Hard times.

I don't think many people in the US would argue that times aren't hard. All of us feel it in different ways, but it is clear: we are not in a upwards swing yet.

Politically, this downturn is causing all sorts of ruckus (to put it mildly). Everyone has a different view of what caused the recession and what can fix it.

But individually, I think the people who are doing the best are the people who are reaching out for authenticity.

* Artists who are still creating, despite the fact that fewer people want to pay for art. Artists who are making an impact, even if it is in a small corner of the world (and the artists who have a bigger impact who are using their authentic messages to help us all).

* Minimalists who are streamlining and reducing their impact and influencing others to begin reducing their own impact (even if we can't all be minimalists).

* Environmentalists who keep stepping up to keep us aware of the great danger this planet is in.

* Everyday mamas and papas who are raising kids with awareness and love.

* People who are making the choice not to become parents, despite the pressure society put on us to procreate (but who are not dissing those of us who do choose to have kids). An authentic life means making your own choices and letting other people make their own.

* Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people who are proudly living their lives, making it safe (please, please, oh please) for a new generation of kids to love who they love, without fear.

* People with mental and physical challenges living happy, capable lives to the best of their abilities (and the support people who help make this possible).

* Religious people who are walking their path of righteousness, while not vilifying those who believe differently.

* Atheists who follow humanist principles and show us that we don't need religion to keep us moral and good. 

We can't all agree on what direction this planet, much less this country should go in. But, if we are truly following our own path, living authentically, perhaps we can agree that we all deserve lives that are as full and rich as possible.

Perhaps we can agree not to turn our backs on those who have less than us.

And then maybe, just maybe, we can start reaching across these so called divides and look for what unifies us, instead of letting the rifts widen while we look the other way.