AND Choose Freedom Consciously

July 2nd, 2017

With the celebration of United States independence coming up this week, I have been reflecting on the themes of independence and freedom on both a collective and personal level.

Freedom or independence from tyrannical thoughts, repressive behaviors and the like is as important these days on a personal level as on a collective or geopolitical level. The willingness to seek freedom, to look inward courageously at ways we hold ourselves hostage to others’ approvals and judgments, shrinking the brilliance and light we are here to bring is as critical as it has ever been.

Hundreds of years ago the immigrants in this country sought to separate themselves from a regime in England they found imposing. They banded together to create a set of principles and laws for how they would treat each other in this new land, in effect specifying the ethics by which they would live together.

As we live in these times, our collective choices to treat each other well, to support the light and brilliance in each other, and to support the “inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” requires that we become conscious of our individual choices. Where do we need to free ourselves of outmoded beliefs that no longer serve our individual and collective freedom?

Are we living the ethics of our own Constitution in terms of creating the possibility of personal and collective freedom, while recognizing we are never truly independent of one another, when we live together in community? The dialogue about how to live into our potential, while supporting that same opportunity for others, creates the need to be both clear about our own values and dreams, and equally willing to listen to and hear the views of others who think differently. Our collective freedom depends on it.

In the pursuit of freedom, our clarity about what we need to stand for matters. The magic of community and others is that they become mirrors of how we actually behave rather than what we would like to think, or otherwise tell ourselves, about how we behave. Freedom and independence require ongoing choices and ongoing tinkering about what works personally, and what works in our society today for how we choose to treat each other and community.

A little more kindness, a little more light, a little less judgment, and a passionate commitment to “liberty and justice for all” just might be the lessons we need to remember on this Independence Day.

Happy Fourth of July

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