Independence Day

Independence Day- it is usually a joyous day. People go picnicking, hiking, have back yard barbeques, watching loud fireworks light up the sky. But this year it’s going to be different. And that makes me think about other aspects of independence. In particular being independent. One would think it is a right to be able to do things when we want to. Right? Alas, not this year. My family and I are still very conscientious about abiding social distancing, putting our masks on everywhere we go (except walking by ourselves with our dog in the neighborhood), not traveling by plane or mingling with a lot of people around. Being independent means that we, each and every one of us gets to make up our own mind, our own choice. I find it revealing that the words choice, connectivity and sword in Hebrew share the same common root letters, bet, kaf, reish. I have shared in the past that when Hebrew words share the same three consonants, there is a hidden meaning beneath the surface. And in this case—when we make our choices, we ultimately bring on connectivity (within ourselves or with others), or we cause strife (we are taken farther from connecting to our center and to others)

How do we arrive to a decision that propel us to move in one direction versus another? To make this particular choice and not another? By listening to others, learning the issue, and making an informed decision leaning on our innate wisdom.

In Hebrew, the word independent is Atzma-oot, shares the same Hebrew root with the word self in Hebrew, atzmee.  It makes me ponder, what is the connection between the concepts of self and independence.  Our truest version of ourselves manifest outwardly when we are free, when we own who we are and strive to achieve and accomplish what we want in our lives. America’s independence emerged from a need to be free from Britain. Being free is yet another Hebrew word with deep hidden meaning. Freedom in Hebrew is Chofesh, sharing the same Hebrew root with the verb to search, l’chapes. We search for freedom. To truly have a sense of freedom, we have to create a reality where we are free. And that requires searching for it. Freedom doesn’t “just happen” to everyone everywhere. It is not necessarily our collective reality.

Freedom is not a scenario given to us on a silver platter. We are driven by our yearning for freedom. However, one has to work for it. Think back when you were a child. Becoming independent implies maturity. The idea of independence requires responsibilities not only toward ourselves but also toward other people.

Are we responsible to other people? Do we take care of the poor, the underprivileged, the stranger… the other?

In every situation there is a learning to be done. Shirzad Chamine in his book Positive Intelligence calls it gifts.  We receive gifts even when bad things happen to us. It is a hard concept to accept and internalize the first time one hears it. But search deeper. What are your gifts today? What are your gifts at this junction? How are you celebrating your independence? Do you believe that your independence comes with responsibilities? What are they?

To make a new reality, sometimes we have to create it. Let’s do