Thought of the Month – July

by Vince DiPasquale

The month of July represents the gift of independence and freedom. These are two words that carry tremendous responsibility. They are words that we take for granted.

Does independence mean that we don’t need anyone? No, it means just the opposite. To be truly independent is to be responsible to yourself and to others. The Fourth of July teaches all of us how much we need each other. Remember all growth takes place in the spirit of the community. We are not islands. We need one another. Whenever we withdraw, isolate, or hide, we stop our growth process. We are all different, thank God, and the people I meet will help in my personal growth as a person. Therefore, learn the value of socializing and playing. The more encounters we have with others, the more we will discover about ourselves.

Does independence mean we live in a fantasy world? Do we judge others because they are different? Is our way the only way? There is no one way. There are many ways to achieve the same goal. If we are truly independent and healthy, then we are open to all. Sometimes because of our hurt and pain we like to live in a fantasy world. If we are independent, then we have to live in reality. Let’s let go of what was. We must learn to live in the real world. Even if we don’t like what we see, we must continue to look at our struggles as ways in which we can grow. As my dad would say, we need to embrace the negative so we can discover the positive. Remember it’s all right to have one good fantasy each day, as long as you know it’s a fantasy and as long as you can stay in reality. To be independent is to know how to stay in the reality of life one day at a time.

Does being independent mean that you spend your whole life doing for others? If your whole life depends on only serving others, you are not independent. To be independent means to have balance in your life. You can’t really help others unless you have learned the principle of taking care of yourself. One of the Golden Rules is, “Treat others how you would treat yourself.” In AA the twelfth step of recovery teaches us a great way to be an independent person, “Having had a spiritual awakening is to carry the message to others and practice those principles in all of your affairs”.

To have a spiritual awakening is to live by the definition of being a spiritual person. The word spiritual comes from Latin and Greek meaning to awaken and discover the spirit and energy that makes us who we are. Our spirit is our uniqueness. If we are at peace with ourselves, by the way we live our lives, our positive energy will reach out to others. By our example, we live our lives to help others. Remember you are never done working on yourself because it is a full-time job. The secret of being independent is to make sure you always have something to share with others. It’s called living a balanced life. Everything we do in life requires balance.

This July as you take time to smell the roses, to relax, and to enjoy the summer, make sure you also take time each day to pray and meditate in the spirit of gratitude. Even in our struggles we have so much for which to be grateful. On the Fourth of July, we celebrate Independence Day. This month, take time to celebrate your own personal struggle for independence and growth. Remember, if you take the time to invest in your growth as a person, you are on your way to your personal independence. Go for it! God bless!