• What Does Freedom Mean to You?

    What Does Freedom Mean to You?

    (2 minute read)

    Break the rules. Find your freedom. Live your life.

    Minimalists like to talk about freedom.

    Yet it is a funny thing. Some want it, some don’t. Some deserve it, some don’t. One person’s freedom is an others bondage. Sometimes past decisions present consequences and circumstances out of our reach of influence. Be it either our own decisions or those of others. These circumstances may limit our ability to be free.

    One factor is clear. If you want to be free, you must first define what it means to you.

    Maybe your idea is putting everything you own in a backpack, pointing at a globe, and then taking a trip to explore this new place. I myself, could not think of many endeavors more stressful.

    For me, freedom is being able to sit on my back porch in my underwear, far from humanity, without a care in the world. Freedom is bare naked windows that leave my house open to the clear starry nights, or the spectacular light show of a thunderstorm.

    There is also a little piece of us whose sense of independence isn’t determined by our physical location. It is rather determined by the ability to follow our dreams.

    Being free can mean to feel no burden. To be free to go wherever the winds may blow. To be able to take life as it comes in good stride.

    Maybe freedom is to be able to focus all your energy on caring for an ill loved one.

    Once you have your definition, you must be willing to take the responsibility required to achieve it. Yes, freedom requires responsibility, no matter how you define it. Perhaps this is the reason why not everyone desires freedom, it takes work. Some are just not willing to make the level of sacrifice it takes to be free.

    Regardless of your definition there are three areas where you must be free to begin your journey.

    You must be:

    1. Debt free. Whether you want to travel the world, hang out on your farm, chase your dreams, or give the best care to your loved ones, you cannot do it with the burden of debt. Debt is the cancer of freedom.
    2. Clutter free. You cannot be a slave to stuff and be free. If stuff is keeping you from doing what you dream it is a load that must go.
    3. Distraction free. Staying focused is key. We must eliminate those activities deterring us from our focus.

    Finally, we must face reality. Just in case you thought freedom requiring work was as bad as it got. For some of us reality means our past decisions make it impossible for us to achieve some forms of independence and still remain responsible. In some cases the decisions or behavior of others has even limited our possibilities. In this case, which is every case to some degree, make sure your vision fits within your limitations. At the same time be careful not to sell yourself short. Remember also, once you achieve the above required three freedoms a whole new world of possibilities will open.

    Always bear in mind, “The key to happiness is to keep your wants few and simple.” Much the same is true for freedom.

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  • Odds are you don't deserve freedom. Here's why.

    Freedom, Odds Are You Don’t Deserve It: Here’s Why.

     (2 minute read)
    Ah, freedom! “Give us liberty”, so many shout. It’s the universal cry of the living. 
    Today, we as Americans are celebrating Independence Day, yet I’m wondering, do we deserve freedom?
    Many in our world claim all people want to be free. We loathe images of those living in places where dictators constrain the lives of their subjects. When tyrants fall, we celebrate. We remorse the abominable history of human slavery in our own land. The oppression of others brings protests on a regular basis.
    Is it true that all people want to be free? Like our beloved pets, there is something innate that longs for freedom to one degree or another in us all. Why so eager to be free; such enthusiasm to seize this great prize? Why so happy to have attained liberty? So worthy of celebration, it seems. Yet, if so esteemed a prize, why surrendered with such ease by those who have it in hand?
    The first day we brought our horses’ home to the farm, someone left the gate open leading from a small fenced area to a large open grassy pasture. Watching from inside the house, we noticed the horses fixate their eyes in the direction of the gate. Like a flash, the light bulb went off and they realized freedom was theirs to be had. They rushed the gate, galloping out into the open field elated with their new found liberty; bucking, kicking, and leaping. Freedom was theirs!
    In next to no time, they became fearful. Looking for a leader they soon returned to the comfort of their fenced home.
     “With liberty, comes responsibility that is why it is most dreaded of men.” – George Bernard Shaw

    Herein lies the paradox; freedom requires responsibility.

    Like horses, we love the exhilaration and the promise freedom brings. Yet, all too often we disregard and even neglect the responsibility required to reap its benefits. All would love to go jumping and frolicking through the green pastures of life but few are willing to assume the responsibility required to reap such benefits.
    For nothing more than lack of effort we are often willing to let freedoms others before us so treasured and sacrificed for slip away. To remain free we must take charge of our lives, care for ourselves, governor our own affairs; being willing and resolute to take the responsibility that brings the full benefits of liberty! We should never have to shout, “Give us liberty”, because we have kept in hand what was given to us.
    Let us be sure the gates of our lives remain forever opened wide. May we never hold back, but run from horizon to horizon at liberty, blazing our own trails, controlling our destiny, shouldering the responsibility. Proclaiming as we run through the lush green grass,
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty we are free at last.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    A free life may not be a simple one in some ways but it is rich beyond measure. Define what freedom means to you.

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