Happy Memorial Day.
With the Holiday weekend and everything going on in my personal life.
I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom.
Specifically a quote from Benjamin Franklin…
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
And with all of the COVID craziness and the “questionable” responses of various world governments…
…This quote has been making more rounds than usual across the interwebs.
But recently… I’ve realized that people are missing the point of what’s being said.
Because the simple truth is… no matter who you are or where you live…
We’ve been sacrificing our “essential liberties” long before any Shelter In Place orders were issued.
And we didn’t need to be cajoled by some draconian “Big Brother” to do it.
Our society (meaning the industrialized Western world) started giving up its essential liberties the second it earned them.
Sacrificing the integral parts of our humanity at the altar of consumerism, comfort, and greed.
Gleefully and willingly sliding down the chute to the slaughterhouse floor…
We sacrifice our health, our very life-force…
For the mouthfeel or a juicy burger, the fizzy satisfaction of a cold beer, and chemical-laden “foods” that keep us fat, sick, and nearly dead.
We sacrifice our financial freedom and agency as human beings for the comfort and ease of a “safe” 9-5…
Spending a third of our life doing work we hate to finance and bankroll purchases we don’t really need.
We sacrifice our minds and intellect to avoid the pain and discomfort of thinking for ourselves…
Allowing the mainstream media and whatever political party our parents happened to follow to determine what we believe and how we view the world.
We sacrifice our spirit and understanding of our place in the cosmos at the altar of religion…
…Allowing some prick in a pulpit to tell us who and what God is and what it wants for our lives.
…Instead of seeking a higher purpose and meaning for ourselves and using our own experiences and internal compass to guide us to the truth.
We sacrifice our attention, time, and energy for the quick hit of entertainment…
Settling for reality TV, action-packed video games, and social media instead of focusing on our own lives and creating a reality that’s actually worth experiencing.
We sacrifice our very lives… our future… our freedom… our hopes, dreams, and aspirations…
…All to stay safe and comfortable.
We refuse our call to adventure and our soul’s true calling…
So that we don’t rock the boat and risk the ridicule of the other hairless monkeys with whom we share the planet.
It’s funny really…
How we’ll fight so hard against the external powers that infringe upon our freedoms (at least when they do so flagrantly)
…But turn a blind eye to the INTERNAL forces keeping us trapped.
Most of us go through life as if we’re ignorant of our own mortality.
Lying to ourselves about the cold reality that one day… we will all die.
And the ONLY thing that will matter when that day comes is how we lived.
No one will give a shit about the job you had or the car you drove or how many square feet you had in your house.
What will matter is WHO you were and HOW you lived.
Did you live free?
As Theodore Roosevelt put it…
Daring greatly, pursuing mighty goals, getting IN the arena… your face marred with blood and sweat and tears knowing the triumph of victory and the sting of defeat?
Or did you live as a slave?
A slave to your entertainment, instant gratification, and what “felt” good? A slave to conformity, to the status quo, to your own fears and desire for safety?
You can choose to be free at any moment.
To say “enough!” To pursue your truest desires. To make the sacrifices required to live the life you want. To live life on your terms today and every day.
But it’s a choice that you… and ONLY you can make.
I for one, choose freedom.
And I hope you’ll join me in that choice.
Love and Gratitude,
P.S. Wondering what the hell this email has to do with writing?
A lot actually… Some of the greatest writers on the planet spend their entire lives cowering in fear.
They choose the temporary comfort of a “shadow career” that pays the bills instead of pursuing their true calling and doing whatever it takes to share their gifts with the world.
And if you TRULY want to become a successful wordsmith and get paid to fill a blank page with beautiful prose.
You must consciously choose to prioritize freedom and creation over comfort and convenience.
There is no magic bullet and there’s no one coming to save you.