July 4 is a day to celebrate roots and origins, to return to our core principles, and to align our practices with what we preach, in order to form in ourselves, and with each other, a more perfect union. The value of our words and the power of our declaration hinges on the degree to which we live out, with compassion and prudence, the spirit that guided our forefathers and that we wish to pass on to our descendants.
Today, we may sing our praises as the "land of the free and the home of the brave.” We may wave our flags and shoot off fireworks. But freedom is both a principle and a practice. It is a practice that starts in the heart and soul regardless of whatever freedoms we are granted from our community and our country. We may live in an imperfect world, and we may be victims of forces that dissemble massive disinformation and thwart our ability to exercise our freedom, but the freedom within us is ours to win or lose. Any freedom we are granted from without will be meaningless if we are not free within.
This letter to my future self was written on November 9, 2016, after the unbelievable and shocking election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, and scheduled to be read on July 4, 2017. For more in this series, click here or click the Letters to Future Self tag below.
On The Negative Side:
We must find the collective will to face the truth of what we do: that we will now leave a world worse off than we received it, that we are squandering the resources of the earth, at the expense of untold species. I am guilty as well. I live by taking advantage of what we produce. Now, polar caps melt, oceans rise, temperatures raise, weather patterns change, storms grow stronger and more frequent, as we tear down the forests, pollute air and water, strip mine hillsides, frack the earth and fracture life. Now we live in a country deeply divided, in an uncivil war with ourselves, led by a man whose platform is based on building walls, breaking agreements, betraying alliances, and backslashing social progress. Now we can see better what kind of leader he is and what kind of America we present to the world and what kind of world we are shaping.
We may celebrate our independence from foreign rule while we submit to the great god of commerce, and sacrifice the earth for our pleasure. Unless we change our ways, make a new pact with life in which we are no longer kings and conquerors, but servants and stewards, we may indeed destroy what we have been given. Massive forces of denial and dissent willfully confuse us, divert the issues away from solutions that are both ecologically and economically sound, in order to keep us at the trough and line the pockets of the elite.
Rant over (haha). On the positive side is a vision:
You are a beacon of light in a dark world. You are a voice for the soul and a bid for a world in which we see and bring out the best in each other. You speak to the freedom within each of us, to the heart of hearts, to the source of compassion and clarity, to that essence that lives at the core of the human spirit. You stand for the belief that we, as a people and a species, can find a way through the darkness; that the light we seek is always present and that we only need to open our eyes to see it.
Please share your thought and comments below.