Personal Freedom

More than 35 years ago when I was writing a cookbook of international, family recipes, and recipes from friends, it gave me focus, purpose, and freedom during a hard time in my life. Because I believe that freedom is an inside job, writing something creative has helped me again and again regain my own personal freedom.

Since Independence Day, a lot has been recently said about freedom, and it often has been tied to fighting for freedom and flag waving. Since I am a peace activist, fighting wars has been something I have opposed for at least 30 years, particularly when I deemed the war was unnecessary. For me, seeking my own personal freedom has been a part of my life’s journey.

However, our own personal freedom, so we can face each new day, is probably different for each of us. It’s writing, for me, it may be doing art, singing, reading, playing music or instruments, prayer, meditating, taking a walk, or even exercising that helps you regain your own personal freedom.

“Books were my pass to PERSONAL FREEDOM. I learned to read at age three and soon discovered there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond my farm in Mississippi.”
– Oprah Winfrey

That book I wrote over 35 years ago, is published now. See the photo. Since I had to retype all of the recipes and the entire book, and not just scan it onto my computer, I had to decide whether the project of this cookbook was worth it. I also had to retest many recipes, because ingredients had change. I slept on whether it was worth it to put “Sane and Savory Cookbook” out into the world. I concluded “YES!” I added new knowledge about nutrition for the 21 st century and added even more recipes. While I was retyping the book, I also struggled and even became ill because I did not realize at that time that I was also triggering what was happening in my life more than 35 years ago. That included very difficult life changes for me to learn to accept.

This Tedx Talk shows a very broad and thoughtful view of Creating Freedom for ourselves. I concur with Raoul Martinez’s viewpoint and found it very insightful.

When I finished the retyping the cookbook in about May 2016 and handed it over to my daughter to upload on, I didn’t realize until then that this book had actually contributed to my “personal freedom” so many years ago.

“For in the end, freedom is a personal and lonely battle; and one faces down fears of today so that those of tomorrow might be engaged.”

– Alice Walker

What do you do that helps you replenish and sustain your personal freedom?


Being Welcomed

I brought back this photo because my favorite local squirrel, was welcoming me home after I had been away for a few weeks last year. This squirrel gave me the feeling of being welcomed back to where I live. There have been times in my life when I did not always feel welcomed, so I know what that feels like. Hurtful!

That does not happen to me often these days. I have noticed though that I have had more opportunities to make others feel they are being welcomed. As an English-as-a-Second Language teacher, I had many opportunities to make my student over the years feel welcomed, at least to my classroom. I can do what I can to be welcoming, so I can show people from other countries that they are important here. This is not always the case in the wider world or even in the USA.

Is fear stopping us or me from being welcoming? It makes sense to protect ourselves. We and I can’t be naive, but I can become too vigilant with fear and miss opportunities to meet good people.

Being welcoming to all kinds of people from all backgrounds, ethnic groups, and sexual orientations is something I have endeavored to do. I can still remember not feeling being welcomed. I have had to NOT let FEAR of new people dominate or color my thinking or judging people. Each one of us has a story, and we are all human beings sharing the same space on this beautiful earth.

Check out this TEDx Talk by Jan Gunnarsson about being welcoming:
“Hostmanship: the Art of Making People Feel Welcome”

I know that I need to welcome myself to this planet first every day, and be grateful. That is also a choice for me, just like it is for the bus driver in Mr. Gunnarsson’s TEDx Talk.

Every day I need to check my attitude of gratitude, so I can smile and be kind and as welcoming as I can. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that. At times when I need to complain to someone about a problem or challenge, I try to do it with honesty and with some kindness and respect towards the other people (person).