Tuesday, January 4, 2011


"Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better."

Albert Camus

Instead of making resolutions (and not keeping them) some bloggers that I follow have a New Year's tradition of picking a word to guide them into the year ahead. I believe it is a way to set an intention for the kind of year they want to have instead of just letting fate take over.

With all the words in the world it must be kind of hard to pick just one. I guess that is where spending some quiet time meditating about the last year, what changes you'd like to see or what joys you'd like to continue. I barely find time to bathe or brush my teeth, so even though meditating is probably the best thing I could do for myself, it is also the last thing I think of. I pour myself into bed, begin a prayer of thanks for another day and fall into a coma-like sleep. Plus I've never been very good at meditating, although I have found peace in guided meditations that take me to a deserted beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

I read others' intentions and envy their ability to nurture themselves. I toy with words but get lost in the what ifs. However, one word keeps working its way unbidden into my consciousness. At different times of the day, there it is tickling my thoughts, like a 2 year old tugging at the hem of your dress. "Hey," it says, " I'm here. Look at me." I guess I should be honest and say I've been kind of afraid to say the word out loud. But that's the whole point of the exercise isn't it. Not just to think it and forget it, but to say it, write it, believe it, live it.

So, here is my word. Freedom.

Freedom from what, you might ask. Well, that would be my first question also. I'm not locked in a jail cell. I'm not living in a theocratic society wearing wearing a black burka so men can’t see me. I am not enslaved by people trying to exploit me by paying me 3 cents an hour. I have the ability to come and go when I want (sort of). So why would freedom have such an appeal for me?

I decided to look up the definition and see it that would help shed some light. Dictionary.com gives gives several definitions - 17 to be exact - but not applied. I did find a few that appealed to me. #3 is “the power to determine action without restraint.” I have been kind of restrained for the last few years. Restraint, perhaps, of my own choosing, but tied to my commitment to my father nonetheless. #6 is “exemption from the presence of anything specified” i.e. fear, resentment, anger, debt .... anything specified covers a lot of ground. And #8, “ease or facility of movement or action:” feeds into my growing sense of wanderlust. I have an almost uncontrollable desire to set out for parts unknown in a motorhome with my Sweetie behind the wheel, my two black kitties asleep in the back. I’m not sure, but maybe that’s what my great great grandparents felt when they crossed the mountains from North Carolina into Tennessee. Or maybe it’s what a cow sees from when she looks at the grass on the other side of the fence. It’s not the grass that’s so enticing, it’s getting past the fence. The final definition that seemed to describe my idea of freedom is #17, “the power to exercise choice and make decisions without constraint from within or without;autonomy; self-determination.”

Yup, I think that would be the real reason the word “freedom” keeps knocking at my door. Without constraint from within or without.

Well now, I’ve not only picked a word, I’ve defined it and put it out into the universe. I guess the next step is to embrace it. All you word pickers out there, got any suggestions about how to do that?

Wishing for you freedom and choice,

Merry ME


Anonymous said...

Freedom sweet lady comes with the next step. the first step, any step, a direction or none.
Freedom is choice, it is desire and impetus to move, some part of you feels stagnant.
what part of you is going to go out and wiggle?
Thats up to you.
Just know your cheerleader is standing by!

Fire Byrd said...

Good word, one that can be highly prized and used wisely of squandered in the apathy of who cares. So maybe you have to make sure that every day you take that precious word and polish it and not let it fade away.

Jennifer said...

I changed the post and the Maya Angelou post is below it... when I change a post I usually change everything. Jennifer

QnDani said...

Well, since you asked (grin)..my suggestion would be that when faced with your choices (whatever they are) you (practice/work on) exercising your right to make those choices and form your decisions with automony and self determination - within and without - and without (whatever) constraint (you might otherwise throw up there.)