Independence, Interdependence

As the 4th of July approaches, I’ve been struggling. It is hard to watch our nation pursue profit, growth, and progress without regard to current and future life. It is devastating to see policies and practices that prioritize nations and corporations over individual lives. Independence for some at the expense of others is not ok. It wasn’t ok when our country was founded and it isn’t ok now. We have to do better. We can do better.

Recognizing that we are interdependent is a start. We have always been interdependent and we always will be. It is long past time to pledge our allegiance to the web of life. We can start with the David Suzuki Foundation’s Declaration of Interdependence.

There are benefits to independence. Trust me, I know. I live with teenagers. Life in my household is all about finding balance between being independent and being in relationship. Independence is how we find out what motivates us, how we are meant to participate and give ourselves to this life. Relationships help us find boundaries and give meaning to our thoughts and actions. There are benefits to interdependence. 

I am still not sure how to reconcile all of the feelings that have been evoked but I have been helped by a word pattern that my boys learned when they were in second or third grade.

Independence

Separation, Autonomy, 

Rights, Responsibility, Integrity

Cooperation, Participation, Collaboration

Connection, Cohesion

Interdependence

Naming the connection points between independence and interdependence turned the words into points along a continuum rather than punctuation at an end. As I played with the words and their associations over a few hours, my mind wandered and opened. The knot in my chest loosened as I released either/or and embraced both/and. I am so grateful to be reminded of this word play that is really an exercise in building bridges.

Try it for yourself. Where could you build a bridge between ideas or emotions?

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  • I am preparing to interact with people who I am aware have opinions which are in stark contrast to my own but who are also people I have known and cared about since childhood. I am trying to figure out how do I build bridges and respect old friendships while at the same time staying true to what I know to be right. I think kindness and a willingness to work at it might be a key.

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