Independence Day. The day the United States celebrates her declaration of freedom.

Make this your personal Independence Day.

What do you need to be free of? What’s holding you back? What can you let go of? Or even just decide to let go of?

Freedom comes step by step. And it starts with an intention, the desire to be free, and discomfort with what is constraining you. You gain freedom when you let go and say no to whatever is keeping you from feeling free.You have to let go of the familiar and be willing to risk uncertainty.

But what if it’s a memory? Pain? Grief? Shame? PTSD? Physical disability?

To the extent that we can control our thoughts, we keep ourselves prisoner and we release ourselves by them. By how we choose to perceive and apply meaning to our experiences, motivations, actions, and reactions. It’s true that PTSD and physical disabilities can affect how our bodies and brains process thought. Authorities often say these are permanent wounds that cannot be overcome. That leaves people feeling powerless. But what if we started looking at what we can control? What if we started to believe in the power of attitude, in the power of the intention to be well, of the human spirit’s amazing ability to be resilient, to find ways to adapt, to achieve a new way of accepting ‘what is’ in a way that empowers us?

I’m not negating the biological effects of PTSD or the enormity of its affect on those with it. What I am saying is this: no one has the right to make you feel powerless. Including you.

Beyond PTSD, war muddies up the boundaries of guilt, shame, pride, and patriotism. It can leave you with secrets. It can leave you feeling more alone than ever. It can leave you feeling trapped.

If you’re feeling unfree in your spirit today, don’t berate yourself for it. Ask yourself: what if I were free? What if I could find a new sense of meaning and wholeness? What if I could create a new way of thinking about my life? What if I had the power to change my thoughts and that would change my feelings and create new circumstances and experiences in my future?

Let your mind explore the possibility of actually creating a future where you are happy and whole. Open yourself to the possibility that you could experience this. Then start thinking about the thoughts that limit you. Are they true? How do you know they are true? What if they weren’t true? What new thought could you think that would feel freer?

If you are in crisis today, let this be the day you choose life. Reach out and call 911 or the hotline. Don’t wait. Just dial the number: 1-800-273-8255.



One thought on “Your Independence Day

  1. Hi.
    After reading up to p. 52 in your book, Close to Home, I wrote a letter, I journaled, about this. I wrote out prayers for help in freeing what I’ve held captive within for far too long, done at first to survive, later mainly serving to stop me from embracing and being emmbraced by other human beings, imprisoning me, holding myself back from daring to dream, to be whole, more whole than I can consciously recall in this form, this lifetime.

    I not only want but feel the NEED to let go of the familiar to experience uncertainty. There were times in my life that I thrived on living in such a space. Only, the work I was called to was impeded, eventually externally, by my avoidance of my deepest sense of personal vulnerability. My fears of rejection began to conquer who I felt designed to be, in part because in many parts of my being, I felt unworthy of receiving the type of Love I so freely gave when feeling safe enough from my mother who taught me directly that I was not worthy of Love and never would be. It was one of her effective strategies to go on living with her in hopes of gaining love from her and with it permission to LOVE myself, and receive it from others.

    Moving into combat made me feel more at home again, literally. As insanely unhealthy as “home” had been for me, it was familiar, and so, in some ways more easy for me, than to live out dreams of my own, from my Source within. But, it was stealing my soul.

    What is stopping me from being free? Fear, guilt, shame, Pain, sense of self as unworthy of Love, of healing and wholeness…

    My sobriety date is July4,’98. I’d begun to use a 12 step program used before, but this time to survive. I didn’t count on being put in a nursing home as a young woman to die of Gulph War Syndrome, where not one of my closest friends in that prog visited me. It was easier for them to detach than face my dying head on.

    Only, I didn’t die, for I was plcd in one of those notoriously violent, deadly environs where I felt forced to fight for my life every day and night. Now, I’m out. And, my fears from the combat yrs hv come alive to haunt or taunt me into finding a healing path again. Which led me to this site.

    I NEED TO ANSWER those Qs asked in the last 2 paragraphs listed above. It is and will be part of my journeying to health/wholeness/healing, on this path I’ve grown unaccustomed to. It is as you said one of uncertainty, i.e., one of Life, Learning, Loving and being loved, letting my fears of rejection go free from the captivity within me; Loving myself, and accepting that, having fun, laughing, knowing joy, receiving love, being fully embraced just as I am…all as ok.

    Independence: Freedom from what or who we perceive to be holding us back, holding us in, holding us up as we hv unwittingly bn robbing ourselves of lives lived fully, richly, wisely, to be provided for and protected by the Love Who created us to live in ways that will bring ourselves and others to live as we may yet have dared to.

    In my journal I plead(ed), even beg(ged) to receive all of the help I need to be free of the things, so many deeply related untrue beliefs as to who and what I can & can’t do or be, having used the excuses of having done things I regret, and did, but saw no alternative but to do as told…

    Yet, what ended my days in the Military was the accepting of my soul crying out against what no longer felt just, honorable, right or ok. I was disillusioned by the world I chose to be part of, and I stood up for what I believed knowing that I cld hv faced charges of treason, disobeying orders, etc. By some power greater than myself I was released and relieved of duty in more ways than one.

    Where is that strength now? It’s within me, still awaiting my reactivation for use in finding my new purpose, a variation of a theme, yet this time being more self-inclusive in receiving the things I was born to teach, comfort, guiding others, with my innate knowledge of becoming free, Learning, Living, Loving (ths time) Mutually, pushing fear aside as my self designated leader:

    Allowing Love to supercede all else which has bn blocking me; all that which I’ve bn holding prisoner acting as if it is those self devised, or accepted things, are the ones ably holding myself prisoner in & from my own body-mind-soul-spirit-environs-relationships-self (known & yet to be):

    “God/Goodness/Love, help me to release all I’ve bn holding onto that has seemed to be holding me back from what and who I need in my life to experience joy, love, healing, freedom, expression, hope, smiles, laughter, Life as you would have me receive and share, a forever child of yours for and from which you want the very best, always, in all ways…”

    Such a life Can start here and now, as surely as I do my part in surrendering to the Power of Love which is far greater than I, as if alone in, every way; allowing myself to discern the voice of the Almighty Love within from that of fear, from that of my own, willing to follow that Power of Love which I’ve so long felt truly unattainable for me:

    There are definitely times when it’s good to be wrong. A soldier’s life after war, discovering that it’s ok to be wrong, to change courses once a wrong belief is discovered as my own… A soldier’s journeying into fighting for life, then realizing that the fighting I hv known is not the type required here. And, that’s ok, for the Truth(s) will be revealed as I open my woundedness to the rays of healing Light emanating from that vulnerable spot of feeling and receiving love, wherein the answers to my questions seem bound to be found.

    I’ll be needing to take a proverbial leap of faith to experience what I’ve longed for through these years of self-imposed isolation, fearing rejection, and more still, fearing acceptance, unconditional love, the unfamiliar among humans for far too long. I know I can do this, but not alone.
    Yet none of us who have found this site can claim aloneness as a reason to further disconnect (Read that last sentence again: None of us is truly alone no matter how deeply we’ve convinced ourselves that we are or were, perhaps will be forever, or as if again– Thoughts born of fear, which no longer has permission to use you or I as a breeding ground to produce more if the same, the food of lies which will be our demise should we choose to let them).

    I now have choices, having read what I just did. You do to. Will we allow ourselves to overstep the bounds of piddling fears that have appeared to dominate our souls without our permission? Or will we soldier on against the evils within (that doing us and the ever connected “others” in ths life harm)?
    The choice has been formally placed in our hands, hearts, minds, souls, lives & the consciousness therein & thereof. How we respond, unalone, is up to us, each and every one. I pray/wish/hope we choose Love over fear as we become ever more aware that THE CHOICE IS OUR OWN.

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