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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

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.

Claire Wolfe

Saturday links

Saturday, October 4th, 2014
Claire Wolfe

Friday freedom question: to live deliberately

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Thoreau famously went to Walden Pond to “live deliberately.” We know what that meant to him.

What would living deliberately mean to you?

Claire Wolfe

Tuesday links

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
Claire Wolfe

“Little Jackie” and thoughts about the role of elders in a world that has no use for them

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

I woke at 4:00 the last two mornings with the words “Meglin Kiddies, Meglin Kiddies, Meglin Kiddies” repeating in my sleepy brain.

The thought is urgent enough to end my night, feeling there’s something I must do or some revelation I’m about to have. But nothing ever forms beyond those words. What’s so urgent, I don’t get to find out.

The Meglin Kiddies, as almost nobody knows, were a singing, dancing, acting Hollywood troupe from whence sprung the likes of Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney, and Judy Garland.

I’d have never heard of them except that when I was a very young woman I knew a much older man who claimed to have been one of them.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Thursday links

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Ya know, takes a lot longer to come up with a links dump of good, useful stuff than collect a bunch of interesting nooz. But we try, we try.

Finally some thanks are in order. I didn’t mean to bleg when I wrote about the latest roof troubles. Yeah, that was a shock and a blow (and not only to the structure). But it’s also … well, life in old houses. After what you guys already did, I’m not asking a thing.

But yesterday, in came two $50 donations. So big thanks, MK and SH, for lifting my mood — and helping lift that wacky roof.

Claire Wolfe

Pack vs herd vs lone individuals

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Yesterday Mike Vanderboegh re-printed a classic that I’d missed first time around even though it riffs on a classic of my own — asking that ever-pertinent question, “When is it time?”

Mike uses the sorry example of the Weimar German Reichsbanner to show how even the prepared can tragically fail to act when the day comes. The Reichsbanner were a military group sworn to protect the Weimar Republic against an anticipated Nazi coup. But when Hitler rose to power they did … nothing.

They were waiting for a signal from a leader. And for various reasons, they waited. And waited.


This got me thinking about the differences in packs vs herds vs lone individuals.

« Read the rest of this entry »



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