Liberation – March 2016 Theme

soul matters for march: what does it mean to be a people of liberation?

“True wisdom comes in understanding that sometimes, you are both the prison and the key.”
― Johnathan Jena

Sometimes the key is right in our hand.

Thanks to Amanda Poppei for sharing this great image of liberation!:

Let’s be clear: Liberation is about struggling against “others.” There are forces, structures and people that put bars around us. Liberation is indeed about “opposing the powerful,” “dismantling systems,” and “fighting them for freedom.” But sometimes the bars are of our own making. Sometimes the limits and boxes are self-imposed. Sometimes, we are indeed both the prison and the key.

So this month, let’s make sure to look in all directions. Let’s look honestly and hopefully at the many ways that liberation requires a clear-eyed re-assessment of our choices, not just a battle against those bad guys. All of the great religions agree: We are more powerful than we realize, or want to admit. We can forgive and free ourselves from the cage of resentment. We can let go of jealousy. We can stop playing the self-defeating games of status, money and beauty. We don’t have to keep telling ourselves that life is unfair and we’ve been cheated. We can let that chip fall from our shoulder and freely move on. 


Christian author, Israelmore Ayivor, writes, “You have the right to suppress yourself, oppress yourself and depress yourself. You also have the right to impress yourself. And let yourself feel happy too!” There is something perfectly balanced about that quote. It’s both critical and kind. Confrontational and inspirational. It honors the fact that there are bars that hem us in, but it also invites us to notice when the key is setting right there in the lock.

May this be the month when we notice and turn that key.

our spiritual exercises

Thanks to Ben Barker for adding this quote.:

1. Let Your Precious Go. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic, The Lord of the Rings, we watch a creature named Gollum give his life and soul over to his “precious.” That which empowered him, ended up destroying him. That which was meant to fee and protect him, depleted and betrayed him. It’s meant to symbolize the destructive lure of addiction and power. It’s an extreme example. But this trap is also commonplace. All of us do things that we think will make us feel better but end up making us feel worse. We all have our “precious” that ends up betraying us. 

This exercise simply asks you to use this month to work on facing your “precious” and make some small step in letting it go. There are no complicated instructions than this: Liberate yourself from your “precious.” 

Click here for some inspiration and guidance.

2. DANCEBREAK! Oh yeah! You know you need this one. If music and dance have saved you before, they can save and free you again. This exercise asks you to let music and/or dance interrupt your weekly routine. The instructions are easy: Sign up for DANCEBREAK! here.

DANCEBREAK was created by Rev. Scott Rudolph, a Unitarian Universalist minister in Pittsburgh. The vision is explained here: Rumors have it that the real origin was to help ministers escape the pressure and fear of sermon writing right when they need it most. But don’t we all need a bit of music and dance to help us step back from the stress? Don’t we all need a bit of rhythm and joy to free us from our worries? Who of us doesn’t need a mid-week dancebreak?!

By signing up, you will receive a weekly email that has a song/video to dance along with. If you want a dancebreak more than once-a-week, then set an alarm on your calendar and visit the DANCEBREAK archives:


And if you’re up to it, help liberate other Soul Matters members by posting DANCEBREAK worthy songs on the Soul Matters Facebook page throughout the month of March. When you post it, tell your Soul Matters family why you picked the song and what it liberated you from.

questions to ask yourself

Your voice is your liberation. Subscribe: #Truthbomb #Words #Quotes: As always, don’t treat these questions like “homework” or a list that needs to be covered in its entirety. Instead, simply pick the one question that “hooks” you most and let it lead you where you need to go. The goal of these questions is not to help you analyze what liberation means, but to figure out what being a person of liberation means for you today. So, which question is calling to you?

  1. The sculptor Michelangelo was once asked how it was that he could create such beautiful works. “It's very simple,” he answered. “When I look at a block of marble, I see the sculpture inside it. All I have to do is remove what doesn't belong.” What can you remove that doesn’t belong in yourself? What might be liberated by removing what doesn’t belong? What beauty is waiting for you to give it a bit more room?
  2. Have you let yourself become imprisoned by the fear of missing out? By the imaginings of what might have been or what others have?
  3. Do you need to liberate yourself from the ordinary? (“When things are taking their ordinary course, it is hard to remember what matters.” -Marilynne Robinson)
  4. Have you been helping people but ignoring the call for liberation? (“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” - Lila Watson)
  5. How is your balance between spiritual/personal liberation and social/political liberation? Are they feeding each other or fighting? Or just not talking?
  6. Is the thing you do to feel better actually making you feel worse? Has what you turn to for liberation become a bit of a trap?
  7. Is it time to forgive (and free) yourself?
  8. Are you ready to take off the mask? Do you even notice that it is on?
  9. Are you looking for liberation and freedom in far away places and possibly not noticing it is waiting for you right back at home? Or right there where you are standing now?
  10. Is kindness waiting for you to pick it up and liberate someone? Maybe even yourself?
  11. What’s your question? Your question may not be listed above. As always, if the above questions don't include what the theme is asking from you, spend the month listening to your days to hear it.

Click here for more quotes related to the theme of "liberation," selected by church members from church library resources.

Check UUCW's Facebook page for further articles, videos, music, poetry, and more, related to February's theme of "Desire."


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