Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to take my twin teenagers to the Big Apple. I’ve traveled to New York City several times for business, but have never had the opportunity to travel there for pleasure. Luckily, I’ve been to the city several times and had a lay of the land, so I was proud of myself for successfully navigating these two young adults through the chaos of Times Square, the cab ride to and from the Financial District and a walk through Bryant Park. For many, New York is a place of BUSY-ness. For me, it’s a very peaceful place, a place full of wonder and beauty.
I was nearly brought to tears when I witnessed the wonder in my kids’ eyes upon seeing city for the first time from New Jersey. The same feeling returned as they saw Freedom Tower, the Empire State Building, Times Square, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and best of all, the excitement they had when learned they were going to skate at The Rink in Rockefeller Plaza. These places were very familiar to me, but had never been witnessed by my children. There is nothing better than experiencing the thrill of new adventures through the eyes of our children.
A first for all of us was our visit to the Statue of Liberty. I had seen her from the air many times, but had never taken the ferry to see her up close and personal. As our boat approached Liberty Island, I saw her and was quite surprised at how BIG she was. As we got off the boat and began to walk toward her, I realized how many people were on the island for this tour. There were hundreds and hundreds of people there; probably one shift of several that day. We continued to walk around to the front of the statue and I stopped.
I looked up at her in all her glory and just stood there, mouth hanging open at every intricate detail of her gown, her book which had “July 4, 1776” inscribed on it, her torch and finally, her crown. In an instant, I got teary-eyed as I imagined what it must have been like for the 12 million or so immigrants who passed by her over the years.
Each one of these individuals hoped for a new life in this land full of opportunity. These individuals must have been excited, but very afraid. Certainly, this would be a better life, but a life of unknowns. These people had to know how difficult building a new life would be and how hard it would be to leave their former lives behind. However, once they reached Lady Liberty, they were ready to appreciate the past, live in the present and embrace the future. She represented everything these immigrants dreamed of: Freedom, Truth, the ability to be “you” without fear of oppression, success, bliss, new beginnings.
As I stood there with all these thoughts circling in my head, it occurred to me that my OWN journey shared many of the same characteristics. I once was in a place where I felt I was unable to be the authentic “me”. I knew there was a better way to live than to chase the expectations of others, but there were so many unknowns – What if I didn’t say “yes”?, What if I didn’t perform well enough? What if I wasn’t good enough? I knew changing the way I thought about things would be hard. I knew there would be rough seas along the way and perhaps even some darkness.
Though my Lady Liberty was my own heart, I knew the only way to a new life was to listen to her. I knew I had to trust her. I knew there would be many unknowns, but also knew that if I forged ahead, I too would be free. I could live in my own truth. I could enjoy success by my own definition. I could be ME.
This beautiful day, I remembered the history behind this incredible monument and appreciated the many stories of those who clung to her promise. This beautiful day, I also remembered my own journey, thankful for the ability to live in my own truth and to experience freedom.
Do you desire freedom in your own life? Are you ready to live in your truth? I am ready to listen and help you take the next steps. Schedule your free 60 minute Be Heard and Understood Session with me.