Friday, October 8, 2010

What Do You Stand For?

I've spent the last two days trying to recover from a nasty sinus infection, so when I haven't been sleeping, I've been watching way too much daytime tv. You know, there's really lots of nothing on all day and it all seems to be paid for by the same's amazing.

Since Election Day is drawing near, 'tis the season for political ads and smear campaigns. Everyone calls everyone else a liar and a cheat, everyone promises to clean up the County, State, or Municipality, everyone has vast experience, and, lately, everyone is an outsider who will bring fresh views and ideas to the job. I don't mean to be cynical, but I've been voting for some time now, and I have yet to see any great revolutions in the way government is run on any level. But that's not the point I'd like to make right now.

Candidates always try to differentiate themselves by what they stand for. Now, most of us will never run for public office, but I think it's worth while to ponder the question, 'What do you stand for?'

What does it mean to 'stand for' something, anyway? It means you believe in it, you support it, you'd vote for it, but is that as far as you'll go? Will you 'stand up' and 'stand out' for it? Will you speak out for it? Will you risk criticism or sidelong glances from others or put your money where your mouth is by donating money or your time to the cause? Will you write letters and sign your name? Will you stand for something by standing behind your words, meaning will you say what you believe in public and not just when you're working the grapevine or gossip circuit? And, perhaps most important of all, will you live by your own words? Will you walk the talk and, in so doing, inspire others to join you?

These are all important questions because they have the power and the potential to influence our decisions and actions, both large and small, on a daily basis. For example, I believe in leaving as small a footprint on this Earth as I can - I'm green (maybe I should type that Green), and have lived that way for many years.
I have an organic garden and compost my kitchen scraps (my husband calls me a dirt farmer). My electricity needs are not just met, but are exceeded by the solar panels mounted on my garage roof. When it was time to redo the kitchen, I opted for cork flooring and Ice Stone counter tops. I hang laundry on my clothesline to dry. I cook in my solar oven whenever possible. I buy organic produce as often as I can. I purchase recycled products as much as possible. And the list goes on. My point is, being green (or Green, as the case may be) influences, or maybe even drives, my little day-to-day choices as well as my big ticket buying decisions, and I think that's a good thing. Environmental responsibility is not the only thing I stand for, but it's certainly on my top 5 list.

It's important to know where you stand and to 'walk the talk' because then you can live honestly and authentically. You can be yourself and be true to your values. You can think about and work on things that are important to you. You can live with integrity, and that is a mighty powerful, satisfying, and liberating place to be.

So the question is: what do you stand for? What drives your day-to-day choices and decisions? Is it something that you can be proud of? If it is, that's wonderful. If it isn't, then change it. Life is too short to continue down unworthy and uninteresting paths. If you have no idea, then perhaps it's time for some quiet time and introspection so that you can figure it out. If you can't put it into words, you can't put it into practice, and that's no way to go about life.

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