I don’t watch the news. Haven’t for many years. Local, national, international, cable, weekly news magazine shows, fictional, public access, internet, entertainment, political etc.. You name it, I don’t watch it.
You might think I then READ the news. You’d be wrong. I don’t read much of that either – except for the quick headlines on my browser on occasion and the weather update, I don’t read the news either. Believe it or not, although I actively avoid news, I still manage to know most of what is going on in the world. It seems to reach me no matter how much I try to have it not. Yes, we are THAT plugged in now. And if all else fails, if it is bad enough or good enough, it will ineviteably be the first thing someone mentions when I talk to them… “Can you believe…?”
There is nothing but bad on the news. Corruption, murder, abuse , theft, natural disasters, man made disasters, plain old malice of every kind. Maybe there is a “feel good” story thrown in at the end like a lolipop given out after the shot but lolipops don’t make the sore arm go away later. This is how I feel after watching the news. The ache stayed with me long after the news was over and it hurt. My soul. It crept into my being and got real comfortable, put its feet up and stayed awhile. It tainted my view of the world like wearing dark glasses that wouldn’t let the light through. The light, the good, was getting blocked by all the bad that was continually bombarding me. How I saw the world and how I felt about it was not serving me. It was bringing me down. It was too heavy. It was toxic. I was becoming a fearful, worried and anxious person. I knew there was good out there, I knew the world was more right than wrong, but the news didn’t reflect this. So I didn’t so much as “decide” to stop watching the news consciously one day as I did just naturally deviate away from it.
There is a certain point in your life where you have to take control of what stimulus, whether its negative or not, you want entering your consciousness just as there is a point where you have to decide which people and what situations inspire you or drain you. You need to decide wisely. And then you need to limit your exposure. We are all vulnerable to negativity. Bad things happen. Bad people exist. Bad circumstances develop. But how much of this do we need to allow into our lives, into our consciousness? I say, not much. There is a difference between knowing, educating yourself and being aware of what is going on in our world and fixating on it, feeding on it and getting caught up in it. How many hours of tv do we need to watch over the lastest disaster or controversary?
When I was a kid, and even today, I could not watch horror movies. I just plain old do not like to be scared. It doesn’t do it for me. Jaws – didn’t sleep for weeks. Even the scene in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang where that creepy guy captured the children – terrified of being kidnapped for months – maybe years. (That one stuck for a long time.) My point is, I knew that horror films and scary scenes in movies were something I couldn’t tolerate. They didn’t do me good and in fact, did me a lot of bad. So I stopped watching them. (I stopped going to haunted houses too!) I made the decision that I could actually not do something that wasn’t good for me. I could just stop.
There are so many things we do that don’t feed our souls and we have to start recognizing what they are and prohibit them to whatever extent possible. I am not saying live in a bubble or drop out of society and live in a cabin in the woods but I am saying there is much that you let yourself be exposed to that you don’t need to – it might not even be really negative – it just has to take, not add to you. It feels like its draining you. Maybe for you its office gossip, or any gossip, maybe its that same conversation about your sisters’ worthless ex, maybe its hollywood tabloid stories, maybe its that really rude dry cleaner you still go to because he is cheap, maybe its that facebook “friend” who never stops bragging about everything, maybe its perusing fashion magazines of photoshopped women or men, maybe its political conversations, maybe its that person who always makes you feel bad about yourself or maybe like me, its the news, horror movies, and watching reality tv.
You intuitively know what feels good to you, what makes you shine brighter and what diminishes you and makes you feel heavier. And yet, we still allow ourselves to be continually subjected to things, people and circumstances that we know don’t benefit us, that don’t add to our joy. And we act like we don’t have a choice in the matter when we do, we absolutely do. Tv’s and computers turn off, magazines don’t open themselves, facebook friends can be blocked, you can excuse yourself to the restroom during gossip sessions, you can find a new dry cleaner, you can go to a romatic comedy instead of Chainsaw Massacre 10.
Getting mindful about what we allow into our consciousness, our hearts, our souls – our lives – will allow you to move through it lighter, more peaceful, and more content. Not everything is meant to be absorbed by you. You can’t metabolize it all and flush it all out. A lot of it sticks. Like fat. We need to learn how to carefully manage what energy we allow into our sacred space. We need to take responsibility for it.
“The world is yours for the taking” to me means take what brings you peace and joy and leave behind what doesn’t. It is pretty simple actually and that is good news.