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Choosing character and cultivating character

Here’s what I voted for: Love, Peace, Joy, Faith, Truth, Grace, Kindness, Respect.
 
A while back I made a yard sign with nothing but these eight words. Just to put these words and their energy out there in some small way. And to remind myself and people who walk by of the individual and collective potential we have for these qualities. When I vote for someone, I’m looking at who embodies these qualities most.
 
Who has cultivated these kinds of fruits of the spirit, and other qualities like self-control, wisdom, integrity and insight.
 
Whose heart and intentions do I trust most? And who is therefore most likely to create policies that demonstrate these qualities in action. Who will help build a place that supports everyone’s ability to experience Love, Peace, Joy, Faith, Truth, Grace, Kindness and Respect?
 
I don’t intend any of this as a political statement but rather a statement for humanity, dignity and decency.
What I’ve seen is a President who is severely lacking in traits of character. But worse, his words, actions (and various failings to act) have profoundly disrespected, and even incited violence upon children, women, people of color and the planet we all rely on.
 
As Jesus said: Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me.
 
Certainly, the most disadvantaged and mistreated people in our culture have only become more so under this administration.
 
I hope one of the learnings from the last four years is that whenever we have an opportunity to vote, we choose character and qualities of the heart instead of focusing on a particular policy stance or heated issue, or on strategy or “winning.”
 
Ultimately, nobody wins when leadership lacks integrity.
 
But let’s not leave it at that. Although it’s incredibly important who we choose to be at the helm right now, I don’t sense that the changes we need will be solved by our government or any institution.
 
So I hope the other lesson is realizing we all need to keep transforming our own hearts and minds. We need to challenge ourselves to constantly cultivate more of the qualities we value, things like Love, Peace, Joy, Faith, Truth, Grace, Kindness and Respect. Only then can humanity get to a higher level of consciousness, the place where the changes we need can come to pass.
 
You must be the change you want to see in the world. - Mahatma Gandhi

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