Charlie is the lone survivor of the four canine soul mates that have touched our (my wife and myself) lives over the course of the past thirteen years. Roughly twice a day, he will stand before me, stare into my eyes and wag his unkempt yet lovable tail with a posture that signals that he is ready for a walk, an adventure, an exuberant indulgence in the freedom of being what he was designed to be. More times than not, I tell him that I am not ready, that I am in the middle of something important and that he will just have to be patient. He almost always responds by replacing his forward leaning stance with a neutral sitting position, maintaining that intense expectant eye contact for as long as it takes until he hears those words “do you wanna go for a walk”.
Today is the Fourth of July, Independence Day in the USA, a day that specifically commemorates the signing of the Declaration Of Independence in 1776. While we certainly use this day to honor our fallen heroes and brave soldiers, the Fourth of July has also become a celebration of our individual freedom, the freedom that we have to pursue the life that we authentically desire to live without having any governmental body or religious sect enforce the contrary.
In my experience, I have discovered that the greatest oppressor of personal freedom often resides within our-selves. Now back to Charlie for an Illustration of that point. Charlie hasn’t had a lifetime full of choices, education, experimentation, goals or trials and tribulations, yet he seems to have an absolutely clear understanding of that which he wants and that which he is. When he is idle, I don’t think he ponders what else he might be to feel complete. He simply sits and waits with unending patience, knowing that the opportunity to revel in his purpose will eventually come. In this respect, Charlie knows a freedom that few humans ever find. Many of us humans have early inclinations towards the things that truly interest us and often those are the things that we are best at, the things that come naturally. The problem is, most of us don’t follow that lead. Instead we fail to recognize the validity of those revelations and we set off on a journey to find something better. We find ourselves in a quagmire of expectations, material distractions, uncertainties and compromises all in the interest of finding something that we had all along, an authentic purpose.
Personally, I met my creative spirit early on in life and then like most of us, I jumped the fence and searched the world for something better. Almost thirty years later, I have come home to my artful purpose, I am patiently waiting for the next opportunity to create and for the first time in my life I feel that I have truly claimed my inalienable right to be Free. Happy Independence Day!