An Opportunity to Declare Freedom


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    Do you ever feel like the whole world is against you and that you are all-alone and no one is on your side? That is how I felt one day in August 2001 on a scheduled flight to Italy. Italy was to be my dream vacation, and back then I believed if I didn’t hurry up and realize my dreams, I never would. So in my haste, I boarded the plane to Italy with my sick mother and my two daughters in tow. I remember it vividly.

    In one hand was my 14 month old. In my other hand, I pushed a stroller that held an overstuffed diaper bag down the small aisle. Naturally our seats were at the back of the plane, and I bumped seats and people along the way. Everyone was looking at me, a million eyes peering, a million thoughts judging, "What is this girl doing?"

    We arrived at our seats and I felt a sense of urgency to get us all situated. I gave the baby to my oldest daughter and began trying to find a place for the stroller and the diaper bag. For the bag, I found a small spot in the overhead. I went to the back of the plane to collapse the stroller, but it wouldn’t budge. There was a flight attendant standing over me, watching casually, without a care in the world. When I finally got it to close, I asked her what I could do with it. Shamefully, she said I was to have left it at the front of the plane. I told her I did not know that and there was no way I could bring it up there with the plane filling up like it was. She then told me that no one else was going to do it for me, that I would have to do it myself.

    Feeling discouraged and angry, I climbed up on one of the seats to try and cram the stroller into the overhead, but it would not fit. I got down and noticed my oldest daughter consoling her little sister who was much too tired to be flying overnight to Italy. I saw my mother who was sitting in her seat, digging in her purse as if nothing was wrong, and the same million eyes peering at me as if I were crazy. Why was no one helping me? I looked at the flight attendant again, who was staring at me with her arms crossed. I approached her and asked how she could just stand there when it is obvious I needed help.

    She said, "What were you expecting?"

    Wow. Good question. What was I expecting? Help, maybe, some understanding, someone to be on my side.

    I knew then what I had to do. I made a decision that would change the course of my life. I got off the plane. When I did, I boldly declared to my old self – who expected so much from others and from herself – that she was no longer in charge.

    Because of this declaration, the potential of a new woman emerged: one that could give up the need to force things, and to make things okay, even if they weren’t; one that no longer needed people to save her from her own choices; and one that didn’t need to do things just because her mind said there isn’t enough time. Instead, she could know that there was a right time to do them, and let go when it isn’t.

    In October of this past year, it was the right time. My 13-year-old daughter and I took a 10-day tour of Italy. During this tour, my mind was free and open to absorb the culture of my family. I understood that many of the values I had kept hidden from myself and others come from this ancestral place. Italians are passionate, alive people, who are prideful in their independence and individuality. During this tour of Italy, I came alive and understood at a deeper level my true, authentic nature.

    Sometimes we have to declare our freedom. It is too easy to be confined by not only society’s requirements for us, but more importantly our own. I wish for you an opportunity so that you can do just that – and come home to your authentic nature.




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