With Independence Day coming tomorrow, I am thoughtful –as I am every year — about the freedoms I am grateful to live with every day. I am grateful to have the freedom of speech and to pursue the career of my dreams. I am grateful for freedom from the eating disorder that plagued me for many years. I am grateful to be able to choose where I live and what I eat. When I have a rough day, I try to spend time with my gratitude journal, where I list several things I am grateful for this day.
What I have learned over my years of searching for and embracing the freedoms of my life is that I have to remember where I have come from in order to appreciate where I am today. It’s about perspective. It’s about remembering the losses and the gifts I have endured and been granted. It’s also about remembering that there are many, many people who do not enjoy the same freedoms that I do. It’s about having goals to learn about as many cultures, policies, therapies, ideas, opinions as I can so that I am informed to help my clients and live a mindful life.
As I reflect on FREEDOM, the theme of the 4th of July celebrations, I am also reminded of the significant losses that thousands of people in Colorado have recently suffered because of the wildfires plaguing our state. How does freedom connect to these experiences? How can those of us who are watching these struggles connect with the experiences and lend our support? I have spent much time over the past few weeks reflecting on this juxtaposition.
Here is what I am aware of today:
I work often with those in recovery from eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating, and today I was struck by a quote from St. Frances de Sales that spoke true to me and to those that I support, even more than four hundred years after it was spoken:
“A habitual moderation in eating and drinking is much better than certain rigorous abstinences made from time to time.”
Freedom from food struggles involves balance, moderation, and listening to your inner voice. This, I believe, can be related to so many other areas of our lives. What does freedom mean to you? I encourage you to reflect on this as Independence Day draws near and to share your freedom with others.