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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Just a warning folks, this one is a tad bit political...

I was at the gym this morning and Fox News was the featured station in front of my elliptical.  As I powered through my workout listening to the myriad of music on my play list, I couldn't help but notice and watch a few of the news stories on the air, which got me thinking...

We are in such heavy times of trouble and heartache that society seems to be crumbling around us.  From the recent tragic events of the mass murders and bombing in Norway, to our own soldiers turning on themselves, to the rising levels of beatings, robbery, rape and murder/suicides happening on our own soil, I am saddened and heartbroken for all who have become so disenfranchised with the instability in our world that they would commit the most heinous crimes with seemingly no conscience. 

How can that be?  Who can we turn to when our media continues to perpetuate the cycle of fear and chaos?  When we turn on our televisions or radios, most of the images we see and stories we hear are those of war, hatred, and economic failure.  Our "political leaders" are spending more time arguing over issues than trying to find real ways to solve them. No one in our government seems to offer solutions to these very serious problems, yet they continue to collect their very hefty salaries without offering to take a pay cut.  In everyday business, don't we fire those who fail to get the job done? 

How can they expect us, the American public to dip into our already shallow pockets and give up even more when our own politicians are unwilling to give up even a small portion?  How can they expect businesses to carry the burdens of extra taxes, insurance fees, unemployment benefit hikes and the like while they continue to get "cost of living" raises and added perks with no consequences? 

I am no pundit but I will say this...In my opinion, I would say that most Americans are feeling the need to come to some level of compromise.  I would say that most of us walk down the middle with views on both the right and left but that our media and politicians continue to divide this country using scare tactics and the blame game while trying to cover their own asses. 

As members of society it seems to me that gone are the days when we used to know our neighbors and call them friends.  Gone are the days we would smile and wave to strangers on the street.  Our media has manipulated us into thinking that everyone is out to get us and that you better be looking over your shoulder constantly.

Now, with that said I can offer this very simple solution to one small issue and that issue deals with individual happiness and having mutual respect for people that surround us, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.  The answer: smiling. 

According to an article on (and I am paraphrasing) smiling can offer health benefits ranging from increased happiness, decreased blood pressure and lowered stress levels.  Choosing to smile is a very easy way to spread joy and show respect for another person.   The reality is, if you take a minute to smile at someone, they will almost always smile back.  YOU have the ability to change a person's day simply by taking a minute to flash your pearly whites.

I'm not saying that this is the answer to the HUGE issues we are facing, what I am saying is that you have the ability to control your own happiness and to take it back from the powers that try to manipulate and control your thoughts and ideas.  You have the choice to live your life as an optimist and influence others to do the same through your own actions. 

It might seem like a very idealistic thing but it's a good place to start.  Making small changes in your life and attitude allow you the freedom to know that you are the one with power, free to make your own decisions, free to stand up for what you believe in and free to spread happiness in this world of anger and chaos through peace, love and tolerance. 

When we think of our greatest leaders, people like Mother Teresa, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. we know they shared one common idea  and that was to treat one another with love and respect.   Where are those leaders today?  Where are those people who are willing to risk their lives for what they believe in to spread the message of hope and equality?  Instead, our leaders (and I use that term loosely) are busy shouting about who's allowed to be married and trying to take away basic human rights instead of focusing on the real issues at hand. 

I think that small changes can make a big difference, I really believe that.  Starting from the grass roots level, that's the spot.  You may not have the power to control the world but you do have the power to control your own life and that starts from within.

"A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave,"
Mohandas Gandhi

Whatever it is that you believe in, cherish and value, in the spirit of Gandhi, one of our most influential leaders of peace, allow yourself the courage and strength to be brave enough to share it with the world around you through the love in your heart.  

You might be surprised at what you get in return...

Oh, and don't forget to smile.

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