Happy Independence Day!

As we approach the holiday weekend here in the states, I realize how grateful I am for the independence and freedom of speech we enjoy here.

I believe all members of our forum here enjoy such freedom in their respective countries. Therefore, I thought it a good time to recognize the importance of such freedom.

Having freedom puts us in a unique position to give voice to a cause. In this case, building awareness on narcissism. There are many women in the world today who would be killed if they spoke up about any kind of injustice.

I learned recently that one of my ancestors was about to be tried in the Salem Witch trials, but died before she could be heard.

I realize how fortunate I am to live in a modern age and a free country where my voice can be heard. To everyone who enjoys the same freedom, whether you celebrate this weekend or another time, Happy Independence Day!

"How Does Independence Affect Our Life Purpose"
by Scott Andrews

When I think of 4th of July, I think of independence and what it means to live in America. The American Dream is that America is "land of the free" and that was a founding theory behind the founding father's patriotism. And, although new laws are passed every year, we remain one of the few countries with enormous freedom of religion, politics, and belief systems. Many people die for independence. Why?

Freedom is one of the most fought after traits a human being -- and an animal, has. I remember one time, as a young boy helping out in the garden with my brother, when we had trapped gophers. By accident, we caught a squirrel. The squirrel ate his foot off to try to get out of the trap -- that is how bad that poor fellow wanted out of there.
I have heard some people say that you can smell freedom in the air in America.

The original idea of forming statehood under a united front of democracy came from several places. The founding writers of the constitution borrowed ideas from other forms of government, including: Roman, Greek and British systems. At that time, there was also a system of democracy among the Iroquois, an indigenous tribe of nations.

Many countries have their own Independence Day they celebrate. A reminder to me came from a Chinese woman who didn't say the common "have a nice 4th", but instead said "Happy Independence Day" -- it struck me that she certainly understood the meaning of the holiday. She had migrated to America from China, a country known for poor working conditions and suppression of individual rights.

Whatever we take our independence to mean, it is valuable to remember that people, in many cases our parents and generations before them, braved harsh winters and difficult times and fighting (and death) for this independence. I recently learned that I am a son of the American Revolution, as my Mother has been digging into our ancestry to find out our great, great, great grandparents fought in the war.

I learned, in a small booklet written by my great, great, great grandfather, that during a famine in the early 1800's, they ran out of food -- food of any kind was so scarce, and hunger so great, that our ancestors ate the bark off of trees.

Many people, such as refugees during WWII and subsequent wars/actions, braved tremendously opposing conditions to immigrate to America. However, despite these challenges many people have died to come here. United States, with the freedom she offers, is a beacon around the world to refugees, down-trodden, and people who long for a better way of life.

Democracy has won the economic and cold war battles fought over the past 40 years.

I thought, as I saw the fireworks overhead during Independence Day,"what would happen if we did not have our freedom or answered to another power? Would we have slavery? Would people live the way they do now? What would a hard day's worth of work look like to us then? Would the internet matter?" We could go on with this type of thinking, but you get the idea. While our forefathers (and foremothers) may not have done everything right in America, they did succeed in creating a model of government which became a dominant world power.

As in the movie "Braveheart," when William Wallace was about to die, rather than renounce his name and dignity he shouts out "FREEDOM!!!" and is then be-headed. As Wallace said, "they can take our lives, but they can never take away our freedom." This type of Scottish pride runs deep through anyone who has a heart for freedom.

Dying for our freedom is not something American citizens have done in a long time. However, the heart of this eagle is stirred. We will fly in the face of danger and fight for our beliefs. I have so much respect for the soldiers who are fighting against hidden and sneaky enemies in Iraq right now. I am grateful they are willing to put their lives on the line for the values we all believe in. I'm just wondering what will come of it?

While we think of our independence, perhaps we can also think of ways to improve our situation and vote responsibly for people who stand for integrity, independence, and freedom. Or, we may decide to take personal action to stand for freedom, independence, liberty, and justice for all human beings.

You don't have to be American to appreciate freedom or desire it. No matter where you come from, let us stand together for freedom. Freedom is a core value enabling us to truly ASPIRE to our greatness.

How does FREEDOM relate to our LIFE PURPOSE?

It's simple. The more FREE we become, the more we are able to truly live our purpose, and to the highest degree possible. If you are not free in your country, I encourage you to stand up for basic inalienable human rights. We deserve to have freedom and we deserve to be free from the dictates of others who would take advantage of our situation.