Native American Know-How, Part 2: Declare Your Emotional Autonomy

My Native American friend, Will, who talked about praying for ourselves before we pray for others here, gave me one other crucial tip about living our best chapter.

Declare yourself an emotionally autonomous state. Declare your independence as if you were a new country.

As a new autonomous region, you can extend your arms and that 360 degrees around you is your territory. Nobody can step into your territory unless you invite them in. That means physically and mentally, too.

“I learned I didn’t have to put other people’s well-being ahead of my own,” Will said. “If they were struggling, that didn’t mean I had to struggle, too. If they were hurting, I could pray for them but I could still hold a sacred space of dignity within myself and achieve emotional fortitude.”

We can look at ourselves as an independent country so that what happens outside our borders doesn’t have to affect us so deeply. We don’t  have to take on the crises of  others. We can still live a life of freedom and joy even though others remain stuck.

Today can be declared Independence Day. Celebrate your new state!

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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