Category Archives: Mending the Mind

Thriver Soup Thursday–She’s not The Statue of Liberty

Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), in his essay, “What is Enlightenment?”

statue crown webThe philosopher Immanuel Kant gave this answer to the question “What is Enlightenment?” in an essay published during 1784, nearly 100 years before the Statue of Liberty was built.

But “Statue of Liberty” isn’t the true name of the giant green goddess-like figure overlooking New York City’s harbor area. She was officially named the statue of “Liberty Enlightening the World.” I realized during a recent trip that to call her simply “the Statue of Liberty” is to miss the point of her name. The liberty she represents has a defined purpose—to bring enlightenment the world.

The copper colossus, designed by French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi, was intended as a 100-year birthday present from the French to the people of the United States. Construction of the statue and the pedestal was completed in 1886.

Originally the statue stood for shared political freedom between the United States and France. Poet Emma Lazarus expanded this view to include hope against external sources of tyranny:

… Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. … “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Yet “liberty” and “enlightenment” mean so much more.

Kant had put the word enlightenment into a personal context a century earlier. “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.” Kant’s motto of enlightenment was “Sapere aude” – Dare to be wise.

As humans take more responsibility for their personal lives, they find more freedom within themselves to act from a place of authenticity. This brings more awareness into their lives, which in turn spreads more light to others. When enough people experience this internal freedom, then perhaps humanity will reach a critical mass in consciousness and the whole world will experience more freedom, maturity, and wisdom.

It must start with each of us as individuals. Do I dare to develop the courage to emerge from my self-incurred, self-limiting immaturity? Do I dare to be wise?

I wasn’t ready to tap into my deeper levels of courage until my cancer journey forced me to dare to emerge from my self-incurred immaturity. Right after the sarcoma diagnosis in 2009, when I was in New York City, I apparently was ill-prepared for the privilege of visiting Liberty Enlightening the World. Unbeknownst to me, I first needed to grow up and heal my life. I missed the last ferry to the island that year, and put a visit to the green queen on my bucket list.

When I visited her this summer, five years into Radical Remission, I was ready to receive the full impact of her message of internal liberty and the resulting enlightenment that can be shared with the world.

I even ascended the double-helix passage up to the crown for an in-spirational view from on high.

And so I share Liberty Enlightening the World’s message: Dare to break out of self-incurred immaturity. Dare to be wise. Dare to lift your torch beside your own golden door and open it to share your brilliant light with the world.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

If you want to climb to the crown of the statue, purchase your tickets several months in advance. Only 500 people among the thousands who mill around the pedestal are allowed up into the crown each day.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Answering_the_Question:_What_is_Enlightenment%3F

http://fiveminutehistory.com/liberty-enlightening-the-world/

Thriver Soup Thursday: Go Ahead–Walk on Water

So Peter went down from the boat and walked on the water, to come to Jesus.
Matthew 14:29, Christian Bible

peter jesus walking water copyOne night Jesus strides on the surface of a lake toward the boat containing his disciples. One of the passengers, Peter, also wants to walk on the water. For a short time Peter has the faith to move across the choppy surface. He steps completely outside his comfort zone, completely outside his way of perceiving the world, and does something extraordinary. He is truly alive for that brief moment.
I want to fully live my life, which is a longing that springs from years of deadly uterine cancer treatments and threats of hospice. This attitude has helped me face down many things I previously had feared, and to try new experiences my former self would have done anything to avoid.
Prior to 2009, I would never have considered driving in downtown Manhattan, New York. Especially during rush hour.
Well, in June I chose to drive through Manhattan to get to Long Island. After getting lost and rerouted, guess what time I pulled onto the Big Apple? 4 p.m. Just in time for rushing waves of traffic.
Ahead of me there was not a single accident on my route to the Queens–Midtown Tunnel. There were two.
My sister suggested I take a Zen approach and simply allow. So I did, settling into the fact it could take hours to traverse a handful of city blocks. Yet I also decided I was going to be something new, something different, something I had never tried before. I chose to be a bad-as_ behind the wheel.
My brother-in-law had demonstrated how to drive in Manhattan when he helped me get around for my visit to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center during 2009. Be pushy. Honk plenty. Don’t give any room. So I picked up his procedures.
I’d already blared my horn for several minutes to get my sister’s attention so she could find me sitting in a traffic lane. I didn’t budge out of anyone’s line of driving until she was safely buckled in next to me.
At one intersection I crossed only partway and sat in a traffic lane, blocking the perpendicular flow. A man in a big black SUV in an oncoming turning lane honked at me, trying to inch his way in front of my little gold Prius. I crept forward. He yelled at me through his open window and tried again to edge me out. As I was able, I moved forward a little more. This scene continued for several heated minutes.
Finally he gave up. He called me an as_-hole (worse than bad-as_), pulled back and passed behind me. “Oh, Ohio! No wonder!”
I chuckled. I had been enough of a bad-as_ to rouse swearing in another driver. I had stood up to a big bad truck with a driver who might well have rammed my little car. I had played with a Big Apple Boy and hadn’t let him cow me.
Like Peter, I followed someone’s example of living life more fully, and moved completely out of my comfort zone. I faced my fear. And I didn’t sink.
Buoyed by my little personal triumph, I trickled my car forward, eventually got through the tunnel, and made my way to our accommodations.
I had lived fully in those moments. I have no desire to repeat them, yet I have added fresh, new experiences to this adventure called life.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
Is there something you’re afraid of trying, yet know you would be glad you did? Don’t focus on the fear. Focus on the end result—the feeling of satisfaction of having faced the fear and triumphed. I see this as a way of walking on water ourselves.
Sources:
Lamsa, George M. Holy Bible: From the Ancient Eastern Text: George M. Lamsa’s Translation From the Aramaic of the Peshitta. Harper & Row, May 8, 1985.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMielno_witraz_Piotr_chodzi_po_jeziorze.JPG

Watching for family patterns

hildegard von bingen
Hildegard of Bingen

Rivers of living water are to be poured out over the whole world, to ensure that people, like fishes caught in a net, can be restored to wholeness.
Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen, German Benedictine abbess and founder of scientific natural history in Germany, believed that the Divine pours out living water upon the earth to bring healing to all. She believed people can be restored to wholeness.

It has happened for me. This year I celebrate that I have lived longer than my mother lived.

This is significant in my eyes, because she passed from breast cancer. I, also, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I now have flowed past her last birthday and have outlived her. I have exhaled a huge sigh of relief.

I’m not the only one snared by the family cancer net. My mother was diagnosed when I was a tween. One of my sons was the same age when I was diagnosed with a sarcoma. It definitely appeared to be a pattern. A pattern that needed to be eliminated.

The first step, of course, was being aware of this pattern. On its own, this acknowledgement reduces its strength. It frees us up somewhat from carrying out the repetition compulsion. Now at least part of the burden has been lifted from his shoulders. Of course, this brings me even more relief.

And a restoration of some wholeness.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Sometimes families have patterns of illness or of passing. Being aware of the patterns is the first step in healing them.

Source:

http://www.azquotes.com/quote/865103, possibly from Hildegard of Bingen, “Book of Divine Works”, Part III, Vision 3

Image is in the public domain.