Monday, January 9, 2017

The twisted journey in search of personal freedom

By Monica Vest Wheeler

Do you find yourself frequently searching for something you can't quite define?

Is it happiness? Is it love? Is it fulfillment? Is it simply the meaning of life?

It kinda reminds me of the chorus from that song on the old country comedy show, "Hee-Haw," something I watched every week as a kid:

"Where, where, are you tonight?
Why did you leave me here all alone?
I searched the world over,
And thought I found true love.
You met another and
Phht! you were gone."

Whether it's love, happiness, fulfillment, the meaning of life or something else … just when you think you've captured what you've been searching for, you've heard that "Phht!" blowing in the wind right in your direction. Yep, I've been "Phht"ed quite a few times over the years … and that can be as icky as Superman spitting into the wind …

In search of that elusive something I've had trouble defining most of my life, I've crisscrossed this nation more miles than I can count and have been to Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and Israel … the high lands, the low lands, and my own back yard.

I just figured I'd know it when I saw "it," which is what I tell salesclerks when they ask if they can assist me. "No, thank you, I'll know it when I see it."

In the many moments of soul-searching I've accumulated in recent weeks after the sudden passing of my dad, two words finally spoke to me and connected all the wayward corners of my life, from personal to professional and everything in-between. Two medium-sized words that I had not married nor fully comprehended until now:

Personal freedom.

Now, go ahead and stare at me like I'm a little crazier than usual, and I'll wholeheartedly agree. I'll break out my purple pom poms and start my cheer: "Give me a P, give me an E …" and you can join me at any letter you like.

I really thought I had it all figured out when I declared the true meaning of life was love. Yes, you can take my definition to the bank and go dancing in the streets, climb every mountain and ford every stream …

I've adopted this new mantra of "personal freedom" to address the self-imposed limitations so many humans bear. My eyes have been opened to what has held me hostage and what I've been afraid to let go of. And it's not only a question of "what" but answering a bigger challenge of "why." I thought I had conquered it before, but I was mislead by my own interpretations.

For far too long, I subscribed to Scarlett O'Hara's philosophy: "After all, tomorrow is another day." (Google her if you don't know who she is!)

Yeah, tomorrow is another day, but I woke up a few days ago with the unwavering resolve that I WANT TO LIVE NOW.

My newly defined personal freedom relies on dedicated focus, writing, photography, reaching out and within, speaking up and more often, and so much more … putting to use all those talents God has given me and that so many individuals have accepted and nurtured along the way.

Embracing those two words has opened my life to so many new emotions and opportunities and connections and conversations. Even my tears serve a greater purpose in nourishing a new seed in my soul … and my laughter has all my cells vibrating in harmony, even the ones that sing off-key …

Where, oh where, does YOUR personal freedom hide?

Share it with me … share it with the world … we're waiting with open arms and hearts …

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