I promise you I won’t talk about politics here. The Crossroads theme isn’t just about whom we elect as our next President, although it is certainly a part of it. By now we’ve all heard enough and pretty well know our choice. If you are like me, you might be somewhat overwhelmed by all the political speak at this point!

The Crossroads I’m talking about is a much greater choice than the single leader of one country, even if that country is the United States. We’ve all heard the issues – the environment, our financial institutions, our government and human rights (which includes a whole plethora of issues, like education, health care, etc.).

The choice is about integrity and vision. The choice is whether we choose to become proactive leaders each in our own right. Do we take some responsibility? Do we feel we have any power at all when it comes to how things are done and what choices are made?

The answer is a resounding, YES!

Spiritually speaking, we all walk the paradox of being autonomous versus interconnected. Every day we feel alone in ourselves, and yet we are intimately connected to all life in may ways we never see or feel. That’s changing.

In the coming decades we shall see more and more results of our personal actions and choices as they influence the grand “Big Picture”. The question is, will we step outside of our comfort zones and get involved?

Personally, I am somewhat of an introvert. Don’t get me wrong, I’m friendly and love interactions with others! Really! But I prefer lots of time alone and hate crowds of all kinds. It’s what makes writing such a perfect occupation for someone like me. But, there it is – the comfort zone I need to address. The world needs people of good conscious to be involved – to take some risks!

And here’s the thing – in the end, we can only defeat ourselves. If we truly believe in our ability to heal our world, that is just what we will do. There are no defeats in the life-long path of integrity and compassion. There is just this day, and then the next one. We wake up each morning with the ability to choose our attitude, even if our actions are sometimes preset.

Hope is good. We need hope. But what we need even more than hope is fortitude and perseverance. In my twenties, I expected to have all of my life goals wrapped up by the time I was 35 years old. That seemed plenty of time to me, and I could not imagine waiting decades before I accomplished them. What I’ve learned since then is that we can never control the timing of fruition. It’s the path itself, and the steadfastness of your heart while walking it, that matter.

While none of us might see the results of every choice we make, you can bet that someone will experience those results. Maybe several generations down the line, or perhaps someone half way around the world that you never will meet. Those are the things you can’t control. What we can control is when we come to a crossroads, we search our hearts, dump our self-interest and smile. That’s right, the smile part is very important. It invigorates and energizes each thing we do.

Our next leader will require the support, the commitment and the engagement of the American people. We can’t sit back and allow corruption to be the foundation of our social and economic systems. That is not who we are, and not what our country or our Constitution is found upon.

It’s simple, not special (to quote an old Zen Master). It is the fact that we live our lives, use our voices and hold our commitments with integrity and great compassion that grants our ability to be leaders in a rapidly changing world.

I heard recently that what makes Americans so unique is our creative and entrepreneurial spirit. We are amazing at inspecting a huge proverbial mountain and figuring out a way to climb it. That’s our strength and our gift to the world. Only our complacency can get in the way. Only our silence.

I’ll end with a few good quotes to ponder:

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”
H. G. Wells (1866-1946)

“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.”
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936)

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
– Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.”
– Henry Ford (1863-1947)


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