Have You Voted Today

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Huh? You're probably wondering when this article was written, and probably thinking that this article is about a recent election. Well, it is and, it isn't.

Webster's Dictionary defines voting, in part, as choosing or deciding. In that respect, you likely make choices and decide many things in the course of a day?which means you have probably voted several times today!

OK, so now what? Where am I going with this? Just because the most recent Election Day as come and gone does not mean that you longer have to consider voting. The great thing as a human being is the fact that you always get a vote ? even when you don't think that what you have done has registered.

Your votes ? your choices and decisions ? always register. They always affect someone, something, somewhere. Even it's just you in the moment you cast your vote, or when you choose not to. There is no greater power than the freedom we have to always choose.

Sometimes it may not seem as though there is anything to choose. How often I used to say, "I don't have a choice!" Well, I may not have like my choices ? which is a different story ? but I always had options to choose from.

I came to realize that my whole life I have voted, even many times when I didn't even realize that it was going to count. But everything I have ever done has been up for a vote ? consciously or unconsciously. I started to realize that I could make more powerful decisions by making them, and making them consciously (oh, how I didn't want to sometimes!). However, I realized that without my conscious vote, I was still making choices, but often I was left feeling quite unhappy.

When something isn't working, I now realize I have essentially 3 choices:

- Stay with how things are
- Change/Alter my perspective
- Walk away

All 3, every time. Looking at it that way, it makes it very difficult for me to use the "I don't have a choice!" statement ever again. Oh! Sorry, I should have warned you that was coming. After all, if you see validity in it for yourself, it will also make it difficult for you, as well. The good thing is, though, you are still safe if you want to choose to keep your "I don't have a choice" perspective intact!

However, if you're open to the perspective, what do these choices mean?

Let's start with one very important thing that they don't mean. They do not include an option to control a situation or to alter or change another person, their attitudes, or their perspective.

What they do mean is that the solution to anything lies within you ? and can only come from you. Yuck! I know, it really stunk for me what I realized that I had to stop looking outside of myself. After all, it'd be so much easier if the other person would just change, or see it my way, you know?

Well, we all know how easy it is to "get" another person to change, right?

I'll tell you a secret, though, one of these 3 options actually has a pretty good possibility of changing how another person acts. Can you guess which one? If you guess #1 or #3, maybe you have some insight for me. My answer, though, is #2.

Can you guess why?

When our perspective changes, we change. We act differently. When we act differently, those around us will likely react differently to what we do and say. Because we are not being the same as we've always been, they will likely not be, either.

It was difficult to shift perspectives in the beginning?but it got easier over time, in part due to seeing the results. I had often heard if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten. It's a great thing ? as long as you like what you've got.

It's your life, you can vote any which way you want to. Your votes will take you all kinds of places ? places sometimes you may not even want to be. Consider that it's your votes that got you there in the first place, and it's your votes that can take you somewhere else. Don't like where you are? Vote again. In the process, also consider seeing situations and choices in terms of "different" and in the light of whether or not it works for you, does it get you what you want, rather than in terms of "good" or "bad." It will likely allow you to be much kinder to yourself and others, and make new choices easier to make.

Sometimes it is necessary to get some outsider input. Just make certain that it's not someone who has a stake in your "needing to change." I got some news for you ? contrary to what others may say ? you never need to change one bit. You can choose (vote) to stay exactly as you are. Just make sure, though, that the person you are gets you the things you want and need. If that is not happening, you still don't need to change, but you may want to consider moving a few things around so you can have more of what you want, and be more of who you'd like to be.

Remember that choice comes from within, and is not dictated by an outside source. Outside sources will appear to limit how far you can go, what you can do, what is possible. They can attempt to persuade you that they have the ability to restrict the world in which you live, but choice allows for creativity which has a magical effect on any situation. There is always SOMETHING you can do. The question isn't so much "what?" as "are you willing?"

The world that appears around you is actually a creation of your outward expression that comes from that which is within you. Consider that your life, and what you experience, is not something that happens to you, but happens because of you.

Your life is not up to a situation you find yourself in.

It is not up to someone else.

It is up to you, and each and every vote counts.

?2005 Essa Alraune.

Essa has a varied, non-judgmental, and fun approach to the work she does as a StressBusterBuddy. She works primarily with individuals on a one-on-one basis, and is the Author and Publisher of a mindful meditation CD. To learn more about Essa, her CD, or to listen to her online recordings, visit or call 212.560.7582 (where you can also hear a 3-minute Relieve Stress Recording ? only local, toll, or long distance charges apply).

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