The noble one inside us all

Before we light up that barbecue and have a “Happy Memorial Day,” let us stop and remember why the day exists.

As a Veteran, I wish to honor and pay my deepest respects to all of my Brothers and Sisters in arms who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Dying for freedom is perhaps one of the noblest causes one could give their life for, as freedom is the essence of life and who we really are.

Freedom is at the heart of every individual’s right to be and choose the kind of life one wishes to live. God/Life grants everyone freedom, yet to this very day not everyone is free. Fortunately, there are those among us willing to stand for, serve and answer freedom’s call.

Historically, the love of power has led individuals, groups, companies, and countries alike to attempt to control human beings, as there are always those who seemed determined to undermine freedom for personal or financial gain. Oppression is alive and well everywhere in our world today, but have faith, tyranny is always met by a few courageous souls willing to sacrifice it all for the good of the many. They are everywhere, including inside of you.

Though Memorial Day is traditionally set aside to honor those who served and sacrificed in the United States Armed Forces, I also wish to remember and honor all the many spiritual warriors who have paid and continue to pay the ultimate price for freedom as well. There are those courage few who stand for peace, freedom, individual rights and civil liberties, who are willing to give it all so that others may simply live free. They are heroes, one and all.

Freedom cannot exist without personal responsibility. Freedom and personal responsibility must go hand in hand, for the truly free are responsive to other’s needs and desires, not just their own. It is only when the illusion of need turns toward manipulation, coercion and force that peace and freedom become in jeopardy.

Freedom does not trample on another’s rights in order to have its own way; that is the absence of freedom. Being free is a balance between an individual’s rights while still being responsive to other’s rights and desires as well. This is where personal responsibility plays its greatest role.

I honor all who have the courage to stand for their beliefs without the need to force them upon others. They represent themselves, their path and freedom well. These are some of the greatest challenges faced by humanity today. We all have the ability to meet the challenge of integrating the above ideas into our lives, and as we do so, it will change everything for humanity.

Personal freedom and responsibility are an essential part of the “Conversations with God” messages. One of CwG’s core messages is: “Ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way,” and it is offered to humanity as a new possibility for living free and in peace.

Peace becomes immediately possible with respect and tolerance. My Father use to say, “Respect and tolerance would heal the world today!” and he was right. It is not necessary for us to agree about anything, since we always have the ability to extend respect to one another. We can agree to disagree and we can do so respectfully. This takes great courage and insight, knowing that my path may not be your path, nor does it need to be.

When critical mass is reached on any subject, change happens. Our world is waiting, not just for the few, but for the many to stand and be counted. What do you take a stand for? Who do you choose to be in relationship to the events and circumstances going on around you? These are powerful and important questions that life presents you. What you decide about yourself in relationship to these events will determine your experience of them. Who you choose to be is creative.

My favorite question within the Conversations with God books is, “What is your next grandest version of the greatest vision ever you held about who you are?” It takes on a whole new meaning and importance when looked at through the events happening your life.

“Who am I?” or perhaps more importantly, “Who do I now choose to be in relationship to the events in your life?” becomes a powerful creative question with consequences. Choose wisely, as your answer will be creating your experience and reality.

Always remember you are free to choose, no matter what the circumstances or consequences. Your choices represent who you are and now wish to be, and those choices will be creating your real life experiences. Check in to see if  your choices are in alignment with who you really are. You will know they are if they set you free.

Many that have come before us have offered grand possibilities through the choices they demonstrated. Many have given it all to be who they really are. It is why we remember their names. They have inspired us, changed us, and forever created possibilities for us that we might never have known if it were not for their courage and willingness to be who they were and act the way they did.

I think of the choice Christ made. I think of the choice Mother Teresa made. I think of the choice Martin Luther King made. I think of the choice Gandhi made. I think of the choice Rosa Parks made. I think of the choice Nelson Mandela made. And so on.

I now think of the choices I can make… and I hope you are, too. Think of those who inspire you to be a grander version of yourself and then BE it. Your demonstration may very well inspire another to become their grander self. Before you know it, we change the world.

It is the courageous few who answer freedom’s call, yet it is possible for the whole of us to do so. It is in memory of all who have given the greatest sacrifice to serve humankind who have my deepest respect and gratitude this day. I will remember you today as I celebrate my freedom and I thank you for the inspiration to be a grander version of me.

May we all be touched, moved and inspired to be grander versions of ourselves this day. I can think of no greater way to honor those who have given it all so that we could simply be.

J.R. Westen, D.D., C.A.d.

(J.R. is a Holistic Health & Spiritual Counselor who has worked and presented side-by-side with Neale Donald Walsch for over a decade. He is passionate about helping individuals move beyond their emotional and spiritual challenges, transforming breakdowns into breakthroughs. His counseling and coaching provides practical wisdom and guidance that can be immediately incorporated to shift one’s experience of life.  As is true for most impactful teachers, J.R.’s own struggles and triumphs inspired him to find powerful ways of helping others. Sober since June 1, 1986, J.R.’s passion for helping individuals move through intense life challenges drove him to also specialize in Addiction and Grief Recovery. J.R. currently shares his gift of counseling & coaching with individuals from around the world through the Wellness Center, Simply Vibrant, located on Long Island N.Y. In addition, he operates “Change House” a place where people come to transform. He also works with Escondido Sobering Services and now serves as the Executive Director of the Conversations with God Foundation.)


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