Monday, July 3, 2017

PsychKicks©: Independence or Interdependence Day?

Psych yourself up with like-minded sidekicks by exploring the symbols all around us—together. 

Source of Inspiration
US Independence Day,
Conversations about relationships 

"High as a flag on the 4th of July.” So go the words of I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy from South Pacific. Change the words to I’m in love with my freedom so dear and I feel the same way. I’m not just in love with living in a free country but with being a free spirit. Independence Day bursts on the scene with fireworks tomorrow. Let’s explore what independence means to us on this red, white and blue holiday. (You don’t have to be an American to play.)

Independence Day or the 4th of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.The Continental Congress declared that the 13 American colonies considered themselves a separate nation, the United States of America—no longer part of the British Empire.

This breaking free reminds me of teenagers who petition the courts to become emancipated minors. Still stretching toward adulthood and no longer wanting or feeling the need for parental guidance and restriction, the teen asks the law to grant him or her early adult status with both its lesser prohibitions and new responsibilities.

This stepping away gets to the heart of independence. It is something we declare—own—then act upon. It starts within.

As anyone who has lived even a few decades knows, others can set us free, but we won’t be free until we come to terms with the “breakup” ourselves. This is true of romances, jobs, children leaving home and so many other partings or renegotiations of relationships in adult life. To declare independence before its usual time according to law, customs or other outer influences is a pre-emptive strike. It’s standing up on our own before someone kicks us out, so to speak, or at least continues to exert a parental-like hold on us. While dissatisfaction with the status quo is the usual basis of the break, the parting is not always contentious as in the expression friendly divorce.

The pre-emptive nature of emancipation is the bane of highly independent people. Lots of us (I am so one of them) tend to leave people and places first before they grow tired of us or no longer want or need us. For many there are baseline fears of intimacy or abandonment that subconsciously stoke the internal fireworks that lead us to walk—sometimes run—away.
If that smacks a little of not being 100% healthy to you, you’re probably right. 

Sometimes it’s time to leave, especially if there is any kind of abuse or irreconcilable differences involved. Irreconcilable differences are the major basis for divorce in California—an expression that says it all to me. Sometimes we just outgrow people, places and things.

Yet the heart of being a happy human is connection. I have recently read that the opposite of addiction (can’t quit a person or habit) is connection. This brings me to the topic of interdependence.

Interdependence Day

Our choices aren’t between neurotic dependency and who-needs-you when it comes to politics or personal relationships. The healthy alternative is interdependence, voluntary agreements to support each other and pool our talents and caring. According to, interdependence is defined:

The quality or condition of being interdependent, or mutually reliant on each other: 
Globalization of economies leads to an ever-increasing interdependence of countries.

Interdependent relationships are not parent-child; they are adult-adult. In an increasingly global economy, freedom comes from growing up and treating everyone like equal partners.

The hardest part about “being the adult:” it often requires a one-sided decision to act mature when others are rolling on the floor and pitching tantrums. Those content to remain children in their citizenship or personal relationships are the least likely to break the pattern. The responsible types have to be more responsible, at least temporarily.

From the political perspective, our current US president often does not take the high road of adult-to-adult interactions. So it’s incumbent on those of us who want change to do it, even when our top representatives aren’t playing. The more we stand up for interdependence, the more people will find the old ways ineffective and backwards and ultimately intolerable. Evolution will follow. When I have stood up to gossip or petty behavior in my own life, I’ve been amazed to learn how many people felt the way I did; they just didn’t want to be the first to speak up.

In personal relationships where our reactive buttons are hottest, the same applies. Suck it up and be the bigger person. Most relationships suffer horribly from entrenched reactive patterns. One person has to stop the reaction, no matter how difficult or knee-jerk it is. The repetitive rants and fits that result destroy the bond bit by bit and become the distraction to dealing with the underlying issues that would heal the relationship … if only someone would grit their teeth and be the grownup. It changes everything.

Here in the Sacramento Area, we are incredibly blessed to have our very own Interdependence Day. A creation of Stephen Dinan, Founder and CEO of The Shift Network and author of Sacred America, Sacred World: Fulfilling Our Mission in Service to All: the event focuses on “what connects us to the human family.” Events include a global interfaith meditation and ceremony. Some other activities are sand mandala-making, a labyrinth walk, children’s art, cultural dancing and more.

During Stephen’s recent trip to Sacramento, he was inspired by the energy in our sacred-named city and plans a big conference here on similar themes in September. I hope this starts a nationwide evolution and a divine domino effect of similar events from sea to shining sea.

Happy Interdependence Day to All!

This Week’s Questions

  • What is your relationship with independence, both politically and personally? 
  • How do you feel about the concept of interdependence?
  • How will you nurture your own freedoms and those of others?

I’d love you to hear your insights in the Comments.

Photo Credits: Kids side kicking ~ keigo1027yasuda –, Fingers forming heart on flag © Africa Studio -

Related Articles

The Astrology of Independence
Includes chart of USA, a Cancer Sun, Aquarius Moon and Sag Rising country.

Sacred America, Sacred World by Stephen Dinan

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