The Dalai Lama wrote, "You see, the past is past, and the future is yet to come. That means the future is in your hands - the future entirely depends on the present. That realisation gives you great responsibility".
We can choose how we react and respond to anything that comes our way, be it goading insults or problems; global or domestic, big and small. We have a choice. And depending on the choices we make, our world, both immediate and global, becomes better or deteriorates further.
We all play a part in this process every day.
When looked at objectively, it seems utterly obscene that humans have overpopulated this planet to the extent we have - and because of the way we choose to live, we are destroying life around us every minute of every day. We are in effect, deep in the process of destroying our own home.
And what are we doing about it? What choices are we going to make to alter course to a more sustainable future - for all living things, including ourselves?
In this busy and complex world, it is so easy to kid ourselves that we are only "one" and "one" won't make a difference. But that is, of course, proven utterly wrong and many times over in our history. "One's" can make all the difference between success and failure. And besides, one multiplied by seven and a half billion makes a massive difference.
It feels, with the demise of Trump, we are coming out of a dark period in our history. Though with the legacy of Trump, there may be even worse to come, and we still have many tyrannical leaders who consistently demonstrate that they have no interest in anything except consolidating their own power and quenching their own egos and their insatiable greed at the expense of others.
Meanwhile, individuals and other living creatures and our planet continue to take even more of a beasting. And what are we doing about it?
It is so easy to feel overwhelmed, helpless and disenfranchised and that all is lost and everything is hopeless.
But it isn't. There is always hope if we don't give up. But burying our heads in the sand and pretending there is nothing wrong and there is nothing we, as only one individual can do about it anyway, is not a sustainable reaction or a winning formula.
And "action" is the word. We need action. Everyone can do something that makes a positive difference. Buy an electric car, recycle, travel less, consume less, pick up litter, only buy sustainable goods - but perhaps more importantly, vote for leaders who take the health of our planet seriously.
But there is other behaviour also that we might consider: Ourselves? How we behave and react to each other. Do we only think of ourselves and our own interests, or do we consider others? Do we think, as Gordon Gekko, that "greed is good" or do we understand that success brings with it a duty of care to others? Do we treat others as we would wish to be treated, or do we live our lives in fear of others? Do we feel threatened by change and differences, or do we embrace change and diverse thinking?
It is not difficult to find differences and reasons to dislike someone or their behaviour. We can see it every day; a stubborn refusal to view a situation from the other person's shoes, or just stuck in tradition without examining if it is a good tradition? If it is kind to others and other living things and kind to our planet, then surely, those decisions become unemotional and straight forward?
Every action has a consequence just as a lack of action does. Feeling and being responsible for our own actions goes to our core values.
We can take the path of fear, selfishness and greed or we can choose a different path; the path love, kindness and generosity of spirit; those values that define us as civilised human beings. We can choose determination over capitulation, cooperation over separation and victory over defeat.
If Donald Trump achieved anything, it is this; he proved beyond doubt how completely interconnected our world really is. How much we need each other; how countries, just as people, can be so much more than the sum of their parts when we work together. And in Trump's world; how fragmented and weak we can become when divided.
By his callous and divisive language, Trump actively set about destructively causing hurt and destroying so much goodness and good intent in our world, and by the time he finally departs the White House, his trail of anarchy will take time to clear up. But be cleared up, it will. And Trump will be confined to the trash-bin of history along with so many other despots from our world. Lessons will be learned and probably forgotten over time. But now is the time to look forward with confidence and determination.
Right now - at this time in our history, the world has a chance; it is a time of Hope. It means hard work, it might mean shoving your pride in your back pocket - but if we all do a little bit, we will begin to turn the tide of our own destruction. There will be setbacks, but that means we just have to dig deeper into ourselves and find that gritty determination to win.
If we do nothing, we will run out of chances. As Hillel the Elder put it: If not now, when? If not me, who? The point being, we may have a lot of crappy leaders in our world, but we can still lead ourselves, and by our example and efforts, perhaps influence others along the way to follow. That is Leadership. We can all be leaders.
Rick - Suffolk - UK - 18th November - 2020