Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Are You Free Yet?

Did the 4th of July set you free? If not, don’t despair; it’s not too late.

The 4th of July brings a smile to my face, because so many of my Greek acquaintances are quick to point out the many ways in which we, Americans, are not free. They are baffled by our definition of freedom, by the number of restrictions and the amount of control present in our society. Their definition goes something like this: you are free to do anything you want at any time with, perhaps, the exception of killing another human being. The most recent example is the reaction of some Greek smokers (40% of the population) who are enraged by the recent ban on smoking in public places. They insist that they are free to do whatever they want with their bodies, no matter the consequences. When I bring up the effects of second-hand smoke and list my friends who have contracted cancers or died from these effects, they merely become angrier. I remember their reaction to foreign veterinarians who volunteered to neuter the cats in the Sporades for population control. The Islanders were furious that such a practice would violate the cats’ freedom. I’ve noticed a pattern: theirs is a freedom that frees them of social responsibility.

But my Greek friends do have a point. It is easier for them to see what we do not see in ourselves. They are quick to remind us of the many ways in which we are not free. The 4th of July is a great time to contemplate our freedom, not just nationally but personally. It gives me a chance to ask am I free yet? Or, perhaps, more useful, where in my life am I not free?

What is the construction of your own personal prison? There are many forms it can take. Here are a few:

1. Physical: Are you limited by your body, by your physicality? Do you have a handicap? How have you dealt with this? Have you become more limited physically because of an illness, an injury, or conditions associated with aging, such as arthritis, pain, lack of energy, weakness?

2. Emotional: Are you an emotional sponge? Do you sense and feel everything and everyone? Do you find yourself reacting to uncomfortable situations through expressing your emotions? Do you have difficulty controlling your reactions? Do you find yourself crying or shouting? Do you feel controlled by your emotions?

3. Mental: Are you trapped by your mind? Do you have a hard time turning your mind off when you get home from work or when you try to fall alseep? Is meditation impossible for you, because you are unable to “still” your mind? Do your thoughts control you, rather than the other way around? What beliefs do you hold? Are your beliefs causing you pain and suffering? Are your beliefs actually true? Are they controlling your choices and actions? What expectations do you hold of yourself and of others? Are these expectations dictating your choices, dictating your life?

4. Past: Are you stuck in the past, frustrated by past choices, angry at past events, or missing an earlier happier time?

5. Future: Are you trapped in the future? Are your choices and actions motivated by a possible future point in time? Are you making choices now that are unbearable or harmful to your health in order to “have” or ‘be” something in the future?

This is a sobering exercise. Most of us are much less free than we realize. We are controlled by all kinds of things: limitations of our bodies, our minds, incorrect thoughts, beliefs, expectations. We are often stuck in the past or in the future, rarely present in the present. Look at your list and make yourself a promise that you will free yourself from at least one of your many cells.

Take out that key now and turn the lock. You don’t have any more time to waste. Step out and be free.

Make every day the 4th of July.

Happy Freedom, Everyone!


  1. Beautifully written, Rebecca. Thank you for giving me something proactive to think about on this day. I do commit to free myself of something important today. I'll let you know what it is when it presents.

  2. You are so welcome, Sara. You were my inspiration to write this. We thank you for your fearless journey. Your work is for all of us, my Dear.