I’m often clueless about world and local news. It some circles this could make me seem like an idiot. Uneducated. Clueless. Or maybe that I just don’t care. Heartless about the world’s problems.
Not true, and some of the reason why I endeavor not to judge others for how they ‘seem’ anyway.
Quite simply. I don’t think it serves me, or the world, to focus on negative news. And let’s face it, most news is just that – bad news.
Where attention goes, energy flows.
But here’s the question, can you actually affect world peace by ignoring the bad things that are happening in the world?
Some would say it’s wise to at least be informed. We should know when there is a serial killer 6 states over, or a shooting in another country or worse. We should know if someone was mugged or if we are going to war. (of course, if we are going to war, this news would hardly escape you)
Personally, this is a decision I made about 3 years ago when I had the stark realization that we are creating in every moment. In every moment, we are going forth either in love or in fear.
These news stories generate fear.
How I’ve reconciled it is this: Most tragic news story seep into our lives, regardless. I’ll hear about it from a facebook feed (though I rarely click through), or my husband will share something he feels is important.
But the days of local news and world news filling the air waves of my home and my mind are gone.
I heard a quote that was from Mother Theresa. Something along the lines of – she’d never go to an anti-war rally. But if you have a peace rally, she’ll be there.
Wow. That really says it all.
She totally got it. Focusing on what you don’t want, doesn’t help to solve it.
You have to shift your energy towards love, towards solutions.
In our world, it could be very easy to get sucked down into the bad news drain. It disheartens us. It frightens us. It makes us fearful. It brings out a lack of understanding, confusion and despair.
Yet, knowing rationally that there are problems in our world to be solved, it much more preferable to spend energy on solutions.
One thing we decided to do as a family is contribute to local food pantries and homeless shelters. I feel that contributing in this way is helping to fulfill a need, to uplift, to support, to nourish someone. The panhandler on the street? I choose to give money, or to give a blessing. Focusing on blame, judgments and problems is not helpful to me or to that person.
It’s funny to me, in a not so funny way really, how often we are tempted into telling the bad news versions of what is possible. We see something bad happening in front of even, and we struggle to have the vision of something better.
I’m remembering a documentary I saw once about the environmental impact of our trash. As you might imagine, we (as a country) generate a lot of garbage, despite recycling measures.
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What was most fascinating to me about this documentary is that 90% of it was spent on examining all of the problems. It was devastating to watch, and you begin to feel hopeless… That change is so far away and would need to be so dramatic, that it’s basically out of reach. That we are ruining our world, our lands, our oceans. It caused a great deal of despair.
Was it true? Yes. Everything they shared was true and factual. However, the fact that it is true should not be the only qualification for sharing.
What was also true (and inspiring and uplifting) was what they spent the last 10 minutes on. Solutions.
These solutions were remarkable. Astonishing. They were from innovative people, techniques and companies who were working in ways you couldn’t imagine to turn garbage into something usable. That’s right – usable.
Not just to reduce garbage but turning it into an asset.
You see, if I watch traditional news or read traditional newspapers, it is easy to see problems. We need more solution-oriented stories. Most people in this country, if asked, would agree that the way we handle our trash is a problem. Landfills filling up, plastics that don’t break down, garbage in the ocean. But if you asked most people in this country, most would have no idea about the ground-breaking solutions that are actually taking place here and now.
In one example, a company is taking trash from parts of New York State and they are using an innovative technique that reduces stacks of garbage into these tiny pieces you can hold in your hand. Not only are they taking mass and reducing it down to these tiny parts. The tiny parts are able to be burned for fuel – clean fuel.
This is positively amazing.
This alone could have taken up an hour’s worth of the documentary. Truly incredible.
And there was another brief story of another company’s solution.
But 90% of the documentary was problem-based. The solutions were almost an after-thought in the production. They were shown as expensive solutions that were not truly viable. Yet the solutions are there. They are in existence. And with the creativity on this earth, there is surely more to come. Great inventions, new ways of using science to better this earth.
Why am I sharing this? Because watching bad news feels bad for my psyche. Feels bad for my mind, my heart and my soul. I don’t want my kid to hear it. I don’t want those thoughts rattling around in his mind, or mine.
I believe our mind is a precious, precious thing. And we should endeavor to protect it. I want to be vigilant about what goes in it.
We care about what we put into our bodies. Caring about what we put into our minds should be equally as valuable, if not more.
So, why do we watch the news?
Habit. Auto-pilot. Passed down in the family. The need to be informed.
Denzel Washington said that if you don’t read the paper, you’re uninformed. If you read the paper, you’re misinformed.
Politics. It’ll suck you down a rabbit hole of strongly held ego-based beliefs and possibly conflict.
But we also watch sometimes out of morbid curiosity. There is a draw we have to devastating tragedies that is hard to put our finger on. Just as with the World Trade Center I was glued to my television for weeks. I couldn’t stop watching it…. over and over again. Why do we do this? I honestly don’t know.
Maybe, just maybe, that’s not healthy for us. And as much as I love Anderson Cooper, I just feel better without that constant input in my life.
I’d rather have faith in solutions and be part of solutions. I’d rather have faith that leadership around the world will gravitate towards what is good and right. I’d rather be part of helping people to wake up to conscious choices about the power we have to create our lives. I’d rather have faith that brilliant people in all parts of the world are busily working on inventive solutions. I’d rather prayer a pray of thanks for the good I have in my life and extend that to my neighborhood, my town, my state, my country and the world.
I am of more help to others when I first take care of myself. This is one way I do that.
Filling my mind with images of beauty is a strong component to a joyful and fulfilling life. Nature. Travel. People I meet. The giggling of my son. Divine chocolate. These are the things that the stir me. These are the things I love. It’s where I want my focus.
How do we stop watching the news?
Be conscious of it. Be mindful. Be present. Make a new choice.
There are countless other things to do or to watch. Invest a little time and self-reflection figuring out what that could be.
Always in gratitude, my intention is to be respectful of your individual path. I would love to read your comments.
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