Three things you may not remember about the American Revolution, and life…

It’s the July 4th holiday weekend and we will all be busy with events and gatherings, fireworks and food-trucks, cook-outs and pool parties, time at the lake or in the lake – whatever fun you find this weekend, I hope you’ll take a moment to consider what we’re celebrating!

From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence. It marks the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the United States officially became its own nation, separate from British ownership.

Photo of fireworks in the night sky.

Some of the assumptions we make about the revolution are wrong. . .

  • We tend to think that this was a unanimous decision, to declare our independence and go to war, but it wasn’t.
  • We also forget that it took a long seven-year war to get the nations of the world to recognize that independence and that most Americans of that time period knew someone personally who lost their life to that war – it was not a distant, anonymous conflict (Slaughter, T. P., 2014).
  • Many of the things we struggle over (politically) today aren’t new. They were evident as seeds of discontent even in the 1770s. Especially our definition of freedom and independence!

Reviewing American history, I’m struck by these three things that weren’t covered in any classroom I attended. Maybe your education was more thorough but here’s what stands out to me now…

First, it was the Enlightenment that led to the fight for freedom. The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement that elevated science and art and challenged the authority of established religions, regimes and the myriad political decisions that affected society.

The Enlightenment (roughly 1715 to 1815) asked us to lean into reason,and to make arguments that relied on evidence and proof, not superstition. It gave us the foundational belief that human beings have RIGHTS – God given rights that could not be over-run by governments or kings. Without these fundamental underpinnings, the core beliefs that emerged as uniquely American for their time would never have been articulated.

Second, we Americans were not in complete agreement on what independence meant. Slaughter (2014) reminds us that some thought of independence as a local separation (my village, my church, my community, etc.) rather than holding to the larger meaning of independence that led to war with Britain (our country, our government, our money). We didn’t necessarily share a sense of community that included all the colonies or certainly all the many agendas that stretched through the legislatures of these 13 very different municipalities.

And, on any given day, some folks switched their loyalties to accommodate the marauding presence of one army or another, in order to stay in business or hold onto their property. It was messy!

Third, there was LOTS of hardship before the war was won. It wasn’t a quick or an easy win. Everyone alive in the period felt the grip of war personally – losing a loved one, a family member or a friend in the conflict (Slaughter, T. P., 2014).

I grew up in close proximity to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. It doesn’t take much imagination to walk among the remaining log-built structures there to realize that conditions for Washington and his troops were brutal. In addition to the hardships of weather, the repeated disruptions of their supply-chain, inadequate funding for even basic supplies (food & clothing), there was also smallpox, that festered as an epidemic throughout the colonies in the 1700s.

Self-care is every conscious action you take that feeds your soul, nourishes your body, nurtures your spirit, or replenishes your relationship with yourself!

What does any of this have to do with Self-care?

For me, the correlations are obvious, I hope you’ll bear with my thinking. . .

  • Without ENLIGHTENMENT there is no impetus for change. Today this means our own personal realizations about how the world works, what is the spiritual nature of life, what belief systems genuinely serve us as rational people.
  • We don’t have to all agree to move society forward. In a country where so much opportunity is missed due to grid-lock in our legislatures, where progress can move at a snail’s pace toward advancing the freedoms so many of our fellow citizens need, we don’t need consensus to take steps toward change – we just need to vote our conscience. It is the single, most independent action any one of us can take.
  • Important change is never easy. If it were, we wouldn’t have wars or hardship or the kinds of conflicts that plague the human family. Whether it is a war for independence or standing up for yourself in a community that challenges your right to be who you are (essentially, to exist). If the outcome is worth the effort, we can expect it will not be an easy fight.

I hope this weekend brings you many joyous hours of celebration with friends and family, in communities where you’re welcomed and accepted for who you are and all you contribute to the greater good. I trust you’ll remember that your personal gains were not made by you alone (lots of folks have worked to make your path easier). Take a moment to consider what changes (personally or societally) are worth the pain that comes from fighting for their realization – true liberty for all!

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About Paula

I help other caregivers – both professionals and family caregivers – acknowledge their pain and learn to practice the many small skills of self-care that can sustain them through the challenges of wholeheartedly caring for others.

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How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.

How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.