1 Jul 2012
A wonderful start to the month of July here in Toronto! What a wonderful Canada Day celebration on Parliament Hill. I am not in Ottawa, but, I enjoyed myself, in my arm chair in my air conditioned home, eating my Chinese dumplings and washing it down with a delightful ice coffee!
Canada Day is a great time and opportunity to celebrate the diversity in the nation. On Parliament Hill, we enjoyed music in English and French from across Canada. This year, I really enjoyed Roch Voisine whom I have missed on the music scene for a long time. I loved his English and French songs and wonder if he will be back to sing some more! At the same time, in Toronto, millions are marching and celebrating Pride at the annual Pride parade downtown. Then, there's the 2012 Euro Cup finals taking place this afternoon. Fans of Italy and Spain soccer teams are anxiously glued to the tv and there will be a huge celebration afterwards, I am sure!
Every year, every day, and every minute, I want to be reminded what it means to be strong and free, a phrase found in the Canadian national anthem, O Canada.1 You and I may not understand or appreciate this unless we have walked in the shoes of those who came from places where they have no freedom. If you have not experienced persecution, you may not truly appreciate freedom.
In the past couple weeks, I have been thinking about people who do not feel free; those who have felt trapped. Whether you are physically trapped, psychologically bound or emotionally tied up, that feeling of being trapped is more than simply uncomfortable. If you choose to physically remain in one spot, that's still a freedom of choice, assuming you can leave at an time. But, if you are psychologically or emotionally bound by something or someone, then feeling trapped is a 24 hour obsession which can terrify and immobilize you 24-7. You cannot sleep, you cannot dream, you cannot escape the fears which have overcome your mind and body and you feel too weak to do anything about it.
Relationships can make people feel trapped. Being in an unhealthy relationship can make you feel as though you are living in a locked box. I think when you lose your own identity in that relationship and become someone you do not want to be, then you have lost your strength to be yourself and you are no longer free. Take a look at the friends you still have and what you are doing -- are you happy with your life? If there is a lot of jealousy and possessiveness in the relationship, you will likely feel trapped. If you are unhappy with the person you are with, but, after being with him/her for so many years, you won't leave, then you may end up feeling trapped. If you are afraid that your partner will hurt you if you leave him/her, you will also feel trapped.
Many people feel trapped in their jobs. If there are no opportunities to grow (through learning), no inspiring leaders to lead, work which has no meaning to that person, lack of promotion and career development -- those are, in my opinion, some of the things which can make workers feel trapped in their jobs. The only thing that stops people from being happy and feeling trapped are excuses. You have the freedom to learn, to be inspired/inspire others, to find meaning in work in creative ways, to excel in the work that you do -- by choice. There is a time to stay put and a time to move on - that is your choice.
Being Canadian means different things to different people whether you are Canadian by choice or by birth. I have touched on one aspect, the strong and free. In this world, it's not easy to get anything for free -- especially freedom. I would also like to remind everyone to be thankful and to pray for the Canadian peace keepers and Canadian Armed Forces who represent Canada, serving at home and abroad. The price of freedom is paid with people's lives.
It is Canada's 145th birthday! Bonne Fête du Canada! Throughout the years, being strong and free has been a trademark of being Canadian. People around the world envy Canada. We can be proud of what Canadians have accomplished in changing the world. Strong and free -- it's what you and I can be and help others to be!
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1 Canadian National anthem, O Canada (lyrics and history) - www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/symbl/anthem-eng.cfm