July message of the Month – Independence and Freedom

by Shiela Reed

Independence and Freedom

I woke the morning of July 5th 2018 to thoughts of independence and freedom and what that means. It seems like it should be a simple concept, one that you would think we would all have a similar definition for.  But just as most things do, there are often multiple layers.

I was thinking about the different feelings that came up with these words and I became aware that while there is an individual component, there must also include some form of a connection to the collective and others.
I couldn’t help but think about what this looks like for different people as well as different groups of people. Even in how we believe individually that we are or are not connected to others.

This seems to be what happens every day in our lives. The ebb and flow of personal interaction with self and others. All based on our current views. But what does independence for me or you look like? What does freedom look like? How does that shape our environment and the world we live in? Is there a difference in how we define independence and freedom vs how others do? What would it look like in our world if we were always looking for what we are not getting or how we are always wronged by others? Or if we looked at what we already have and appreciated it and how people are doing their best and not out to hurt us?

This really makes me think about what I contribute to my day based on how I’m defining terms that seem like we would all agree on, but I realize we don’t. Then what?
Does one person’s idea/desire/definition of independence and freedom restrict another? Does it have to? How do we know?
I find that I struggle with this just like many people I’m sure. I bring it up as something to ponder, not as if I have an answer. It’s actually pretty heavy to think about, which may be why some just stay within their own views and do not consider that their definition may be in direct opposition to someone else’s definition.

I then ended up thinking about how individually – beyond this life time – we end up having “independence and freedom” from this world/body/the physical – yet we are currently a part of a whole and collective and there is likely a more “universal” definition which maybe we do not or cannot fully see.   After all, as we live among others, there is an underlying natural need to be connected and supported. However if we end up choosing to break that down into smaller and smaller “groups”, we risk missing a level of deeper connection and purpose… that which reaches the depths of our true soul/self and divine creation.

Maybe this is another piece of what we will “know” on the other side… in the meantime I am reminded that we are all just trying to make it and doing the best we can, so if we add a little compassion for others, we are bound to feel it in return.  And in the end we hopefully remember that what we focus on grows and realize it’s important to make note of what feels right in our heart and when something doesn’t, we can acknowledge it and lovingly release it – letting it go past us without holding it.
For me this is where independence lives and true freedom begins.

Peace and Blessings

Shiela

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