IN SEARCH OF FREEDOM
?My Beautiful Souls,
Happy July!? Happy Month of Independence and Freedom!??? Being the month of July, I take pause to recognize those service men and women who have sacrificed their lives so selflessly on a daily basis, not just on duty, but in America, where they embody the very essence of what America stands for. And, yet many of our very own Veterans who fought tirelessly for our Freedom, lie helplessly on our streets at night without shelter, food, and medical treatment, standing in line at food banks, for medical services at the Veterans Hospitals, undergoing amputations of their limbs, and other body parts. I am suddenly at a loss for words as my heart and soul become sickened by this image of disgrace and dishonor for our men and women in uniform. What happened to our country’s rhetoric for taking care of its own…the very men and women who die for our Freedom so we can live in such a prestigious country of greatness?!! How do we allow ourselves to look the other way while people lie on the streets at night in poverty, homeless, hungry and cold? Are we the next third world nation where the rich are the leaders of the free world and the poor are the oppressed and beg for their food? What has happened to our collaborative communities where we share programs and services, serve the people and offer civic engagement? What has happened to our moral and social responsibilities to those who can’t serve themselves due to disabilities, becoming elderly, mentally ill, disenfranchised, unemployed, abused, sexually exploited, PTSD, and various traumas that hinder full time employment and healthcare?
I reflect on these various issues, because I am one of those few individuals who sat on the brink of being homeless, without healthcare, and in poverty due to someone else inflicting pain on me from two severe car accidents. How much anger could my body rage knowing I had lost significant parts of my cognitive functions before realizing it didn’t matter how much hatefulness I spewed. Nothing could change what had happened to me, nor would it assist in my healing and recovery. I had to choose my weapon of redemption and I chose ME! 🙂 I chose to find myself after losing my mind. I knew I was there, somewhere, even though I couldn’t remember where I had gone. God had to have a Lost and Found up there, so I was going to catch a ride on an angel’s wings to find my way home until I could grow some wings of my own…??
Knowing how fragile life is, I am also reminded that freedom is on a short continuum, whereby what is free to one person, is not freedom to another. We validate freedom of speech spoken so victoriously in our social media and other news sources in graphic displays of misconduct, spewing all types of hatreds, slangs of bigotries, racisms, and through roaring anger. Yet, we forget why we do it and for what purpose it serves. Is it for social justice, equality, women’s fight for equal pay, equal status or being treated as equal, worthy partners? Do we pontificate voluminous state-wide voices in closing the gap on poverty, feeding the hungry, serving the homeless, giving healthcare to those without, in offering medications and facilities to the mentally ill? Or, are our self-righteous voices for self-serving justifications only? What do WE stand for anymore in America? What is our platform? Political angst has been so motivated by freedom of speech lately, that some tend to forget rationale all together. I want us to remember, freedom has a price. Not just politically, personally, professionally, or vindictively, but subliminally, a level unseen to the public eye.
THE #ME TOO MOVEMENT
As for watching women become bolder and more courageous in America, I believe the #ME TOO MOVEMENT has broken powerful social boundaries of sexual abuse among women in Hollywood and other hierarchical corporations, not just public and privately owned, but in local, state and federal agencies as well. It seems more than not, positional power has been highly abused and exploited against women whom have been trying to climb the career ladder for decades. Women, having been suspended like puppets from the glass ceiling, waiting for their moment of triumph, are breaking all kinds of societal norms in order to change the culture of America, not because we are martyrs, but because it is our time to SHINE ON.
Women in our culture, by societal norms, were told to be seen and not heard throughout generational norms and traditions. We were the caretakers, the baby makers, the cooks, the “free ticket” maids, and the teachers of America. We put pride into those titles and did what we were told out of love. We became who society told us to be. Yet, after years of being silenced, we realized we were more than those small titles given to us. We were worthy of bigger and more valuable identities. Because our identities came from within our divine souls. We, as some would say, were larger than life…! Women began to realize their minds were full of creativity, bound of brilliant thoughts and intrigue. We were loving creatures with generous hearts and a resilient spirit. Our souls were a force of compassion, forgiveness, and Starlights of possibilities! There was a glow of positive and emotional validity that emerged when consulting with other women whose voice also refused to be silenced. Our minds were multi-taskers, comprehending organized, executive functions, whereby learning could NOT be sustained any longer within the compounds of the living room of children. We were growing exponentially, and the house we lived in was not big enough to hold the contents of our light.? Our hearts had stretched bigger and brighter so that when we were ready to rise, we would also be ready to give and receive love as only women could do.?
So, we started seeking out other women, forming collaborative groups, finding our identities by identifying with other women whose life aligned with ours. We realized we were among friends, and nurtured our relationships through tears from decades of silence, pain, suffering, and oppression. Women formed intricate plans in seeking justice, not just for us, but for all those who had been exploited, sexually abused, oppressed, victimized of the system, and silenced. Women needed an outlet of reprieve, a place of solace, tranquility, and a life of freedom. Women wanted equality. To be seen as a worthy, valued, and equal member of society. We wanted equal pay for work that men also performed, yet did not have to submit to such outrageous platitudes and extra curricular activities to receive it.
We already knew we had won the superwoman award, because we could do it all and still breathe at the same time. After a full day’s work, we could still attend a child’s sport’s activity, cook dinner, participate in a non-profit fund raiser, finish the project for work on a dead line, and still find time to assist with the science project for school before bedtime. Of course, there was still a check list for the next day’s activities, the children’s lunches to prepare, the task list for work, and the committees that needed emails sent to remind others about. Women have a laundry list of things to do constantly…and if there’s a significant other added to the mix, she will be there to assist him/her with those needs as well. No matter how you look at it, WOMEN, are AMAZING! 🙂
Women’s Ways of Knowing, by Mary Field Belenky, shares research on how women were silenced much of their lives through their families and schools. Now, however, women are learning to challenge themselves by asking informative questions and are questioning their spiritual intimacy through intellectual conversations. From this collaborative synergy, they are finding conclusions and resolutions to their past confusions, betrayals, frustrations, and fears. Through this intellectual processes, women have cultivated greater manifestations in defining healthy boundaries, nurturing relationships for themselves with partners, companions, friendships, and with intimate significant others. It seems that women are learning and educating themselves in classrooms without walls. Healing and recovery for them, it seems, comes from loving themselves first, by understanding their fears, betrayals, sufferings, silences, abductions, abusers, and exploitations. The beauty that lies within them is from their brokenness, whereby their heart, filled with hundreds of cracks, allows the light of their soul to filter out so their GLOW will SHINE ON!!? As with anyone, because love is the ultimate gift from within, happiness is a choice of a job well done from inside out.?
Thus, the #ME TOO Women’s Movement is not propaganda, nor is it advertisement to be a subliminal sidebar for one’s amusement. Young females and women alike have been sexually exploited, trafficked, and abused for over decades. It’s a disgrace and a source of human indignity, a dogma of unworthiness, devaluation, and oppression. The time has arrived for Women to RISE! GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services) is a Non-Profit Organization serving females from ages 12-24, and was started in 1998 in the U.S. by Miss Lloyd. She was a former sexually exploited young female, who now provides programs and services to those whom have been sexually abused, trafficked, and prostituted so they, too, can rebuild their lives and thrive.
LIVING IN FEAR
As a child, I remember my freedom was lost to closed boundaries set by parents who wanted me to be seen and not heard. I was never allowed to share my feelings, thoughts, or ideas honestly, freely, or openly in my home. I never learned how to communicate with others, and lacked communication skills for relationships to be nurtured with women or men. In hindsight, I used to repress my anger, which would build up inside of me, because rejection was so enormous due to my parents’ lack of love and insatiable control over my time and activities. If they got mad because of no fault of mine, they would project it onto me. I was the scapegoat for most of my family’s faults. My mom was so fearful of my dad, she blamed me for her shortcomings as well. I realized this early on in fourth grade when she left my bicycle out in the rain and told dad I had left it there. Thus, in my formative years, living at home for me was being in a state of confusion, chaos, and hypervigilance, because of my parents’ dominance over me. I was never free to be just a child, where I could go play with friends, laugh and be silly. Instead, I was constantly in fear while at home, afraid I would do something to provoke anger in my mom or dad and be reprimanded with the belt or other abusive tactic my dad enjoyed tormenting me with.
With this in mind, I want to be clear, Children are NOT FREE, especially if they live in poverty, are abused, and/or are homeless. As we have seen recently, through our broken immigration system, where children have been ripped from their parents’ arms, families separated and placed in cages of controlled environments, forced to follow strict rules and regulations, children perceive these behaviors by adults as if they deserve to be punished for something they did wrong. This type of deranged process we are doing to adult and children immigrants is WRONG! Again, forced segregation among children and parents is abusive power, which is conducive to behavior Americans or other people with positional power abuse out of FEAR or for CONTROL TACTICS. There is no place for it here in America. Not if we CHOOSE to live in the GLOW. FEAR is paralyzing and responds reactively instead of rationally. Children require a safe, consistent, loving, compassionate, caring, kind, forgiving, empathic, environment. Adults do TOO! I always wondered what it would have been like to have had that in my life. Yet, hindsight is always 20/20.
Children, unfortunately, do NOT have a voice, especially, when they live in the throws of poverty, lacking food, clothing, and/or shelter. Their lives are of chaos, conflict, fear, suffering, shame, guilt, pain, and confusion. Children don’t understand why they suffer in silence, nor did I. This type of environment is toxic for a child to sustain mentally, emotionally, physically, and socially. The psychological trauma bestowed on children when living in such toxic waste leaves deep wounds, scars, PTSD, and other severe psychological challenges for children to face in their present condition and later in life. These scars and wounds may never, ever heal, nor may these children ever recover from the ravage separation, abandonment, and psychological fears we have placed on them because of AMERICA’S FEAR OF IMMIGRATION OF THOSE PEOPLE BEING OPPRESSED, BEATEN, SEXUALLY ABUSED, AND KILLED IN THIRD WORLD NATIONS. It’s mortifying to say the least. Why do we have such fears to allow those from other countries to enter our borders to freedom from oppression, political warfare, sex trafficking, abuse, and death? What are we so afraid of after all the horrible acts of evil we have done to others in this country to serve our own self-righteous greed? I believe our “greatest fear”, is we will be treated by those whom we have betrayed with the same malice and cruelty, whereby power and control will no longer be ours…It will be theirs to do as they see fit. An “eye for an eye“, to me, would be the greatest fear Americans would ever face from those who may come to power who once were shamed, betrayed, and imprisoned by us. We would be preyed on by those whom we have preyed upon, taken advantage of, and oppressed. Wake up America! The time has come to become ONE NATION UNDER GOD! Start looking upward, because we are closer to the bottom than you know.
No child should have to live like a caged animal in America. Children should be able to express themselves openly, honestly, and innocently without fear of being rejected, controlled, shamed, reprimanded, or abused. Being controlled with fear so that love had conditions attached as a child is not the same thing as being free. Love should be unconditional, without expectations. The love I was taught came with expectations or strings attached. There was no such thing as “free love“. There were always conditions attached with my parents in order to be loved, thus, I could never aspire to attain the love I needed so desperately as a child from them inside of me. My heart was so empty and unhappy growing up, feeling as if a hole had been placed inside my soul. My childhood was one of rejection, feeling abandoned by my parents, never good enough or perfect enough, while fiercely seeking someone to notice me for me. I felt invisible. I was invisible to my parents until I became the scapegoat for their problems. Being perfect had its privileges. Consequently, I tried desperately to get my father to love me. I even read books to assist in my quest for love from my parents. One such book was called, “Please Love Me,” by Keith Miller, and “Dinky Hocker Shoots Crack,” which is about a mother who spends more time with addicts (or those with self-imposed inflictions) than she does with her own children, who were begging for her time and love.
My mom used to bring kids to our home who were often in trouble seeking a place of shelter and someone to love them. She would immerse herself into these kids and pour her love, time, and energy into them, while her own children suffered from lack of love. It was such an oxymoron. We were either ignored or told she didn’t have time to be with us. It was devastating to watch; much like a horror movie, except you were in it. As with all things, my mother would give away large items that were hers to other children, as if they were entitled to them. It was shocking! One of those large items was our old green station wagon that I drove while out of high school to college. It was the only car we had in our family since living in South Dakota while in 6th grade. One morning my mom came into my bedroom during summer break, while coming home for the weekend, and shared with me she had decided to give the station wagon away to a boy in foster care, whom she had been working with. This was the same car I had been using for summer school. I had restored it with my own money from working part-time. I almost puked my guts out. My mother told me this news without conscious or feelings for me, not caring how I would be able to transport myself around at school, for groceries, or other necessities. I wondered myself how I would find transportation in commuting back and forth from school, having no bike, and now, no car. I just stared at her with a burning fury. Who was this woman who stared back at me? And, in the same breath, she told me her brain wasn’t in a good place. She believed she would kill me if she stayed in the house with me one more night. She needed to leave for awhile and go live with her mother. I remember just sitting there stunned. It was at this point I knew my mother wasn’t well and yet, I didn’t quite grasp what was wrong with her. I was only 19 years old, so I didn’t have the knowledge-base to fundamentally realize she was having a mental breakdown. And, the next morning she left for Iowa before I awoke. I left several days later to college without the car. I had found a ride back with my new stepfather, whom I knew for barely a week. I didn’t return home again until I had unraveled the prison my mind, heart, and soul had been held in for so long. It has taken decades for me to break free of the toxic environment I had endured from being surrounded by this type of psychosis. Forgiveness is the essence of anyone’s freedom. Inasmuch, it must be given with love seven times forever…. Later, I learned the boy who was given my car, was arrested for child molestation. He was sentenced to a federal prison.
BECOMING A BUTTERFLY
Living on the edge was my life during high school, whereby I knew what my laundry list of expectations were. If I didn’t complete them, there would be hell to pay. I had to start working at age 15 to help with the bills, and I was happy to do it so I could remove myself from the chaos at home. Yet, going to school, working at a theater, having cheer practice, theater practice, gymnastics practice, ensemble practice, and school work, plus watching my brother was enough to drive me down into a very low, dark place. I had no “real” life. I just kept busy so I didn’t get caught up in the depressed and angry mentality at home. I just fantasized about what life I wanted to have and dreamt of someday becoming a butterfly so I, too, could be free. You see, butterflies weren’t always beautiful. Neither was I as a child. They start their journey as an ugly, hairy caterpillar. I started my journey as a small, young, people pleaser, whereby I had no self-confidence or self-esteem, and guarded my emotions with false impressions. Yet, in time, as butterflies evolve, they transform into something beautifully, stunning, which, when ready, spread their wings and soared…. I am now ready to spread my wings and soar. My beauty has changed over the years, especially after going through an osmosis of such tragic and traumatic events. Yet, I love myself even more for having conquered those horrific and painful journeys. You see, I have come out of the fire ablaze with my eyes of sunflowers, my hair of fireflies, and fireworks in my soul, which tells me I am ready to love and be loved again…?
Children are precious…They are vulnerable, magical, creative, intuitive, loving, trusting, honest, gentle souls. They have so many needs and depend on their parents for everything. With that said, children need consistency, warmth, love, compassion, kindness, a safe and loving environment, open space to play, create, laugh, be silly, and more importantly, be FREE. Children need to be FREE from anger, psychological, sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse, parental abandonment, rejection, trauma, toxic environments, and people who fear them. Children are innocent. They replicate adult’s positive and negative behaviors. Even when we are not watching, children are watching us. When we hurt our children by abusive behaviors, they don’t connect the dots as to why they are being mistreated. They don’t understand abuse. Like myself, I thought everyone’s family had yelling and anger every morning they awoke, threats to their life, silenced for speaking, slapped for speaking their mind, thrown tea in their face, hair pulled while being shoved to their room, belted for not ironing a pant line perfectly, and the list goes on. I didn’t know this was just my family. Who knew this wasn’t the norm when you didn’t know what the norm was for your friends’ household? And, then when you find out your home life is cancerous and toxic, the shame inside your body warps your mind, your gut, and your emotions until you can barely function. You don’t know what you don’t know. And, back then, I didn’t know I was living in a toxic waste most of my life…I didn’t know my dad drank too much and was a mean drunk. And, I didn’t know my mom was co-dependent. And, back then, there just wasn’t support systems to help people in distress. You just did the best you could and hoped you survived. So, you grin and bare it until you finally leave the trenches. As soon as I graduated from high school, I left to become a National Cheerleader, went to college, and never looked back.
?To me, our future depends on the children of this world. We have so much to be grateful for, especially in America. Yet, we are a nation in poverty. Our children are in the midst of a healthcare crisis, fighting homelessness, poverty and hunger. In, the article, National (In Security): The Wages of Poverty in America, Rajan Menon had this to say recently, “For millions of Americans, however, the greatest threat to their day-to-day security isn’t terrorism or North Korea, Iran, Russia, or China. It’s internal — and economic. That’s particularly true for the 12.7% of Americans (43.1 million of them) classified as poor by the government’s criteria: an income below $12,140 for a one-person household, $16,460 for a family of two, and so on… until you get to the princely sum of $42,380 for a family of eight.
Savings aren’t much help either: a third of Americans have no savings at all and another third have less than $1,000 in the bank. Little wonder that families struggling to cover the cost of food alone increased from 11% (36 million) in 2007 to 14% (48 million) in 2014.
The Working Poor
Help from the government? Bill Clinton’s 1996 welfare “reform” program, concocted in partnership with congressional Republicans, imposed time limits on government assistance, while tightening eligibility criteria for it. So, as Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer show in their disturbing book, “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America,” many who desperately need help don’t even bother to apply. And things will only get worse in the age of Trump. His 2019 budget includes deep cuts in a raft of anti-poverty programs.
Anyone seeking a visceral sense of the hardships such Americans endure should read Barbara Ehrenreich’s 2001 book “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.” It’s a gripping account of what she learned when, posing as a “homemaker” with no special skills, she worked for two years in various low-wage jobs, relying solely on her earnings to support herself. The book brims with stories about people who had jobs but, out of necessity, slept in rent-by-the-week fleabag motels, flophouses, or even in their cars, subsisting on vending machine snacks for lunch, hot dogs and instant noodles for dinner, and forgoing basic dental care or health checkups. Those who managed to get permanent housing would choose poor, low-rent neighborhoods close to work because they often couldn’t afford a car. To maintain even such a barebones lifestyle, many worked more than one job.
Though politicians prattle on about how times have changed for the better, Ehrenreich’s book still provides a remarkably accurate picture of America’s working poor. Over the past decade the proportion of people who exhausted their monthly paychecks just to pay for life’s essentials actually increased from 31% to 38%. In 2013, 71% of the families that had children and used food pantries run by Feeding America, the largest private organization helping the hungry, included at least one person who had worked during the previous year. And in America’s big cities, chiefly because of a widening gap between rent and wages, thousands of working poor remain homeless, sleeping in shelters, on the streets, or in their vehicles, sometimes along with their families. In New York City, no outlier when it comes to homelessness among the working poor, in a third of the families with children that use homeless shelters at least one adult held a job.
The Wages of Poverty
The working poor cluster in certain occupations. They are salespeople in retail stores, servers or preparers of fast food, custodial staff, hotel workers, and caregivers for children or the elderly. Many make less than $10 an hour and lack any leverage, union or otherwise, to press for raises. In fact, the percentage of unionized workers in such jobs remains in the single digits — and in retail and food preparation, it’s under 4.5%. That’s hardly surprising, given that private sector union membership has fallen by 50% since 1983 to only 6.7% of the workforce.
Low-wage employers like it that way and — Walmart being the poster child for this — work diligently to make it ever harder for employees to join unions. As a result, they rarely find themselves under any real pressure to increase wages, which, adjusted for inflation, have stood still or even decreased since the late 1970s. When employment is “at-will,” workers may be fired or the terms of their work amended on the whim of a company and without the slightest explanation. Walmart announced this year that it would hike its hourly wage to $11 and that’s welcome news. But this had nothing to do with collective bargaining; it was a response to the drop in the unemployment rate, cash flows from the Trump tax cut for corporations (which saved Walmart as much as $2 billion), an increase in minimum wages in a number of states, and pay increases by an arch competitor, Target. It was also accompanied by the shutdown of 63 of Walmart’s Sam’s Club stores, which meant layoffs for 10,000 workers. In short, the balance of power almost always favors the employer, seldom the employee.
As a result, though the United States has a per-capita income of $59,500 and is among the wealthiest countries in the world, 12.7% of Americans (that’s 43.1 million people), officially are impoverished. And that’s generally considered a significant undercount. The Census Bureau establishes the poverty rate by figuring out an annual no-frills family food budget, multiplying it by three, adjusting it for household size, and pegging it to the Consumer Price Index. That, many economists believe, is a woefully inadequate way of estimating poverty. Food prices haven’t risen dramatically over the past 20 years, but the cost of other necessities like medical care (especially if you lack insurance) and housing have: 10.5% and 11.8% respectively between 2013 and 2017 compared to an only 5.5% increase for food.
Include housing and medical expenses in the equation and you get the Supplementary Poverty Measure (SPM), published by the Census Bureau since 2011. It reveals that a larger number of Americans are poor:14% or 45 million in 2016.”
?As shown above, the sources of evil that violate children, lies within America’s infrastructure of economic values that discourages hard working families from climbing the ladder out of poverty. Additionally, children get stuck in the crossfire due to a lack of governmental programs and services. Those that are designed to assist families in poverty, use substandard scales for offering financial assistance that only eliminates subsidized income for families, because parents who are working two or more jobs to make money to pay the bills, now must make more to make up for the money they can’t receive through the programs and services that are now lost from them trying to make extra money. What a farce Government Formula to assist families in removing them from out of poverty! Who are they kidding?! All this does is increase their poverty by making them depend more on government help, rather than offering families support and assistance to move them forward into a quality lifestyle, where they feel they have control of their own life, can build a future, and become entrenched into a secure, advanced career. Hence, children are the ones who suffer the greatest. They never see their parents, are still homeless, still in poverty, and need healthcare services desperately to stay ahead of the various diseases their tiny bodies need during their formative years. It becomes a vicious vortex of impoverished insanity for children and parents alike. Thus, those who have the power and control over the economic landscape dictate who stay rich(er) and who become poor(er).
Together, we as a nation can make life better for children in America and for ourselves. In order to do this, let us choose ways to incorporate a lifestyle change that offers freedom personally and civically. Individually, you must claim a spirit that is free! Mentally, living a life of freedom is being connected to your roots, being centered, grounded, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. In choosing a life of freedom, you choose NOT to be controlled or addicted by any substance, person, job, thing, and/or feeling. Freedom is a CHOICE. In choosing freedom, you control your destiny, find a purpose, and manifest your passion in life for the direction you wish to travel.
EIGHT WAYS TO ACHIEVE PERSONAL AND CIVIC FREEDOM…
1. URBAN/RURAL ORGANIC GARDEN: ?Choose to be self-sufficient and grow your own organic garden so you are free from purchasing foods from the grocery story. Due to the high volume of pesticides and the Monsanto chemicals in foods that are packaged and sealed, plus the rising cost of gas prices, establishing one’s own urban garden allows you freedom to grow the foods you love that taste pure, and are a labor of love. Even if you live in the urban areas, using organic garden techniques is easy for ensuring a fabulous outcome! In the end, finding joy and pride in one’s food production is always a lasting growth process and leaves lasting impressions with regard to culinary skills in the kitchen…And, with it comes FREEDOM! Other amazing outcomes of urban gardening is cooking. And, if you haven’t heard, intimacy in cooking is a great way to enhance the flavor of any cuisine! ??
2. CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS: ?Education for our children is a place for learning the process of thinking. Critical thinking skills takes place in our school systems by children finding out how to find an answer to a problem. This process involves “trivium” or the study of grammar, rhetoric, and logic. In order for us to be able to become autodidactic, or “self-taught”, children must be able to solve problems without formal instruction. This is why I believe so passionately in service learning and civic engagement for our children. In creating an environment that allows students to use their formal skills in society at large, they infuse leadership skills, collaboration, compromise, communication, and other educational tools and skills while completing their “real time” projects. Unfortunately, what has happened in our public schools over the course of decades, is our curriculums have enabled students to only find out only WHAT to think instead of HOW to think. Thus, our students have taken their smart phones and have invited Google, Safari, Fire Fox, and other search engines to conclude the HOW of their thinking patterns.
This learning style has caused learning in America to suffer greatly in engineering, math, science, and technology. Furthermore, texting has broken the language of communication into slang, abbreviations, and screen messages, where we once had phone and real time personal exchange in conversations with “real” people. It is my hope that parents will find freedom in choosing time with their children to have dinners with them, go for picnics, hiking, choose to exchange dialogue and start their own urban garden together. Loose the smartphones and grow connections with your families and friends. We have lost our ability to know HOW to find freedom in ourselves, in our children, our families and each other. Growing together in freedom, after all, is quite savvy… 🙂
3. DE-CLUTTER YOUR LIFE: ? Life is challenging, yet even more so when YOUR LIFE is over flowing with “stuff” you don’t use, wear, need, want, or no longer serves you in a healthy, positive way. Choosing freedom is choosing to live in the Glow!? Being free of toxic waste is releasing yourself of those items that take away space in your home, space in your mind, and space in your life. If you are in relationships that drain your energy and cause emotional conflict and entanglements, your battery is constantly needing to be recharged due to the stress and frustrations carried around in your mind and on your shoulders. Choosing freedom means letting go of toxic people who do not lift you higher, bring joy to your soul, and want the best for you daily. Learning to love yourself first is a choice of freedom and a gift you give yourself in knowing you are worthy of freedom from clutter, stress, frustrations, exploitation, abuse, control, and anger. Realizing your value gives yourself permission to BE FREE! Start De-Cluttering your life by having garage sales, by sharing your treasures with others as gifts, giving away your wealth of goods to the Salvation Army or other Local Non-Profits, asking your church if they need your harbored treasures, and/or contacting family and friends to see if they would like to take your treasures off your hands. If you need assistance and support in de-cluttering your life psychologically, physically, emotionally, spiritually, or socially, I would be happy to support you in this endeavor. Letting Go is a ceremony ritual to finding your “true” self. Once we unveil our outer cloak, we begin to let our light shine even brighter…?
4. MANIFEST YOUR FREEDOM: ? It’s time to manifest our own happiness to the world. WE have arrived and can give ourselves permission to SHINE! Women have been silenced for so long, and maybe even men too, due to abuse, that the luxury of sharing their needs out loud seems fearful. Yet, having the freedom of speech is not just a political slur. By giving ourselves permission to be happy and free to express ourselves as we are, where we are, we allow others to do the same. We don’t have to share what we know or have experienced with anger, evil, hatred, and/or malice. Because in order to be free, We MUST FORGIVE those whom have harmed us so THEY DON’T LIVE RENT FREE in our heads. Forgiveness is for US, not for those who betrayed us. It is so we can move forward and live a rich, full, happy and free life. Forgiveness and Freedom go hand-in-hand dear souls…? The Glow is raptured in this manifestation!
5. GET UP AND GET GOING!: ?♀️ Live a healthy lifestyle that includes fitness! Choose to move your body daily, whether walking, cycling, swimming, basketball, jogging, sport climbing, hiking, or Precore machines. Just DO IT! Getting outside and being adventurous is half the battle in freeing our minds and bodies of toxic waste. We don’t realize at night when we sleep, our brains go through a rinse cycle to cleanse out all the toxins that have gathered throughout the day. If you have a traumatic brain injury, these toxins may not be able to be flushed out so easily because the system meant to work at night has been altered, stretched, or broken from the injury.
“The cells in your brain are busy throughout the day, performing a variety of reactions that create mental function. Unfortunately, many of these processes have toxic byproducts that could be deadly to cells if not removed. The brain is kept separate from the rest of the body, including one’s blood supply, by a blood-brain barrier. This slows the removal of neurotoxins that can accumulate from the mental activities of wakefulness. These toxins are removed by a slow trickling system called the glymphatic system. However, new research suggests that the glymphatic system is neither slow nor trickling during sleep. In a recent study, researchers found that the brain changes structurally at night to allow fast and thorough glymphatic cleaning. While there is no confirmation in studies (yet), researchers of chronobiology have a hypothesis about why this essential process is sped up during sleep. Dr. Nedergaard, the head of this recently published study, speculates that the brain uses a great deal of energy to flush itself and pump neurotoxins across the blood-brain barrier for excretion. During the day, all energy is expended in mental functions, leaving no energy for cleaning. The same way many buildings are cleaned at night when they are not used as heavily, the brain has to reserve cleaning for times when it won’t interfere with other functions.” (Neurotoxins and Sleep)
6. MANAGE YOU: ? Be in charge of your own life! Be in control. You are the heroine or hero of your destiny. Don’t let others dictate your present or future. Grab the reigns and realize that only you can change your life if you don’t like the direction it is going in. Being free means risk taking. Life is a risk. There are no guarantees in life… Not in your job, your career, your relationship, your marriage, nor in the next breath you take. We live day-by-day on auto pilot not realizing that in a second our lives could change in an instant. Just ask someone who suffered a miscarriage, was a victim in a car accident, suffered a traumatic brain injury, or an aneurysm, had a heart attack, or was just diagnosed with cancer. All these people had plans on that day. They had dreams for a great future for themselves or their children. Yet, those dreams never came to fruition. Why? Because, life happens and we forget there are no guarantees in life. No life or medical insurance policy can buy back your health. It doesn’t work that way. Learning to be present and in control of your own life is the most powerful gift you can give yourself. Thus, be grateful for each day you have. Before going to to bed at night, take inventory of those specific events, activities, people, experiences, emotions, and/or places that brought joy to your life. Those are the thoughts that God will seal in your mind before you sleep and you will dream upon. Thus, it is critical to be conscientious about our gratitude, how we view ourselves, and what we want out of life, as these are the catalyst for our reality. The “I AM” Messages are an important mechanism in ensuring these outcomes. Wayne Dyer, the author of “Wishes Fulfilled” shared how to change your destiny by changing your thoughts. In truth, it works! What’s more amazing, is your entire outlook on life will be ultimately redefined by YOU! What YOU BELIEVE is your REALITY!?
7. TRY SOMETHING NEW WEEKLY: ? Life is NOT boring! Nor is Freedom! What have you been wanting to do all of your life? Write down those activities you have been meaning to try, those creative ideas you have been wanting to practice, those fitness goals you have been wanting to pursue, and those dance skills you have wanted to refine. What are you waiting for???? Freedom is releasing your inhibitions and pursuing those dreams you never got to before now. They have been waiting in the shadows for permission to shine as well. When light penetrates darkness, the Glow is brilliant! One can’t resist the beauty that shimmers on pieces of glass that need to be brought out to the open. There’s quite an aura about light that no one can deny. When you let your heart be open to the possibilities of experiencing that which you have longed for, life becomes so much more spectacular, revealing, and a stardust of colors to be inhaled, never to be forgotten. The bucket list of a lifetime…. 🙂
8. MANAGE YOUR MONEY: ?Freedom in one’s life can only be achieved if you know how to manage your life financially. The Average Credit Card Debt in the U.S for 2018 is staggering! Even as household income and employment rates are ticking up in the U.S., credit card balances are at all-time highs. And as the Fed raises rates, credit card rates rise in tandem, meaning consumers could pay billions in extra interest charges
MagnifMoney’s website updated their statistics on credit card debt in America to illustrate how much consumers are now taking on.
- Americans paid banks $104 billion in credit card interest and fees in 2018, up 11% from the prior year, and up 35% over the last five years, as Fed rate increases have been passed on to consumers. MagnifyMoney analyzed FDIC data through March, 2018 for each bank whose deposits are insured by the FDIC.
- With potentially four Fed rate hikes left to come this year, we estimate the increase in interest and fees paid in the coming year will once again be above 10%, putting Americans on track to pay over $110 billion. Our analysis of the impact of Fed rate hikes found credit card rates are the most sensitive to Fed rate hikes, rising more than twice as fast as mortgage rates.
- Average APRs on credit card accounts assessed interest are now 15.5%, up nearly 300 basis points in five years, according to the Federal Reserve.
Thus, as you find yourself wondering how you should spend your next dollar, think again. The best way to be free on any realm is to sit down and be very honest with yourself about how you spend your money. What kind of budget do you have? And, if you don’t have one, maybe it’s time to start one. Budgets are simple to achieve and difficult to follow at any age. Yet, having any number of credit cards can spell disaster in one’s life. Credit cards are a fake sense of comfort. Unless you are able to pay off those credit cards every month, you don’t have the money to have them. Cut them in half! You are paying more in interest for having the credit card even if you aren’t buying anything! Unless you plan on purchasing a home in next several years, what is credit for now? I don’t see the point of it, particularly when so many of us are reaching toward poverty versus middle class these days. If we are not saving money, then we should be. Life is only getting harder instead of easier based on statistics. Do yourself a favor and $AVE YOUR MONEY STARTING NOW!! You can always buy things later when the going gets easier. Simplify your life and BE HAPPY! Choose to live in the Glow…!? Your freedom depends on it!?
?My beautiful souls, may you find your freedom is conducive to how you perceive your life. As with all things, YOU get to choose YOUR freedom, which is always on a continuum for most people. Changing one’s perspective in how we see ourselves and other’s in the world makes a significant difference in how we treat others. I pray we realize that everyone deserves freedom from abuse, sexual exploitation, oppression, poverty, hunger, homelessness, violence, terror, and fear. We have so much to give here in America if we but opened ourselves up to those less fortunate. Thank you for being in my life. If I can support you, please let me know how I can do so. You are never, ever alone….?
Happy July my Beautiful Tribe!
?In Light and Love,
Kimberly Lees, Ed.D.