You may be asking yourself, in the wake of all the violence that is invading
our lives lately, what can I do? I ask that while I watch the news, while I hear the nearly endless repetition of shootings, explosions, terrorism at home and abroad and death in our inner cities. It is a grim tableau and it is very easy to get caught in a spiral of helplessness, fear and sadness.
It’s one of my ongoing complaints about our newscasts—that they fill us with fear and have no ideas, suggestions or strategies about what we, as ‘ordinary’ citizens can do.
I’ve decided that I can do some things. Maybe these things are not enough, but they are better than being a victim to the flood of negativity we’re subject to.
I can be mindful of the impact I have on others.
I can treat everyone I meet with compassion, acceptance and forgiveness.
I can examine my judgments about others and temper those with an open mind to their experience.
I can stop believing I am right all the time.
I can reduce my grumbling about traffic and the behavior of other drivers.
I can refuse to gossip.
I can speak out against bullying of all sorts.
I can vote. I can vote against racism, sexism and the naming of scapegoats.
I can understand myself more deeply and move closer to a peaceful, loving existence every day.
I can refuse to be a victim to the irresponsible views of individuals who have the media’s attention.
I can become more powerful and responsible for my own behavior.
If I can do these things, so can you and you can talk about this to others.
Instead of spreading fear, judgment and blame, we can—we need to—nurture compassion, understanding and open minds.
One by one, person to person, this is the way change happens.