March 11, 2013

Getting Free Monday

Only we can free ourselves.
We are told how free we are so often that many people believe this is actually the case. However, the freedoms so touted by the system are limited for the great majority. The reality is "conform or be cast out", or rather, "consume or be cast out". I always felt something was wrong with that.

Global travel only confirmed this feeling as I visited country after country where the people weren't constantly rushing around preoccupied by working and shopping. I saw people living more simply in communities that were more socially cohesive and laid back than anything I had experienced at home.

When I first saw Turkish men relaxing over tea in outdoor cafes, I would check my watch. If it was between 9 and 5, my programmed work-a-day brain caused me to wonder why the men weren't 'at work'.

It took me a while to overcome my brainwashing that stated that all humans between 16 and 65 will be 'economically productive' at least eight to twelve hours a day Monday to Friday. But I was learning.

I was in the process of being de-programmed. Later, in the timeless old city district of Istanbul, I lost my watch. I never replaced it.

Artist Sue Austin designed her underwater freedom machine, redefining notions of
what it means to be 'disabled', 'handicapped', or 'confined'

With my sense of time and purpose irreversibly altered by travel, I longed to break free of the constraints of my culture's distorted goals and expectations.

It is all an illusion anyway, and I was ready for a new illusion. It was time to downsize, and realign the priorities.

Now I like to do things like ride my bicycle, bundled against the cold, without any means of conducting commerce. I will ride 3 kilometers to our raised bed plot in the community garden where I can forage for fresh (and free) winter greens.

With rich, black soil under my fingernails, I bundle up leaves of dark green kale into my back pack. I feel a kinship with the crows and ravens calling from the nearby trees.

Sue Austin getting free flying underwater

If there is only one game in town to choose from, and not very good one at that, we are not free.

A bird is free. An artist performing a flying underwater ballet in a special wheelchair is free. A fish is free.

Inspired by nature, freedom fighters like Sue Austin, and simple living people around the world, we can get free ourselves.


  1. Anonymous3/11/2013

    I keep hearing the "Freedom isn't free" slogan used over and over here in the USA media. A justification for war it seems. How sad that they're telling people a complete falsehood. Freedom is free, if it's not free, then it's not freedom. Amazing photos and great post!

    1. Wow! I have never heard that slogan. Recently we have been pulling back from the news as it is so negative and relentless. It is good to be informed and aware, but I can feel it dragging me down. I guess it is the balance, that you referred to last time, that I am trying to establish.

      You should run for office - the world needs your kind of logic, compassion, and truth. I wonder if that would disqualify you from running?

    2. Anonymous3/11/2013

      The news can be overwhelming and depressing, that's why I go on regular media fasts.

      This slogan is used all the time by veterans and the extremely patriotic. Quite honestly, it baffles me.

      Finding balance is not easy for me either. After my other comment, I wondered if perhaps I was projecting a bit. The middle way is something that I struggle with constantly.

      I can't imagine running for any kind of office, but thank you.


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