Sense of Freedom

Moving 13 miles down the road - what does that have to do with a “sense of freedom” and its relation to happiness? My cats, Serendipity and Serenity, could answer that for you. You see, a couple of weeks ago on the morning of our move, their sense of freedom was rudely and abruptly taken from them as they were placed in their cat carriers for several hours during the moving process.

Upon seeing the carriers, each (in her own way) did all she could to prevent entering the inevitable trap that each one had experienced before. Serendipity, my 7 pound (petite and agile) Texas feral cat became a whirling dervish of motion. If she moved in circles fast enough, she could keep from being forced into the door. (Dervish literally means doorway.) Serenity, my 23-pound Denver Dumb Friend’s League adoptee, had the same end goal in mind when she bloated her already over-plumb belly (no, she is not pregnant) out to maximum dimensions so she would not fit through the door. I finally had to take the top off the carrier and put her in that way. They both used their best talents to keep their freedom intact as long as they could.

Then came the pitiful meows from the back seat as we headed up to road from Boulder to Lyons, CO. It was obvious - they were NOT happy. They had lost their sense of freedom - they had no choice in the matter at all! According to psychologist Jim Baker's book “What Happy People Know,” choice is freedom. It is through choice that we define ourselves. Whether we recognize it or not, we all have the opportunity to make choices about our lives every day. Take away the ability to choose (or choose to perceive that you have no choice) and you become like my wailing kitties did for a few hours on moving day. You would probably feel trapped and helpless - and more than likely you would, in time, become depressed.

- Cathy Hartt in Empower Women As Leaders newsletter

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"There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall."
- Colette

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