What Shall I Think

Freedom MATTERS:

November 19, 2001

What was the impetus for this entry? A fellow journaller needs 'the freedom to develop'. He's referring to exploring new modes of coding for his journal. But any freedom matters. In an email to the group list he has, I advise:

Re ''freedom to develop'', by all means, go for it. Every journaller should always have the feeling that their journal is a special spot that's uniquely theirs, that they can do whatever they want with it. I prefer the simple html I learned back in 1997, ancient by current web standards. But it's what works for me. It should always be about 'freedom'.

Like the radio advice I've received recently, "Stay brave, stay free..."

Yes, I quite suspect that was the inspiration for the following:

What if I wrote the first thing that comes into my mind? Like a butterfly, it enters. Or a cat on quiet feet. Or a cloud, softly passing. Or a crack of lightning, BOOM!, and then leaving me breathless with the shock.

What shall I think? Whatever I want. Will I think what I don't want to think? Then I'll examine it, and see why I don't want to think it.

This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Shakespeare, Hamlet

That's some rich advice my Mother gave me when I was young. She wrote it in a special book I'd been given for autographs. I didn't see it then, but now that I'm older, I see its wisdom.

If you can't think what you want to, there is no worse slavery than the walls and cage you construct for yourself. Nobody can tear them down for you. Only you can.

And yet I will think, and I will think and I'll keep right on thinking 'til I can't think no more, whatever I want. This freedom, I shall have.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, that war-torn country far away, they are rejoicing. They are finally free to blast radio music loudly and shave their beards. Women can at last show their faces, not suffocated by those horrible body bags they had been forced to wear. We cannot imagine what their life had been like.

So that much good has come out of the war. Sing, Afghans, and maybe one day you'll be able to THINK freely.

Freedom can start small. You can sit in your cage, even though the door has been crashed away, looking at the barrier-less space, and not know what to do with it. You do not know you can take those cramped, weak legs, and cross beyond. It is all quite an illusion to you.

Any clear hint of a way out must come slowly. Like the new breeze on your cheeks, if the wind gets in, what can get out?

Start slow, but start. That shuddered worry will retreat.

Start now. Can you not hear the bird singing, and don't you want to join him?

The way is open, breezeless no more.

Start now.

© Joan Ann Lansberry
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