Brave Heart

Freedom.  Just the mere word sends shivers up my spine and makes me want to roar like a lion and break all the chains that bind us in fear into smithereens. I am instantly brought to a scene in the movie, Braveheart, where William Wallace is being tortured before his execution and is being put through the most excruciating pain and agony all because he has stood up and fought for the freedom of his country and kinsmen.

Lying upon the table of torture, he defiantly looks death in the face and smiles; not wavering in the slightest for he knows that without the freedom of himself or his people, life is nothing more than a hollow shell.  Inches away from death, he is given the ultimatum by the examiner that if he would only stop his war on the throne and pledge allegiance to the crown that he would be given a swift and painless death. William Wallace, beaten, bruised, weak, and helpless, tilts back his head from the table of torture and Bellows in an Almighty voice, “FREEDOM!”

Like so many of you, I have been given this same choice. It is the choice to live or to die; to choose whether to keep moving forward no matter how uncomfortable it may be and no matter what trials and tribulations I may be facing, or I can choose to lie down and die, beaten and bruised and left wondering if there was anything different I could of done, left asking myself “Is this REALLY who I am?”

Since birth, so many of us have been told  that we are a certain way and that is “just the way things are,” period. For so many of us, there was no room for discussion, no room for growth and change, only a genetic birthright into a situation for which we had no control. We were forced to accept our position in life and to act accordingly. But that just doesn’t seem true. Something about this reality just doesn’t fit into what we know to be true deep within our own selves. And yet when we begin to ask questions and to believe outside this box, we are made to believe we are crazy.

This is the society and framework we were born into; a framework of absolutes and standards, of classes and castes, definitions of normal and not normal, good, and evil.  If we get the nerve to step outside one of these boundary lines, we are made to feel an out caste from the rest of society, with a huge scarlet letter painted across our foreheads.  We are smothered back into monotonous submission. We have been freed physically, but we have been programmed to put ourselves into a prison of mental slavery – a prison of separation from one another, where the opinion of a society, which places more emphasis on material wealth over the health and happiness of its inhabitants, dictates how we feel about ourselves.

Surely this cannot be all there is, striving like a circle trying to fit into a square peg and following blindly after the so-called rich and famous. I mean, this is what everybody else is doing; so this MUST be the truth.  Like I said, we were born into this belief.  Then something miraculous happens.

After days, weeks, months, and maybe years of depression, anxiety, and lack of self-esteem, always questioning “what are we here for” and “do we even matter,” something happens. A shift occurs, a shift in perception that says, “Maybe it doesn’t have it be this way. Maybe, I AM the author of my own self worth.” It is at this moment that a seed is planted, and the labor begins to make sure this seed survives and comes forth from the soil to produce vegetation. But this is only the beginning. From this moment comes many tests and trials that, nine times out of ten, we fail and fall prey to the same perceptions of lack of self worth and separation from the “cool” crowd. But then comes that “tenth” test; The test where we begin to step outside our comfort zone and embrace reality how it truly is and not how we have been told it is, a reality where all are created equal and that true self worth comes from ones own self love.

As we do this, the crowd begins to turn and stare at us in anticipation of what we will do next. We begin to feel the pressure to conform, to keep it cool, and to blend into the background in obscurity. We feel this pressure and we rise above it! We do not fade into obscurity or blend into the background. We continue to step further out of our comfort zones, and in that moment, with all the people staring at us and murmuring among themselves, we decide we really do not care what they think and that we love who we are IN THIS MOMENT! LIBERATION!!!!  Oh man, what a feeling! We cast off our burdens and finally realize that freedom has been here all along, and we only have to accept it! It is as if we are alive for the first time. This is the REBIRTH.

The journey does not end there. Again we are faced with trials and tribulations that, nine times out of ten, we fail. But in comes that “tenth” test, where we rise above the programs that play over in our head and we experience TRUE freedom, TRUE liberation, from the separate self. Then, for every “Tenth” test that we face and pass, we become stronger than before and as the days go by and we become stronger and stronger. We begin to pass the ninth test as well, and then the eighth test, and the seventh test, and so and on and so forth.

Now, we are here on the journey of liberation together. Living moment to moment and knowing the truth that we are worthy, confident, and loved, if not by anybody but ourselves, and that is all that we will ever need. You are not alone on this journey to self-realization. I stand strong with you, in loving acceptance as do innumerable others.


13418481_1103687819674254_5417096276754404417_o-Joshua Gwinn


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