There is much to consider as we witness our world today. Earthquakes in Nepal. Unrest in Baltimore. Drought in California. The US Supreme Court deciding issues of love. Schoolgirls and women kidnapped by the hundreds in Nigeria. Global environmental concerns.

And those are just the headlines. We each have our own challenges, personally, in relationship, with money, in our communities. It can be overwhelming, our hearts broken open, feeling powerless to affect anything.

But we can, and do, affect things, every day. We are not powerless. Every day we have a choice before us; to be part of the problem, or part of the solution.

The choices that we make every day have tremendous power. That’s not a platitude. It’s a fact. The love that we embody and express has tremendous power. The kindness and compassion and generosity that are available to us in infinite supply every day are the power of change. This power can change our world, and it all comes down to the choices that we, you and me, make every single day.

We can tear ourselves, each other and our planet apart. Or we can love and encourage and become the sanctuary that we ourselves long to experience. It’s a game-changing choice, and we all get to make it.

Ultimately we have each been given primary stewardship of one person – ourselves. I can run around all day every day for the rest of my life and point fingers and tell you and “them” what’s wrong. I can tell you all what you need to change, what you need to be. And all of that effort will not produce one iota of change, because change begins at home, within our own minds and hearts and souls.

We cannot expect the world to change unless we ourselves are willing to change.

There are times, seasons when we have the opportunity to reassess, to reconsider, to ask ourselves, “How is this working for me? And what might I consider, in order to become a bigger place for the values and priorities that I speak of to actually show up in my words, my thoughts, my actions, in all that I choose every day?”

We have to take responsibility for ourselves, individually, first. Change cannot happen on a relationship or family or community or global level until it first happens on a personal, individual level. “They” aren’t responsible for change. That kind of thinking is an abdication of power and of responsibility. It’s up to you and me. It can be no other way.

We get to choose, every day, how we show up in the world. Are we angry, frustrated, bitter, blaming, even hateful? Or are we loving, peaceful, kind, generous, and compassionate? What are our values and our priorities, and are we just saying they are important to us, or are we actually stepping into and acting upon those values and priorities?

Are we taking responsibility for ourselves, for our thoughts, our choices, our words, our deeds?

I’m not denying, avoiding, or repressing anything. Nor am I suggesting that we walk around with rose colored glasses and act as if there were nothing out of alignment in our world. A colleague of mine spoke of heartbreak today, and I thought to myself yes, my heart aches now more than it ever has. This isn’t about avoidance. This is about affecting change, taking responsibility, creating a consciousness of love and acceptance and kindness and sanctuary for ourselves and for each other so that we can safely throw a fit, cry out our frustrations, then dust each other off and love ourselves back to a state of wellness that expands and expands. If we choose that, each person can become like a pebble in the pond of human consciousness, radiating and loving and digging out from the global mire that daily clamors for our attention. We can change our thinking, shift our attention, start cultivating and nurturing and growing what is right and good and kind and loving and beautiful.

Current conditions didn’t create themselves. They came to be because each of us made choices and decisions, every day. In order to change our lives, to change our world, we must first change our minds. Einstein said that this can’t happen if we continue to think the way we have been thinking. This is not about creating new strategies and pamphlets and heaping complexity upon complexity in order to fix what is wrong. It isn’t about blaming and complaining and creating more of a mess of things in the name of fixing.

This is about cultivating, nurturing and growing what is right and good and kind and loving and beautiful until it begins to push up against, to displace. It’s about restoration, regeneration. It’s about stewardship, and our children. It’s about the kind of world that we want to inhabit, and taking responsibility for that.

But “they” are not going to do this. If this is what we truly want for ourselves, and for future generations, we have to do more than just talk about it. We, you and I, have to choose it every day. We have to practice it, embody it, and demonstrate it in our own lives, and then become walking, talking demonstrations of the power of choice and change to others.

Because there are many people who can’t imagine that a kind, joyous, beautiful world is even a possibility. But you and I, we know beauty and kindness. We know the power of Love. We have seen and felt and witnessed the power of Life and restoration that can and does happen, given even half a chance. We know what is possible when we see and hear and love and lift up each other.

And now, more than ever before in the history of our species and our planet, we are forced to reconsider, and to choose, every day. Because that’s how change happens, and the only way that change happens. One person at a time. One choice at a time. It’s not up to them. It’s up to you, and me, today. It can be no other way.