When you hear the term Independence Day, what do you think of? The Will Smith movie? The American Revolution? Independence can mean so many things. Think of the first time you did something grown up by yourself. The time you took a big risk. The time you stepped out of your comfort zone.

In yoga class right after the 4th of July last year, my teacher Bhava Ram taught us a word: kaivalya. (It translates roughly to “liberation” in Sanskrit). It’s the ultimate goal of yoga: to be detached from the mind and the daily cares of the world.

He asked us to release the things we’d like to be independent from. Things like worrying about other people, worrying about what other people think.

His gentle words reminded me again of how strongly I allow myself to be wrapped up in others. It’s the downside of blogging for me. When I can write this blog in a pure way, out of a desire to serve, then blogging is a beautiful thing. The words flow, the photos come, the recipes work.

When I start getting hung up on how many people are following me, my page views, whether my tweet got retweeted… well it sounds just silly writing it down. But it’s so easy for me to get hung up on people’s opinions of me and my work.

So, today I declare my independence from what others are saying and doing. I release those thoughts and worries. I rededicate this blog to serving others, to serving you. I’m going to spend the summer cooking, taking beautiful photos, and working on getting my book into print. I hope that you’ll enjoy some new features over the summer, and that we’ll all come back refreshed in the fall.

What would you like to be free from? I encourage you to declare your independence from anything that’s cluttering up your inner life.

Independence isn’t a place or a goal, it’s a process. We’re all moving on a continuum, and we’re interdependent and interconnected in differing ways. Sometimes that’s good for us. Sometimes that isn’t.

If there is a an area of your life where you know you can grow, set a tiny goal today to be more independent. Challenge yourself to go it alone, to take that risk, to stand up for yourself.

Let today be your Independence Day.