With today being Independence Day in the U.S., I've been wondering if there are contexts of independence we can create in our lives?
Most talk of independence occurs in a context of captivity, oppression and the abuse of power. The desire for independence is counter-dependent. It depends on rebellion, defiance and resistance to exist. If there is nothing to counter-act, there's no experience of "independence". It embodies a lurking desire to be opposed and confined which maintains the context of oppression. That's evident in most school systems, corporations and government agencies in this "land of the free" where we "let freedom ring".
What does the inter-dependence within complex networks, ecologies and multi-cellular organisms show us about contexts of independence?
On one hand, it frames independence as isolation, going off the grid, or getting abandoned by the web of support systems. On the other hand, it pictures independence as autonomy from external controls and freedom to self-select among choices, self-evaluate resulting feedback and self-direct subsequent initiatives. Independence goes hand-in-hand with inter-dependence. That's evident in all these emergent communities on the web that span the globe.
Are contexts of independence something we can develop intentionally?
It happens in the realm of counseling psychology by the creation of "healthy boundaries". When people are enmeshed in co-dependent relationships, they get taken hostage by other's insatiable neediness. They cannot feel their own feelings or know what they really want. They are identified with "being the drug for the addict" or "filling the other's bottomless pit". When these people "just say no" to further entanglements, they create a context of independence. They stand on their own two feet, take responsibility for the actions, feel their own feelings and make choices based on what they find within themselves. They maintain a healthy boundary from expecting others to make them happy and from answering the call to satisfying other's clinging dependency.
How does the complimentary inter-dependence play into living with healthy boundaries?
Whenever we begin to feel our feelings and learn what we really want for ourselves, we become aware of complexity within us. We are not single minded or basking in internal harmony. We embody countless conflicts like those between "head and heart", logic and emotion, or self-control and spontaneity. Cognitive neuroscience tells us our limbic system is inter-dependent with our more evolved neo-cortex while the right and left halves of the neo-cortex respond to each other and the limbic system with different approaches. When we stop people-pleasing or living in our past, we face an opportunity to "get it together". We can be extremely resourceful right now. We feel (limbic system) congruent, serene and energized. Our thinking (left brain) is clear, untroubled and sharp. Our imagination (right brain) becomes inspired, creative and holistic. We get into a flow state where our sense of the right thing to do is "right on". One good thing after another comes along in our minds and in our world.
Image from www.grucci.com/Liberty2.jpeg