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Updated: Oct 22, 2022

By Robert Mertens, transcribed by Alicia Lerrigo


Freedom is the foundation of the American Spirit. The freedom to be creative is embodied in this spirit. For me, this means I can be creative in the path I need to travel. Art is my primary means of sharing what is within me.

It is the freedom to live life openly and vibrantly in creative expression.

Here is a picture that visually shows the feelings that I speak of above. Please enjoy it.

“The Gift, Inner Freedom”

I feel happy when I look at this picture. It is a picture of energy. It is flowing, full of energy. It expresses energy in symbols. The symbols exist in an ethereal space.

This is a picture of inner freedom, the freedom to be. The individual elements in the picture are representative of the things that we see in our outer lives. The butterflies, the hummingbird, the flowers, and all the other elements are symbols.

I loved reading J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. In reading about Tolkien's life, I came to know his understanding of what symbols are. He loved symbols and he spoke about the difference between a symbol and an allegory. In the Lord of the Rings, some people take the “Ring of Power” to be a symbol for the atomic bomb. At this point Tolkien points out the difference between a symbol and an allegory.

If the ring of power relates directly to the atom bomb, it is an allegory. An allegory is a one to one correspondence between the “thing” (the Ring of Power in this case), and the thing that it refers to, the atom bomb.

Tolkien said that it was not his intention that the ring of power be an allegory. He said it was a symbol. A symbol, for him, was something that can awaken many feelings and associations in the person that relates to the symbol. It's intimate.

For me, Robert, a symbol is like a jewel with many facets rotating in a beam of white light. As the jewel rotates, it catches the white light and throws it off in many colors. “The Gift, Inner Freedom” has many symbols in it for you to enjoy.


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