“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all …”
Although it was decades ago, I remember well the first journey I took across this beautiful country of ours, the United States of America. Leaving the skyscrapers of New York behind, I was destined for the homeland of perpetual sunshine and free love – California – and soon I could feel the earth move beneath my wheels. All along the way, each state opened its gracious heart and shared its richest gifts with me. Local restaurant delights, colorful downtown squares, and friendly faces all greeted me as I made my way to a new promised land. I am amazed to discover, when I finally get to meet all those “other people” I was warned about, that our unity lives inside our diversity. If I really looked into someone’s eyes and listened to their stories, I could always find our shared humanity. And my journey is only just beginning…
“The land of the free and the home of the brave …”
As I wander around California I see that it must be the embodiment of that inspiring statement for its human handiwork certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. So many cultures, races, and beliefs crowding for space, just as they do in my beloved New York, but here the word “liberal” is an understatement. Tattooed, tanned, and pierced bodies and faces vie for attention as men love men and women hold hands with other women of every color. This is the rainbow people realm, stunning in its diversity. While you can encounter a dozen different nationalities in one square block of New York City, here sun-drenched beaches and golden neighborhoods hold the entirety of God’s children in their all-encompassing embrace.
“Freedom to worship, freedom to speak, freedom …”
After leaving California, I travel our national highways for years — a young white woman alone. As a traveling minister, I went on the road to deliver yet another Sunday morning message at the mainstream, trans-denominational, or just-about-anything-I-can-imagine spiritual community of my choosing. The mind expansive advertisement for my workshop always hits the paper just in time, and I am grateful for the rapid-fire blur of technology that served my business with ease and availability. This roving peace warrior blends in with the local residents and the doors opened for business every Sunday without incident. Some folks stay, some go, and still the day’s inspirational words touch the lives of all those in attendance. They may even have been the meat of our lunchtime conversation at the home town, open-air café where we all discuss ideas freely. I am grateful to take a piece of this place and these people with me as I make my way to my next geographical and spiritual destination.
“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet …”
And so the days go, filled with choice, independence, autonomy, self-volition, free thought, and all the other stuff that constitutes a present-day life and reality for so many of us. But certainly not all of us. Perhaps it is because I hold these truths to be self-evident that I rarely pause to think about the synchronicity and generosity of my existence. I know that freedom is my divine birthright and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness my spiritual calling and most days everything flows well for me. Yet I have friends who remind me that if you want peace, you have to work for justice. So, every Independence Day I reacquaint myself with our founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I allow their words and ideas to serve as a soul marker to remind me of the numerous individuals who are still imprisoned in their minds and lives. It’s a spiritual practice that functions as a guiding light for the next year of compassionate service to humanity.
A great man once said “I have a dream” and the world was transformed with that vibration of promise and truth. What great freedoms we all enjoy, and what dreams of equality and integrity are still awaiting our enlightened consciousness. May the prayers of my heart and the actions of my years continually resonate with this liberating, awakening dream as I witness freedom ringing clear as a bell for one and for all. May peace prevail on earth.
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Through her ministry, “Doorway Into The Infinite”, Rev. Maria holds the vision for the transformation of the consciousness of planet earth. She is a spiritual change agent committed to… educating people in the process of healing… empowering the world one creative thought at a time… and experiencing peace in our lifetime. Her articles, essays, and meditations have been published in various magazines. She has self-published numerous books and manuals, and released two recordings of guided meditations. She’s created a variety of classes, workshops, and spiritual performance pieces, where she expresses her profound interest in spirituality and peace. For more information, she can be reached at her website: www.be-the-change.com or at her e-mail: RevMariaS@aol.com