Web Inspirations

Web Inspirations for Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere

Jun 27, 2008

Real Liberation

I had a remarkable conversation with a woman about physical limitations. Nancy was a sufferer of M.S. She could no longer walk and spent her waking hours in a wheelchair.

"I'm not 'confined' to the wheelchair," she insisted one day. "It doesn't confine me. It sets me free."

I had never thought of it that way. And I have never referred to someone in a wheelchair since as being "confined."

She asked me, "Do you want to know my reason for living?" It seemed like an abrupt change of subject, but I went with it.

"What is it?"

"To liberate people. To set them free."

She must have studied my face and figured I needed more help. "It's like me...before I got my wheelchair, I had trouble getting around," she explained. "Now I can go places. But other people may be trapped in different ways. So however I can free people, I want to do it."

"People speak of being 'shut in,'" she continued. "People who have difficulty leaving a room or a house or a bed are not 'shut in.' They're 'shut out' -- shut out of activities and shut out of people's lives. So I try to help people find some freedom, however I can."

I wonder how she'd handle my limitations, though. I can get around all right, but I hold myself back by my thinking. I say, "We'll never do that!" or "I just don't believe that is possible" and later find that somebody proved me wrong. It's my beliefs and attitudes that cause some of my biggest problems. They are as limiting to me as Nancy's
disease is to her.

"Almost everybody walks around with a vast burden of imaginary limitations inside his head," says author J. H. Brennan. "While the burden remains, personal success is as difficult to achieve as the conquest of Everest with a sack of rocks tied to your back."

It IS a burden, isn't it? Like a sack of rocks. Some people carry the burden that they will never be able to pursue a passion or achieve a cherished dream. And some tote around the idea that other people can experience good things of life, or simply be happy, but they never will. Our thinking itself can be as much a burden as climbing a mountain with a sack of rocks tied to our backs.

When I feel "confined" by my thinking, I sometimes ponder these words from Darwin P. Kingsley, past president of New York Life Insurance Company:

"You have powers you never dreamed of. You can do things you never thought you could do. There are no limitations in what you can do except the limitations of your own mind."

Now THAT sets me free! Free to live. Free to risk. Free to move forward. Free to be...me.

It's real liberation.

-- Steve Goodier

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