Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Independence or Interdependence? Reflections on Freedom

In America we swear allegiance to the flag. Not to the Queen, as in Canada, where my "citizenship oath" in 1994 started with: "I swear allegiance to the Queen, to be Her loyal and faithful servant..."  We are not servants of the Queen of England, here in the U.S. We swear allegiance to the flag.  And we celebrate our Independence on the Fourth of July.  With parades, fireworks and parties. What's not to like? 


 Red - are the rocks of the Grand Canyon
 White - are the mountains, shining with snow
   Blue - are the waves of Pacific Ocean

         Red, White and Blue - colors of all.  

       Red - is the Earth from which we come
        White - is the Air that fills our lungs 
          Blue - is the Water inside us, with Stardust

           Red, White and Blue - connected in all. 

              Red - is pure Love, deep in our hearts
               White - is the Brightness of our clear minds
                 Blue - is the Peace of well-lived lives

                    Red, White and Blue - freedom for all. 

© 2018 by Maja Trochimczyk

But are we really independent? Truly? From everyone? Are we really free to do whatever the heck we want? Or, is the freedom and independence that we celebrate on the Fourth of July something that can be imposed on others? Brought in tanks, with guns and bayonets? (Those are old-fashioned, now we should say: drones... so many ways of killing, so many wars...).  

There is a lot of war in the words for Stars and Stripes our national anthem, and I do not like those words: I cannot remember them, I always sing them from a slip of paper with printed text...

Instead, why don't we make our anthem America the Beautiful? A pure celebration of the riches and abundant beauty of our world? 

America the Beautiful (1904 version)

Based on a poem by Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.
America! America!
God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for glorious tale
Of liberating strife,
When valiantly for man's avail
Men lavish precious life.
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

Maybe we should celebrate Independence Day as an Interdependence Day? seeing that we are all connected, all depend on each other... We all need the Earth with its core elements - air, water, food - simply to exist in physical bodies on this beautiful blue planet of ours.  We are all One, says the Law of One...

We are interconnected in societies, too - it is easy to miss that if you watch the news or read the propaganda filled newspapers, always finding someone to hate, detest, reject, or attack. We can do better than that, we can love. We can live in peace and allow others to do the same, leave out their choices in their own way, as we do ours. What better way of life is there, but being creative, accepting, open, and loving?

Soaked by water guns, poets at the 4th of July Parade (with Dorothy Skiles).

Let's learn a lesson from those who were displaced and killed by white settlers to America: Native Americans. Our Independence Day was a day when their civilization on this continent started to being attacked. Over 30 million citizens of First Nations were killed in an extended genocide over the last two centuries. Their cultures were destroyed, too - and there are many wonderful lessons to learn.

Two Wolves. A Cherokee Tale

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandchild about life. " A fight is going on inside me," he says. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego." 

He continued. "The other one is good - he is joy, peace, hope, love, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion. The same fight is going on inside you- and inside every other person, too." 

The grandchild thought about this for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf will win?" The old Cherokee replied: "The one you feed."

So let's not feed the dark and evil wolf of negative emotions and convoluted, distorted thinking. Let's feed the nice wolf of peaceful, harmonious emotions, constructive and creative thoughts, compassion, kindness and creativity. This would make us truly Independent, and yes, Interdependent.

But then, what about Freedom? What about Free Will and the right of personal Sovereignty? I love my Declaration of Sovereignty as a Citizen of this Galaxy.  I posted it on this blog last year
along with the whole text of the Declaration of Independence and a story of my Mom, who died on the Fourth of July.  There is never too much of the good thing, so here's my Declaration one more time:

My Declaration 

I am a sovereign citizen​ of the galaxy

My heart goes out​ to the mountains​.​
My feet grow roots​ in the light​.​
My eyes touch​ heavenly stars​.
I breathe gold air​ of goodness​.​
I drink lucid​ water of joy​.​
​Nourished by divine affection, 
I thrive, ​l​inked ​to all living beings​ -​
​snow crystals, seeds, ​trees, and sunlight​.​
​In ​harmony,​ we sing the chorale​ of dawn​.​
I choose to love all,​ live in love​.​

I am a sovereign citizen​ of the galaxy​.​

It sounds quite pretentious, really, all these lovely images piled up, one after another - but the last two lines hold true, even a year later: "I choose to love all, live in love. I am a sovereign citizen of the galaxy." The gift of love is freedom.

Thus, I assert my Free Will and right to do what I want, with two caveats - one) that what I do is motivated by Love, and two) that what I do does not purposeful harm anyone or any sentient being. Since "sentient" includes animals, I became a vegetarian two years ago, once I really thought through the consequences of my Galactic Sovereignty.  When I was asked to become vegetarian years ago, I refused. I liked eating turkey for Thanksgiving. I was grateful, but was the turkey?

Finally, the fireworks: beautiful and deadly, a peaceful use of war technology. It is all fine and dandy, the colors are enchanting, the patterns in the dark sky delight with their transient grace, dancing through the air. Should we even have fireworks in California? In the arid West? So close to the vast expanses of forests and chaparral, dry and ready to explode into wildfire infernos from the smallest spark? 

Perhaps not, perhaps we should go to the ocean shore and watch the fireworks over the ocean. That would be as lovely as those that Charles Ives saw and immortalized in his Fourth of July: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8S1aGY80Us.

This is an amazing piece, discordant, chaotic, it captures the spirit of the day...

Happy Independence Day, Everyone!

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