Tag Archives: Independence Day

Nothing But Love

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Feeling grateful for
the men and women
who went before me
and paved the way
so that I could celebrate
my femininity,
my creativity,
my divinity,
my liberty,
and really know
the pleasure of my freedom.
I owe it to my ancestors
to become the best ME possible.
After their struggle,
after all they went through,
isn’t it wonderful to find myself here,
a roof over my head,
clothes on my body,
well fed,
able to attend a party?
How fortunate am I
to have mentors, teachers,
elders, wise ones,
and our beautiful Mother
who has given us all life,
guiding me every day
to live into my destiny?
How fortunate just to be here
able to breathe.
Gratitude now.
There is nothing else but LOVE.

Tasty Independence Day

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Home made basil ice cream
and freshly baked Swiss roll with lemon curd
A tasty way to celebrate my freedom
with friends and family
on a rainy Independence Day.
Children hooping and hollering
looping around the house–
who needs fireworks?
There is plenty of noise here.
At the end of the day
comfortable in my bed
I’m grateful for the freedom to rest,
the gift of being safe in my home,
of having a home.
The gift of having choice
in the way I live my life,
of having a life.
Grateful to have the taste of happiness
resting sweetly on my lips,
seeing all of it
all of it
as a gift.

What is Independence Really?

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When I was a child, the Fourth of July wasn’t so much what was being celebrated as it was the way in which we celebrated the day.  Summer, family and friends coming to our house to be outside all day, swimming, playing badminton, harvesting wild raspberries from the forest, my dad playing his guitar under the tulip poplar in the front yard, hot dogs and hamburgers grilling, corn on the cob, potato salad, watermelon, sparklers when it got dark.

As an adult, the 4th of July continues to be a time to get together with family and friends; much smaller groups now, but the same sentiment of relaxing and enjoying the day together.  I can’t confess to ever having been very patriotic.  I’m afraid that I get quite caught up in thinking about how the first human inhabitants of this land were displaced by presumptuous foreign people who believed they somehow had more of a right to occupy the land than the natives did.  I think about how the foreigners’ greatest weapon was influenza and how so many people were killed so quickly, how the survivors were forced to move into less habitable places–the absolute indignity of this, the injustice. I often have the thought that it would’ve been better for the Earth if the Americas were never discovered, if the native people were allowed to continue their way of life for all of this time.  I also think about the myth of American independence; I found out today that the actual signing happened on July 2, and England didn’t even see the declaration until some time in August.  How about independence being applied only to the white male, how minorities, women–anybody who wasn’t a white male–didn’t obtain the right to vote until much later?

As I thought about all of these stories and how they don’t evoke a patriotic feeling that moves me to celebrate my “freedom,” I asked myself, “If this isn’t freedom, then what is?”  I remembered the yogic perspective, and it goes something like this:  All paths lead inwards.  Liberation happens when one is able to detach from the external world and realize the vastness of the innermost self.

Are you happy all of the time?  Peaceful?  Joyful?  Content?  Or do you become aware of the mind’s propensity for letting you know all of the reasons that you couldn’t possibly be happy in this moment, letting you know that you have X, Y, and Z to accomplish/experience/obtain before you could call what you’re feeling happiness?

Today I mused over the endless list of things I think I should have to be really happy, and I was struck with how impossible to obtain a lot of those prerequisites really were.  And then from somewhere there was a reminder to look within for the changeless self that permeates the world of change.

Freedom, to the yogi, is finding contentment with this moment.  It’s a willingness to let go of everything that is outside so that awareness is free to navigate inwards.  It’s being joyful and peaceful in a steady manner, regardless of the inevitable ups and downs of this life.

Independence is not looking to a particular person, or object, or experience to know that we are free.  Independence is the realization that true freedom happens on the deepest level, when we realize we are free to choose our thoughts and behaviors, we are free to breathe deeply, to allow life in.

Freedom like this cannot be given to us or taken from us, because it is who we are.  Maybe we will get to the point where we won’t wait for one day a year to consider our independence; we’ll remember it every day, and act from this wisdom.

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I am thankful for what I have,
but when I become afraid of losing it,
now I am imprisoned by fear.

I’m happy to be myself,
but when I resist the self expression of everyone around me
now I am a slave to my ideas.

In this moment, I know this is the only moment,
but when I project into the future, to plan, to anticipate
now have I robbed myself of the present moment.

Let me love what is.
Let me focus on what is here, now.
Let me feel grateful for the many blessings of this life.
Help me to let go of all of it when it is time.