In case you haven't noticed, it's election time again... Of course if you watch TV at all, or read newspapers, or listen to the radio, it would be difficult not to know that there are elections coming up in the United States. Everybody, it seems, is talking about it...
I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, though I would love to. What I will tell you though, is that I strongly encourage you to participate in your life and go vote...
I know some of you may say that one vote does not make a difference, but one, plus one, plus one, and so on, do! But more than that, in your reality -- where you get to choose what you want in your life, what direction you want your life to take -- it is important that you choose, that you take action, that you participate.
Where Do You Want Your Life To Go?
It is important for your future that you make a decision as to where you want your life to go... You are the captain of your ship! And if you believe that God is in charge, the bible tells you that God gave humans free will! Yes, the ability, no, the response-ability to choose what direction your life takes. Free will! The ability to respond to events in your life.
Interestingly enough, the thesaurus has these synonyms for free will: autonomy, self-rule, self-government, freedom, and independence. So if free will is the freedom to "govern our self", then doesn't that also extend to our communities, our country, our planet? If we have free will in our lives, don't we also have a responsibility to ourselves (and to free will itself) to make choices and participate in our life?
And while no candidate or person or platform or political party may perfectly represent your preferences, in the same way that no head of broccoli in the grocery store is perfect, we choose it anyway because it is the best choice we can make at the moment. For example, I prefer to eat organic food. But because I spend a lot of time in a rural area where there is just one grocery store, organic produce is rarely available in my local store.
So do I choose not to eat vegetables because I can't get organic, i.e. perfect ones? Of course not. I buy the broccoli, the lettuce, etc., even though they are not organic because they are the "candidates" I have at the moment. So I choose the best out of the broccoli that is before me, and do what I can to have a better selection next time. For example, I talk to the produce manager about bringing in organic. I talk to friends and other shoppers, about the benefits of organic produce so they will buy it too (thus ensuring that the store keeps bringing it in).
Making The Best Choice We Can
OK, so, in the same way, if our political candidates are not perfect, though some may come closer than others from our perspective, they are the ones we have to choose from at the moment... We make the best choice we can, and then we go from there...
And where is that? We vote, we get involved; we make our voice be heard. And after the election, we continue to participate. We send emails voicing our concern on issues, we sign petitions, we join committees, we discuss with others about the things that are important to us... We may even choose to run for office next time, for the school board, for mayor, for Congress, or perhaps we encourage someone we know to do so. We participate in our life!
We're All On The Same Ship
We all live on Planet Earth! She is our home! We are all together on this ship that is hurtling through space. We can stand aside and say, politics are not my bag! Yet, if you are alive and breathing at this time on planet earth, then everything that is happening on the planet is your bag. Every decision you make affects everyone else. In the same way that a butterfly beating its wings across the planet can be the beginning of a heavy wind, our vote, our voice, our participation, can be the wind that blows change across the planet. We do have a responsibility to stand up and make our voice be heard, and our vote be counted. Whatever our preferences are!
We are responsible for the state of affairs on the planet. Maybe if so many of us, myself included, had not said for so many years that the system is corrupt and that nothing can be done, then maybe things would be different now. If we had not washed our hands of the whole political system, perhaps it would not be where it is now...
But that is then, and this is now! We can debate whether things would be different if we had done things differently, but that is not the issue! What's done is done! However, we can change the future! We can, by changing the present moment, by taking different actions, by making different choices.
We can affect the direction the country is going from this moment on, by our choices and by our actions. So yes, go vote! Make your choice, express your wishes, and move forward with your vision of the future.
Taking Our Response-Ability Seriously
We are responsible (response-able) for our life. We are able to respond to events in our life. We have free will and can make choices as to the direction our life takes. We are not innocent bystanders. We are the creators of our reality -- every action we take makes a difference to ourselves, to someone else close to us, and consequently touches everything else. We may be only one drop in the ocean of life, but one drop a ripple makes, and that ripple moves every other drop it touches.
So go ahead and make a ripple in your reality. Vote! Encourage your friends, family, and co-workers to vote! Help in whatever way you can!
If someone you know can't go vote because they don't have a babysitter, offer to sit with their kids (or take them to the park) while they go vote! If an elderly person does not have a way to get to the poll, offer to drive them. Talk to your boss about letting people come in late or leave early so they can vote! Do what you can to help! Make a difference. Take action in your life!
It is time for us to stop standing on the sidelines! You are not a wallflower in your own life! You are the principal character, the one that the whole show revolves around, and the one that affects the outcome of the movie! It's your movie! Step up and play your part with gusto! You can make a difference! You always have! You always will!
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World
by Paul Hawken.
Paul Hawken has spent more than a decade researching organizations dedicated to restoring the environment and fostering social justice. These groups collectively comprise the largest movement on earth, a movement that has no name, leader, or location and that has gone largely ignored by politicians and the media. Blessed Unrest will inspire all who despair of the world’s fate, and its conclusions will surprise even those within the movement itself.
About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com