By my very nature, I would not consider myself to be a “political”person. Regardless of that and in light of all that is going on in our homes, towns, country, and the world, I’ve spent the last two weeks following as much as I could of both political conventions. The presentations were troubling to me on many levels as I listened to the speeches and comments of many of those involved.
“What are we choosing?” I keep asking myself. “As a nation and as humans, what in the world are we thinking?” The slogans, the buttons, the banners, the commercials…wow, so much animosity and negativity often under the guise of being positive! I cannot begin to understand how this type of thinking can help heal or strengthen us as a people.
I have the great privilege of speaking to groups both young and old about the message of our “I Choose” books. The message is clear and simple: “we choose what comes out of our mouth, what stays in our head, and what lives in our heart.” I share this message in schools and often get notes back from 2nd graders that merely say “I choose joy. I like it.”
I also hear from grownups who suddenly realize “I choose my thoughts and how I react to them.” These notes are not only rewarding to me, but also give me hope in the human spirit. There are also plenty of days when the little voice inside my head quietly reminds me “Suzin Carr, read your own book”, and I choose to step back and re-evaluate my words, my thoughts or feelings.
As has always been part of our business mission, I occasionally send out copies of our books to those who inspire me for one reason or another, or to those who stir some noticeable emotion within me. There are quotes I’ve read from parents dealing with a tragedy, stories of children who return something they find with no expectation of reward, recognizable folks who choose to make a positive difference for the sake of the whole regardless of their own celebrity, and people who stand up and speak out for what is right even though it may be unpopular or difficult. Always, the recipient is someone who illuminates me with their goodness or awareness, or someone who inspires me to be a better person myself. Sending our books to these random people is one of the ways I choose to “give back” to humanity. It’s a simple way to bring a great message full circle.
In this age of doing "random acts of kindness”, I’d also suggest that we choose to walk away from “random acts of unkindness.” You know, the times we make unhappy gestures at other drivers, or we when we choose to speak our mind when we really could have let the issue pass. I have days where I feel like I am counting to 10 or taking deep breaths all day long just to change my mood or focus. We all have those days; it’s just a matter of how we choose to react to them. As the next two months unfold, I encourage us all to be cognizant of how we approach each other in our conversations, written words, and thoughts. I urge us to turn away from comments that cannot possibly heal or bring wholeness to a united people of the United States. Stand up for unity by not repeating or reposting the vulgarity and negativity. Peace is possible, but it starts with each of us. For now and for always, choose well.