This first appeared in my 2004 newsletter and then in my book, Listen to Life, in 2005. It seems as appropriate today as then.
“No man is an island,” the famous line by John Donne reminds us. And there is no island without an ocean. All is somehow dependent on other. There is no true independence.
A couple of centuries ago we declared our independence, which possibly helps create in our culture the belief that we can be truly independent. Independence as a trait or quality of life requires us to actually be “in dependence.” We depend on each other in order to be individually independent. “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world,” the lyrics expressed. It would serve us well to remember that in our personal and professional lives, in love and loss, in success and failure, and in all our dealings. To be independent means that we can choose who to depend on; our choice, our independence. When that support is inflicted upon us, we are dependent in a negative way.
A good dependence allows for combined energy, while bad dependence sucks the energy from our souls; good dependence allows us to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses, but bad dependence magnifies weaknesses while creating victims to others’ strengths; and, good dependence allows for genuineness and vulnerability, while bad dependence negates the need for personal courage and strength.
As we become more full in our own lives, more in possession of our Selves, we can better invite and accept the connection of others.
The world situation, too, reflects a need for “in dependence” for successful independence. To be independent does not allow for total isolation. Even the island accepts the fury and affection of the waves in order to be fully what it is.