Reflections on freedom
Then we got the news that the SCOTUS decided all my fellow citizens should be free to hide a gun in their pocket, not a freedom that I embrace. I found myself beginning to wonder if freedom might be over-rated. I questioned whether that sentiment would go over well with my new neighbors, so I decided to try again later.
The next day, I ran across following quote while reading Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, The Book of Joy, about the Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu: ‘Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space, lies our freedom and our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and happiness.’ I love this idea that as long as I have some cognitive control, I can think whatever I want. While this conception has personal appeal, it also made me feel privileged and oblivious to the stifling oppression that folks around the world face. So, I decided to try again later.
And, today, as I got the email that the freedom remarks are due tomorrow, I found myself overwhelmed by the outpouring of rage on social media about the loss of reproductive freedom for so many women in America. I was reminded that it’s easy to take our freedoms for granted, so I decided to write something.
So, my thoughts on freedom do not cohere into a pithy newsletter contribution, rather, I am as perplexed as ever about freedom. Is it a state of mind or a state of being? Can we have too much of it? And perhaps, most relevant to Washington Commons, when does my neighbor’s freedom impinge on my well-being?” - Becki
“Your request brought to mind a cheerful song I often sing while ‘cat dancing.’ You need a cooperative cat who will let you hold him and dance around the room, at least for a minute or two. The song is ‘Free A Little Bird,’ and you can hear it on YouTube.” - Fran
“Freedom for me this 4th of July, is being able to lightly salt my salad one year after my heart attack (July 2, 2021).” - Patrick
“Thich Nhat Hahn’s gatha ‘Breathing in, I am home - Breathing out, I am free’ defines freedom for me. May all beings, visible and invisible, past, present and future be intimate with their breath. May they be home, be free…” - Sandra
“‘Freedom! Freedom! Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, I'm almost gone, a long, long way from home. When I need my mother or my brother, I can telegraph them from my heart. Freedom! Freedom!’ (Richie Havens, Freedom [Motherless Child]).
I'm dating myself with lyrics from Richie Havens. (No, I wasn't at Woodstock in August 1969. A story for another time.)” - Stu P
“‘It’s about freedom,’ I said. I was one of many speakers testifying in support of access to sidewalks by people with disabilities. The speaker before me noted our city council’s diverse makeup. She said to them, ‘Many of you wouldn’t be here if people hadn’t demonstrated for civil rights.’
Her statement brought tears to my eyes and the realization that the issue was about freedom — and fighting for freedom. Freedom to move about unhindered by obstacles. Freedom to go where you want to go... on foot or in a wheelchair. Freedom deserved by all.” - Anne
“‘Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose,’ (Kris Kristofferson, Me and Bobby McGee).
‘And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor,’ (Declaration of Independence, 1776).
‘Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here,’ said Captain Parker, to those first farmers attempting to secure their rights. Engraved on the Minuteman Monument in the Lexington MA green where the first shots were heard.” - Tom
“As we approach this July 4th, I must say I am worried for this noble experiment that is America. We seem to be hanging by a thread, deeply divided, fearful of the 'other', and confused over facts and 'alternate facts.' In looking for a quote on freedom for this time, I found the following one by Aung San Suu Kyi's particularly poignant:
‘The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is the freedom from fear.’” - Barbara
“I value not only freedom of religion, but from religion. There’s lots more I value, including the freedom of women in our country to control their own bodies, health and destinies, freedom of movement and the freedom to be in our remaining unspoiled natural spaces.” - Chris H.
“This is a timely and thought-provoking subject. If not already taken, I would like to list this quote from Herbert Hoover as my reflection on freedom: ‘Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity.’” - Carol
“Freedom to choose to live with people who are like-minded, caring, and who are committed to making our community and world a better place.” - Lisa
“Today, I must remind myself of the lessons from history about the courage and perseverance of those who fought against injustice, corrupt power, genocide, greed and countless atrocities toward humankind. To this end, today, I am inspired by the following quotes, both by Gandhi:
‘It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.’
‘The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.’” - Durriyah
“Talking with friends this morning, we can't feel as free as we did with Roe V. Wade in place. Could say more, but that's it for now.” - Willa
“Disney Plus first made the live recording of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway rap musical, Hamilton available on July 3, 2020. This deliciously irreverent version of our founding story (America’s) was a wonderful way to celebrate the Fourth just one month into our journey with our cohousing community, Washington Commons. I see parallels. We both have a vision statement based on universal/not nationalistic values, we cherish freedom, justice and equality, we prize diversity and want all voices to be heard. We are willing to commit and sacrifice to achieve our goal.
‘Immigrants, we get the job done!’ (Hamilton, 2015).
‘I’m just like my country. I’m young, scrappy and hungry,’ (Hamilton, 2015).
‘A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people,’ (Declaration of Independence, 1776).” - Lenore
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