Do you know how they say that doing a periodic fast is healthy for your body? I have not ever tried one because if I consider not eating for a whole day or more, I start to cry like a 4-year old who’s been abandoned! However, the idea is a very good one, and it’s a good idea not only when it comes to food and eating. I have been on a News Fast for a whole week and already feel healthier and happier.
It does not matter on which side of the political aisle you sit, left, right, center, ceiling, floor, chandelier — the news can be extremely disturbing, upsetting, angering, depressing — and, for the most part, we feel helpless to make any changes. Yes, we vote. We write to our representatives. Maybe we belong to advocacy groups or other organizations — all excellent! But, every day, we are battered with more horrors from around the world as well as domestically. You may be a wonderfully balanced person who can hold all of it and still remain a happy, healthy and loving person — I commend you!
I have a bit more of a challenge and have found myself in a pattern that goes like this:
Wake up, a bit grumbly, huh, what’s going on today?
Read the news over coffee — worse than I thought!
Go to the gym, listen to a politics podcast for “fun”. Mood is not improved.
Try to meditate — no way. Try to write poetry. Only anger comes out.
Is this a good way to live? I was losing my pleasure in life, feeling helpless and angry and guess what? All those negative emotions start to leak out all over everyone! I found myself less compassionate, less kind, less understanding and tolerant. Hmmm, all the things I criticized, I was doing. I could not find my center, my internal “home”. A change was definitely in order, so I decided to read only those things that were uplifting and inspiring, biographies of people I admired, for instance, and watch programs on TV that were enjoyable, educational or funny. I stopped reading or listening to the news.
Frankly, the news is like a soap opera — you can stay away for many episodes and not much will have changed. If the world needs anything from me, it is not my anger and hatred — I think there is plenty of that to go around already. I had to ask myself: What is my job in all of this? My conclusion: To try and be the best version of myself I can be. To stop mirroring all of the negative energy in the world and start mirroring the qualities that I truly admire and value: kindness, compassion, listening, generosity, love, humor.
There is never a “one-size-fits-all” answer for how to move in the world and be a productive contributing person. Each one of us must find our own way and I recognize that we are living through very challenging times. So, how do we be part of the solution and not part of the problem? Hatred and rage feed hatred and rage and beget more hatred and rage. For me, I am still trying to figure it out, but for now, my commitment is to live my life in a way that gives me joy and satisfaction so that my “tank” is not empty or full of anger. To keep my tank as full of hope, love, humor and kindness as I can so that I can give freely of those to others. That job will certainly keep me busy for the rest of my life!
I am sure I will catch up on the news soon, read a few articles, but I will do it with caution, making sure I seek out the inspiring stories, the stories of people the world over who are doing amazing work and lifting up the world. That’s where I want to be. How about you?