What Independence Requires

People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take. – Emma Goldman

As we pause in the United States to have cook-outs and watch fireworks, let’s take a moment to reflect on what our Independence Day is all about.

Back in 1776 Thomas Jefferson gave us words that birthed a nation. It’s been quite a ride since then and I would say we’ve done pretty well.

Do we have (much) further to go?

Absolutely.

*  *  *

I ask us to pause, not just for the burgers, dogs, potato salad and beautiful, bright bangy things, but also to reflect on what it means to be “independent.”

It doesn’t mean to alone, or selfish, or isolated.

It means that we take responsibility for what we want, and who we want to be.

Just as our nation cleaved itself from England in order to be more free, we would do well to ask ourselves what shackles we carry around in our own lives.

And then to declare our independence from that which does not serve us.

That takes careful and expansive thinking and the hard work of being responsible for what our dreams require.

It’s how we become free.

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