Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rebellious Adventure as a Declaration of Personal Freedom

My favorite part of this photo is Jane, on the right, just taking off. She was flying around the room after this and I captured take-off.  Jane is in her mid-70s.

On Tuesday I wrote about how I realized I was reading adventure books that were all about men. Now our black table near to this desk where I write is covered in books from the library about women who defied even greater odds.

I look at photos of women from the 1800s who not only dared to speak their truth at a time when women were often "forbidden" a voice that was not their husbands but who also took off into then completely unknown territories...with equipment that makes our equipment now look like pampering.

(A caveat: From the looks of the political landscape lately, I fear we have not come far at all since that time. I am made more breathless than a whale-bone-corseted Victorian when I see what is happening and I wonder WHY...why now...what has changed...why are we the target again?  But that is not for this post.)

I bring up politics when I don't necessarily believe politics is where "real" and "important" happens regardless of how many men try to decide when pregnancy really starts, regardless of the "women" that they recruit to spill their poison on the rest of us.

I believe, with all my heart, what Albert Camus had to say:

"The only way to confront a world without freedom
is to become so absolutely free that one
makes one's own existence an act of rebellion."

Which brings me right back to those adventurers of the 1800s.

Their lives were their freedom.

They did not need an act of Congress or permission from anyone to tell them otherwise.

When we decide that someone else has to grant us our freedoms, we agree to live within the cage that they have built for us.

And believe me...those cages are comfortable, and it can take extraordinary acts of will to even notice that they are cages at all, much less to get up out of the paralyzing fluff and exit the open door.

I think about my students, the women around me who have begun to FLY...

  • A woman in her 80s who asked a man dancing after taking her first class with me.

  • A woman in her 50s who crossed "sky-diving" off of her bucket list and attributes her courage to the studio.

  • A woman in her 30s who has to keep making new lists as she rips right through them.

There are far too many of these stories to list.

What matters is that these women have tapped into their essential power and joy and now nothing can stop them.

They have decided that they are free and so they are.

They have decided that they are brave and so they are.

They have decided that this life is theirs to dive into and so they do.

What act of rebellion does your heart crave?

What adventure could you use as a marker, as a Declaration of your Personal Freedom?