As someone who grew up on a farm, I believe that animals are our partners, and should be treated with respect and care. I believe in adopting from shelters over buying from pet stores, as animals deserve second chances, too. I believe we need to protect the environment and wildlife--once it's gone, we'll never get it back. I feel civil rights, human rights and women's issues are important as everyone is a partner in the stewardship of our planet, and should be treated equally and fairly. I believe everyone should be entitled to a quality education. It is only by constantly learning and growing that we become better people, not only for ourselves, but for each other. Finally, I believe that compassion and humor should be a part of every life, and by learning to laugh with each other, and not at each other, we open our hearts to embrace love more deeply.
One of my favorite stories:
Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all -- young and old, rich and poor, good and evil -- the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.
Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current was what each had learned from birth.
But one creature said at last, "I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom."
The other creatures laughed and said, "Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed against the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!"
But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.
Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.
And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, "See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the messiah, come to save us all!"
And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure."
But they cried the more, "Savior!" all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a savior.
-- from "Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah," by Richard Bach