 2003

The Freedom in New Beginnings

It's March. Here in Northern Michigan, the days are getting longer with the occasional taste of spring-like weather. And the light of the day is different. It seems to have more color to it. There are two grouse in my front yard. They have emerged from the snow-covered woodpile after three long months. On my daily walks with the dogs, I'm noticing more mouse tracks across the snowy field by my home. The grouse and the mice are certainly vulnerable. Brown bodies on a snowy white background make them much easier prey. Yet they are free.

What is so frightening and at the same time so wonderful about a new beginning? What excites me is the freedom inherent in every new beginning. What scares me is that I am vulnerable. Yet I can't separate the two. If I'm to be free, I'm to be vulnerable. I become energized by the possibility of freedom that a new beginning brings. When I seek to lessen my vulnerability by trying to cover all the contingencies, I actually diminish my freedom and the new beginning becomes too small for me.

Freedom is our original motivator. As a child, I was driven by freedom. Freedom incited learning to crawl, walk and feed myself. Freedom was in my heart when learning to ride my bike, swim, or read a simple book. Without a strong desire to be free, there would have been no sense in placing myself in such vulnerable situations where I’d likely failed numerous times before I succeeded. As a child, any endeavor we attempted was successful if we achieved a little more freedom for our efforts.

Now, as adults, we often give the vulnerability part of a new beginning more importance and weight. Thus we feel the freedom a new beginning will bring and then immediately weigh it against our vulnerability and lose our orientation. In doing this, our new beginning becomes a much smaller endeavor that no longer represents freedom but, instead, security. We diminish our endeavor to the point where it no longer serves us and, in the process, lose a little more freedom.

Our lives and work must envelop freedom or they come down to nothing more than a means of providing.

"People frequently say to me you're such a free spirit! Aren't spirits made to be free? We are all free spirits. We must choose to practice freedom." ~Sark

"We must determine whether we really want freedom--whether we are willing to dare the perils of...rebirth... For we never take a step forward without surrendering something that we may have held dear, without dying to that which has been." ~Virginia Hanson

"Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of fear is a freedom." ~Marilyn Ferguson

"When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable." ~Madeleine L'Engle, "Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art"

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