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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Archive for the ‘Mind and Spirit’ Category

Claire Wolfe

The fall of the wall

Friday, November 7th, 2014

How one man’s decision and the right moment brought down the Berlin Wall.

Something to think about next time things look hopeless.

Claire Wolfe

A hermit peeks at the nooz

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Old habits die hard. Despite hermitting, I feel it is my bounden duty to say something witty, insightful, and deeply profound this morning about the election results. So here goes:


« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

“The veil between the worlds is thin tonight.”

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014


“The veil between the worlds is thin tonight.”

Or actually last Friday night. So they say. Of course, in all kinds of traditions including nominally Christian ones, the veil between worlds is reputed to be thin from All Hallows Eve to All Souls Day.

You couldn’t prove it by me. The veil (if any) between worlds (if any) remained its usual cement-thick self.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Self-care for activists

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Just in time, Elizabeth Tate of Students for Liberty offers self-care tips for activists.

I especially applaud, appreciate, and understand that last one: Make Something Tangible.

In my experience it always helps if the materials used in the tangible “something” are earthy and natural: rock, brick, dirt, cotton, wool, wood, etc.

Today I sort wool and locate matching wooden needles. Tomorrow … I knit. We’ll see about the day after.


Via Rational Review News.

Claire Wolfe

Omphaloskepsis??? Omphaloskepsis!

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Yep, omphaloskepsis. That’s a new word I got from jed. High-falutin’ way of saying “navel gazing.”

That’s what I’m supposed to be doing, starting Saturday and going through the end of the year. I’ve gotten several nice messages wishing me “Happy Hermitting.” I’ll be here for you if you need me. I’ll be thinking of you. I hope you find what you’re looking for. Many of the messages are tinged with envy — busy parents and full-time workers and people with a thousand other commitments wishing they, too, could have a retreat.

I agree it’s a privilege. Absolutely.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

On anger, dogs, and shoes

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

I have no idea what, if anything, these three topics have to do with each other. But they’re what’s on my mind, so here goes.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Gratitude and solitude (and also construction)

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

I am so grateful today.

I’m grateful to have a solid roof over my head (and Ava, Robbie, and Kitsu the cat would say the same if they could speak) as the rain pours down all week and the season’s first high-wind warnings go up.

This sense of security I owe to you.


I owe C-B, S.H., M.K., L.P., and especially Anonymous and the Mysterious Rockefeller for the latest round of help, which repaired the section of roof that collapsed while the rest of the roof was being refurbished. I also owe many of you, especially Paul Bonneau, for construction advice.

In case you’re wondering, I ended up not having the “Full Joe” repair.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Well, what are friends for?

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Today I told my local friend L. that I was going to take “hermit time” from November 1 through the end of the year and that for those two months I was making no commitments of any sort except those required to earn a living. That includes not making commitments for holiday plans with friends, though I might be up for something spontaneous.

“You’re being so selfish!” she said. “Your friends love you and want to be with you.”

“You’re punishing me!” she said.

Considering that I was, at that moment, taking six hours of my day to drive her to a doctor appointment, I thought the bit about being selfish was a particularly low blow. But I was perhaps more shocked that she took my retreat to be all about her.

I’d just been telling her what a stressful year it’s been, how the JPFO debacle had taken the spirit out of me, and how desperately I need mental and spiritual renewal.

She’d just been telling me how proud she was of having said no to a long-term volunteer commitment even after being told how much she was needed.

But me saying no to holiday plans (that we hadn’t even discussed in detail) is punishing her.


Because she’s not normally a narcissistic person I’m going to assume it was pain or pain meds talking. (She recently had surgery and is ingesting a daily pharmacopeia.)

Or perhaps something about hermitting during the holidays is so heretical that she literally does perceive it as an attack on friends and friendship. “Have you told [furrydoc] yet?” she asked in a tone that implied I was about to lose all my friends if I did this horrible thing.

(Dear furrydoc blessedly won’t give a damn. Hi, furrydoc.)


L’s angry words stung. But they also helped cement my resolve.

If spiritual retreat is selfishness, then it’s time to be selfish. If friendship is nothing but fulfilling obligations and observing conventions, then it’s not time for friendship.

Funny, L’s words — though shocking from L. — were familiar. That’s similar to the way my Protestant mother and sister used to talk about Catholic nuns, especially of the cloistered variety. Just a bunch of selfish women “doing nothing” when they could be out getting married, raising families, and actually helping people.

Many people in many places have said the same of spiritual pilgrims of all kinds: Why don’t they just be normal like everybody else? Why don’t they do something useful?

Well, I’m no nun and have so far made a pretty lousy spiritual pilgrim. But all my life I’ve understood, even if only from afar, the value of lives devoted to “divine nothingness.”

My only regret is that I haven’t been more of that kind of “selfish.”

Claire Wolfe

Woman locks cop in basement; wins lawsuit against city

Monday, October 13th, 2014

From MJR comes today’s biggest grin:

An elderly woman got the last word after locking a police officer in her basement, and later suing the police.

Venus Green, who was 87 when she was handcuffed, roughed up and injured by police, will receive $95,000 as part of a settlement with Baltimore City. The city chose to settle the case instead of taking a chance in front of a jury.

“We thought we would have a difficult time in front of a city jury, or any jury,” Baltimore City solicitor George Nilson said.

Green was so put out by what police officers did, the city said she locked one of them in her basement.

Read more at the link. It just gets better. Yes, cops treated Venus Green like cr*p. But she never bent an inch, and clearly she won this case because city officials were not about to go to court and say their armed agents brutalized an 87-year-old retired schoolteacher because they “felt threatened” by her. Even though she is obviously one tough — and well-informed — lady.

Somebody should send this lady one of those “Come Back with a Warrant” doormats.

I’ve always said that being an old lady is one of the best disguises an Outlaw can “wear.”

Claire Wolfe

At The Zelman Partisans: The duty to protect guests

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Vladka Peltel’s latest post, “Sukkot, Ushpizin, and the duty to protect,” has already raised a small controversy over at The Zelman Partisans.

Oh, and to my Jewish friends now celebrating Sukkot: Chag Sameach!

Judiasm seems to have some awfully grim holidays, but Sukkot seems like one of the fun ones.

Claire Wolfe

Steps on the road to advanced hermitting

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Or is it hermitude? I don’t know. But in any case, I haven’t forgotten my intention to commence a period of deeper hermitness.

The world has been too much with me, late and soon. That whole JPFO business was hard and bitter. The aftermath’s been no picnic, either. Even though you and some renewed work for the Backwoods Home print ‘zine have risen to help me through the money part of that, the emotional part is just … whammo.

But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to forge a plan. You can probably help. You always do.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

An underground life

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Going underground and keeping silent for 43 years after committing an illegal act of principle.

This is a story of the “left.” But also the story of a bold & fascinating person and a creative life.



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