Friday, September 19, 2008

Life is freedom of expression

My wonderful wife, Julia, has written a great deal about what she terms the "qualities of origin," by which she means those aspects of ourselves we all possess the day we are born.

As one might guess, those qualities are often sublimated to the demands of a world which fails to acknowledge or value such things as play, dance, singing loudly, or marching to the beat of an unseen drummer.

The need we all have to freely express what we are feeling is one of those qualities -- free expression -- which Julia teaches about. We knew how to do this at first, and we have slowly learned the limitations imposed by the society in which we have grown up.

What I'm addressing today is that aspect of free expression which we can all claim, societal limitations be ignored, and those areas where free expression really is, justifiably, limited. There's a difference.

For those things you believe, you are entitled (according to me, and I know I only get to decide for me...this is merely my take on it) to offer up as loudly as you like in whatever forum you can find that you believe thus and such.

It is important to be willing to admit that you are fomenting your beliefs. As soon as you attribute your beliefs to something else such as God or Truth or The American Way of Life or any other Capitalized Bloviation, you have crossed the line I have established for myself. And, since I find my line a reasonable one, I offer it to anyone reading. You will never hear me claim to be a purveyer of Truth. Despite any illusions I may have in that area, I don't claim them publically. I only claim it is me, expressing what I believe.

Here's the thing: as soon as you begin to portray your beliefs as something more than just that, you are in danger of impinging on the free range of your neighbor, who has every bit as much right to freely express her opinion.

And, another thought you might find illustrative: when we offer up opinions which are hateful or hurtful to others, it makes about as much sense as saying, "It is my right to break off my own arm right here at the elbow, and you have no power to stop me!!"

Quite true.

Consider, though, that we are all on this mighty vessel known as Earth together. We are all one in the singular desire to see her thrive. Even more broadly, we are all one in the eyes of the universe, because no part of it is not. Thus, the 'tearing off my arm' analogy: when you hurt another, you do equal or greater damage to yourself. Are you free to do so? Yes. And, it is not a life-enhancing move, meaning the universe will tend toward your removal from the game even if it takes decades for the removal to occur. If you buy that ticket, you will take the ride. It's just a matter of when.

That's the end of the sermon on 'be nice, or we will be forced to allow your destruction.'

The great joy for me is that, after the lecture, we are still left with dancing (even in your car), singing at the top of our lungs even if not in key, skipping to a tune we hear only in our heads, and laughing in a way which causes our sides to ache and our cheeks to hurt from the exertion.

We can worship whatever entity we like, mate with whomever is willing, raise our kids to be better than we are (remember, they are our future caretakers--respect them now and avoid the rush later) and discover unanticipated talents we missed back when we were hiding ourselves behind society's limits.

You see, there is so much to love about life that I find it incredible how many people insist on being stuck in a self-created rut of delusion about their own limitations. Don't get me wrong! If you wish to be stuck, you are free to be as stuck as you can be. What you cannot do, though, is force me to join you or to be ashamed for failing to join you.

At the same time, I offer to anyone reading the chance to dance, sing, prance, fling your hat in the air, skip, walk like an elephant, pretend you can fly, play tag with the waves as you walk along the beach, make crazy faces, tickle your children (or your parents), buy ice cream, suffer the loss of a friend, die a little for the departure of a love, bounce on a trampoline, sleep in for no reason, eat more than you know you should because you know you can and that last little bit of dinner is calling your name, smell the air as if you have never whiffed anything like it, ever, call someone you have not talked to in ages not because you have any news, but because you love them and miss them, hug someone you barely know, hug everyone you do know, hug folks for no better reason than they don't appear to be armed, cry readily, smile as your default facial expression, and love anyone and anything who will stand still for it.

Then, do it again when you wake up tomorrow.


jylene said...

wow! i need to come back to this one again and reread it all over. a really great post, rick. i need time to digest it. more later

jylene said...

well, i'm back... i must say, this is my favorite of your posts that i've read so far! there is just so much here to relate to in a good way. the dancing, singing, laughing, eating-- i love it! and your quote of julia about the 'qualities of origin.' i really like that description. on my journey back to myself, one of the tools i have used is to try to remember who i was at age 10. what i liked doing, the freedom i felt to just 'be' in the world. back before i became self-concious, before i became aware of other people's expectations of me. before i worried what anyone else thought or felt or wanted. and i just did what i felt like doing, or wanted to do. another tool i've used is listening to the music i loved as a teenager. one thing about music-- it can take you right back in time and make you remember how you felt when you heard it then.
OK, i've gone on enough here! thanks for writing things that i've been unable to find the words to express for myself. XOXOX