I think we all search for the right things in our lives, strive to be the best person possible, and to be responsible for ourselves.  Sometimes though, we get lost in all the modern-day noise and distractions.  We wake up one morning, and wonder how we got to our current destination.  What happened?  Maybe, we find that we feel different about our partner in life, or wish we had a partner.  Our children have grown up, and we wonder where all the years have gone.  What are we going to do now?  Our job no longer interests us, but the paycheck pays for all our lifestyle.  What happens if we were to leave and find happiness?
     We look at society, and there are so many issues it is overwhelming.  Currently, we have an environmental crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, an economic crisis in our country which encompasses the world, a dependence on foreign oil, homeless people, starvation in third world countries, major earthquake damage in Haiti and Chili, and so much more.  Each of us has our own list of issues, both personal, national and/or global.  How do we make sense of this, and keep our sense of self in tact?  What do we have control over?  What are we responsible for?  How do we find time to stop, and unwind?
     For me, it becomes a question of when do I want to take the time away from my business ventures.  Being self-employed allows me to decide when and where to take breaks to rejuvenate myself, or spend time with my family.  My schedule is flexible.  All the trips we take are tax deductible, because I can take my business with me.  I create more photographs to use, make more contacts to sell my work, and research a new venue or two.
     I do remember working in the corporate world.  I didn’t own my own time.  The financial freedom it offered me was an illusion of freedom.  I still needed to be at someone elses office for a specific amount of time for them to give me a paycheck.  It lasted until one morning as I was leaving for work, and my 5-year-old son started crying.  He didn’t want his mommy to go away again.  My job was hurting his health and well-being.  I should also include that he had been crying every morning for a month or two, before I left my job.
     Now five years later, my little boy isn’t so little any more.  He’s 10 years old, home schooled, and developing into a healthy person.  By my actions, I have shown him that he does have choices in the world, and that money isn’t the sole indicator of wealth and happiness.  He has adapted to me being gone a few hours here and there to teach a workshop, or complete a photo shoot.
     What we do now as adults and parents teaches our children what they are supposed to do.  They will follow the example they are shown.  We need to teach our children that knowing themselves is an important value.  When we know ourselves, we have our personal freedom.  We are able to focus on our lives (and immediate family), and move ourselves to a happier existence.  If we know happiness, our children will learn how to be happy.  If we show respect for ourselves and others, our children will show respect.  If we take time to show compassion, tolerance and unconditional love, our children will grow stronger, and know how to share this with other people in the world.
     To find our own self requires having our own identity.  We carry many roles in life, such as mother, father, daughter, son, etc.  Many times we form partnerships with other people, and start identifying ourselves through them.  Having our own identity does not mean being a rock unto oneself.  It means being able to bring more to a relationship/partnership and the world.  Your thoughts and ideas are valuable to making the world a better place for yourself and others.  People flourish in an environment that is non-judgemental and accepting.  When other’s thoughts are different from yours, it should be a time for celebration.  Both parties have the opportunity to expand their own thoughts, perceptions and self.
     Our world is filled with many opportunities to find one’s self.  For me, it’s a walk on the beach or a trip to Yellowstone.  For my partner, it’s through yoga or meditation.  For my son, it’s through play and art.  Each of us has something that we enjoy doing, and by doing we become ourselves.  We become more whole, and able to navigate through the busy and chaotic modern world we live in.  Our perceptions change, and we learn to trust instead of fear.  Life becomes happier. . .

That’s all for now. . .more later. . .