Monday, August 16, 2010


Lee and I have been talking to Izzy about freedom. Here's Lee's story:

In 1972, Lee went to Italy (his first trip to Europe at 21 years old.) He went to some sweet little spot on the Mediterranean called Salerno to study Gestalt. He was there for several months. At the end of the course, he spent 10 days in Rome. This is what he said to Izzy today...

"After spending 4 months in Italy, I spent the final 10 days alone in Rome. It was such an experience of freedom. I came to know the city in a way that I was comfortable. I could depend on myself. I had never known anything like it. Then I went home to Kalmazoo. I had worked at the Upjohn company before I left - which is how I made the money to go. I arrived home on January 6 and had no idea where to land. I applied for a job at Upjohn because it was familiar. I got a job and showed up. It was like walking into a concrete prison. After the expansion of Rome, here I was in corporate America. I never felt so deflated in my life. The freedom I felt in Rome was gone. Like that."

Lee told Izzy this story because we were talking about her own experience of Europe - what it was like to be back. Then, we all started thinking about what freedom feels like.

I remembered my experience from a week ago - swimming in Lake Superior. That felt like freedom to me. I felt ridiculously at one with the water. I felt fourteen. I felt my body. I even liked my body.

When else have I felt freedom? I felt it in Florence in 2006 at 53. It was my first trip to Europe. (I know...I am really a late bloomer.) I hit the ground running. I just got the city. I can't even explain it. I just felt at home.

I often feel freedom in New York - managing the city. It is powerful to be able to navigate and move around and find my own way there. I feel freedom walking around my neighborhood there - from the apartment to the library with my backpack full of books and notepads. I love how no one cares who I am - which gives me the freedom to be whomever I want to be. New York is freedom to me.

I remember feeling freedom riding my bike around Charleston, SC in the '80's. What a magical place to live as I was turning 30.

What is freedom for you? I'd LOVE to hear about this! PLEASE, don't be shy. Write.


  1. Freedom is giving up a well established, well paying, but ultimately soul sucking career at age 43, deciding that what you really wanted to be all along was a librarian...and then making that happen.

  2. I was quoted in a newspaper article this past month on what freedom was to me. It was riding horse in North Dakota amongst the wheat fields. I had just participated in a trail ride that meandered through my grandparents(both maternal and paternal sides) homesteaded land.

  3. i felt freedom for the first time in years walking through the plaza and along the canal in kansas city, missouri this past may. it was because it was beautiful, i was with the love of my life and two of our dearest friends, and because i knew that i was ready to give up my familiar, comfortable life in cleveland, including the only house that has ever felt like home and the only job that has ever "fit" me right... just to be there. just to make the attempt to actually be happy again. we're putting our house on the market in a week or so. the preparations are exhausting, but the idea of KCMO makes me feel free again whenever i get anxious here.