Today, I want to share with you a quote from Bill Watterson, creator of the cartoon strip, Calvin and Hobbes. This comes to us via one of my Facebook friends, Steve Frosch:
Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.Bill Watterson ( creator of Calvin and Hobbes ) and his Kenyon College Commencement Address (May 20, 1990)
These words by artist, prophet and sage, Bill Watterson, invite us to reflect upon our own lives and ask how we are measuring our happiness and our success. Are we striving for success as it is defined by the Western model (money, acquisitions, power, status, etc.) or are we seeking success that is measured by the inner contentment, joy and an abundance of love? If we are seeking the latter, we are seeking to live a life of what I call, Authentic Freedom.
Authentic Freedom is a life that is known by a consistent and persistent experience of inner contentment, peace, joy and love. In claiming a life of authentic freedom, we acknowledge that the true source of contentment is within and that our outer life reflects this contentment in the choices that we make. When we claim authentic freedom, we also are empowered to seek, discover, cultivate, nurture and develop our own unique giftedness and are then compelled to share this giftedness in the world in service to others.
Choosing to claim authentic freedom requires faith and courage as this is a path that is frequently regarded by society as “eccentric and subersive.” It is counter-cultural to heed the voice of our highest self and stand in the truths that are revealed to be in our highest good and most reflective of our unique gift and call as we witness a world that instead chooses to remain in status quo and to regard the “shoulds” of perceived authority as “law.” If we desire to know a profound and lasting inner peace, however, claiming authentic freedom (or anyother name that we would give to this) is the only way.
The good news is that there is an abundance of support for those who feel called to exploring and embracing a life of authentic freedom. And if this is a path you desire to explore, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
Lauri Lumby Schmidt
Authentic Freedom Ministries