Today, I choose love.

There is so much going on in our world right now, and not all of it is pretty.

People are scared. Tensions are high. We can’t turn on the news without seeing something shocking and tragic.

Civil wars. Domestic violence. Religious violence. Shootings in the street. Natural disasters. Country against country. Brother against brother.

We’re stockpiling weapons and boarding up our doors. We’re trying to live with the fear by boarding up our hearts.

I recently had a conversation with a man, who told me he believed our world is too far gone, that there is no hope.

I disagree.

I have hope. And if hope exists in me, and only me, then no matter by what margin, there is still hope.

But I believe it exists in every one of you who reads this, no matter how small. I don’t think you’d be here if it didn’t.

We often feel overwhelmed by the events around us. We feel like it’s impossible for us, as individuals to make a change, to make things better.

How can I convince others to lay down their weapons? How can I convince others to open their doors and open their hearts?

You know what, you probably can’t. But that’s ok.

Because you can open your door, and open your heart.

This isn’t a religious thing. I don’t want this to be some kind of movement or organization. This is a personal thing.

This is your thing.

Our lives are a reflection of ourselves. A reflection of our ideas, and our values.

On a personal level, it’s reflected in our family, friends and community.

On a community level, it’s reflected in our state and in our nation.

On a national level, it’s reflected around the world.

If you look in the mirror one morning, and the person in the mirror is frowning at you, do you walk over the mirror and try to rub that frown into a smile?

No. You smile – and the mirror will smile back at you.

It sounds simple, and perhaps overly idealistic, but change has to start somewhere. Why could it not start with you? Why could it not start with me?

Why can’t we plant the seeds that will grow and flourish into a better tomorrow? Into a better future for ourselves, and for generations to come?

Seeds start small, and grow from the bottom up. Not the top down.

We don’t need to wait for anyone above us – in any sense – to start making things better.

I’m talking about exercising compassion, forgiveness and understanding.

I’m talking about refusing to judge, hate or fear an entire race or religion on the actions of a minority you see on TV.

I’m talking about, whilst refusing to ignore the tragedies and injustices of the world, insisting on joy, love and playfulness – in spite of everything.

People will say, “So you’ve liked or shared something on the internet. Big deal. You haven’t made a difference. You haven’t changed anything.”

Perhaps they’re right.

But if you see this, if you like this, if you share this, you’re reminding yourself, and others that it’s entirely in your power to love and to change.

And that’s where you make a difference.

In the reaffirming of your desire to change yourself, to change the world. To create a better reflection. To love.

It’s not easy. We all get angry, jealous, impatient, outraged and offended from time to time. We all fall off the wagon.

Our politicians seem more interested in pointing out the flaws in each other, than promoting their own policies.

Our newspapers and TV news stations are filled with shocking, negative stories about hate, fear and violence, because that’s what sells papers and generates viewer ratings.

We’re constantly reminded not to trust. To be afraid.

Who is reminding us to love? Who is reminding us of all that’s good about our world and the people in it?

That’s up to us. We need to remind ourselves, and each other.

So this is me, reminding you: There is hope and love in you, and all around you.

You are a part of the solution.

You can choose compassion.

You can choose forgiveness.

You can choose not to judge others.

You can choose joy and playfulness.

You can choose understanding.

And above all, you can set your intentions today. You can make a statement, to yourself. You can say I’m choosing love, always love, over fear.

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