Choosing hope

I pay little attention to the news. It’s not that I want to put my head in the sand and ignore world events. There are a couple of daily emails or weekly news magazines that I’ll scan so I’ve got an idea of what’s happening. But I’ve come to believe that our obsession with 24-hour media is another way of keeping the masses in line. Or rather, of keeping us terrified, powerless, angry and at each other’s throats, pointing our fingers and yelling, It’s all your fault, so we don’t have to take responsibility for our lives.

I notice in my own body the immediate effects of sensationalized reporting, scare tactics and hateful rhetoric. I feel my heart close, my fear rise, my shoulders hunch as if to protect myself from the latest terror. Earthquake, tsunami, uranium mining, wolf killings, policy changes, short-sighted politics – the bad news takes a toll on our psyches. I educate myself on topics that matter to me. I sign petitions and get involved because I think it is not only a right, but a duty to shape the world our children and grandchildren will inherit.

At the same time, I limit my exposure because it makes me feel better. Because when I surround myself with beauty – my family, nature, inspirational music, books, and friends – I am better able to hold my vision of the world and to contribute to that. When I allow my heart to be touched by all that is good in the world, I am more willing to be a force for good myself. By being kind, compassionate, hopeful, a loving parent, partner and friend, I am helping to shape that world of the future. I believe there is great power in that.

What are you choosing to be a part of your experience that you no longer want? What’s one tiny step you can take to change that? Please share here in the comments, email me, or simply write it down on a sticky note. Then take a big, deep, compassionate breath and do it.

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5 Responses to Choosing hope

  1. Lindsey says:

    This is a powerful reminder that we CAN choose, be selective about what we let into our hearts and minds, and what we don’t (to some extent, of course). Thank you. xox

  2. jeannie Page says:

    This is very interesting for me. I know many people who feel this same way. It is a very common reaction to the news. But I think it depends on one’s personality and their tendency to absorb vs. being an objective observer. I am the opposite of you. I love the news, in fact I consider myself a total news junkie. I’ve been this way since I was mature enough to understand current events. I am a history and foreign affairs buff, and started a master’s in international affairs at one point, so for me the news is exciting, enthralling. I want to know what’s going on in the world, how countries and governments are interacting, and I could dialogue about it for hours and hours. And it’s not that I am happy to see world tragedies or natural disasters, but I find news fascinating and I love to observe it and the human behavior that goes along with it. I can view tragic news and view it objectively and rationally without absorbing it or having it impact me negatively energetically. In fact it’s the opposite. Because I’m so enthralled by current events and foreign affairs it actually raises my vibration to be part of the discussion. My mother is the same way. We could both watch the news for hours and I know a whole army of people in the foreign affairs industry who feel the same way. So just a different perspective on why the news isn’t bad for everyone. I love it!

    • Alana says:

      Jeannie – thanks for adding your voice to this. Yay for diversity and contrast (to use Abraham-speak)! A couple of thoughts came to mind as I read your comment. When I moved to the US from Canada I remember being shocked at how little international news made it into the nightly broadcasts. I believe understanding how others think/feel/live is of great importance and having an understanding of what’s happening in the world at large can only benefit us at home. One of the news magazines I choose to read is The Week, particularly because it places an emphasis on international information and how other nations see the US. I also love Ode Magazine – intelligent news for optimists.

      I am also going to hazard a guess and say that judging from the lack of debate, the raging passions and the vast divide in our country currently, those of you who can detach your emotions from the news and discuss it passionately AND intelligently are in the minority right now. Perhaps that will change as humanity evolves. I certainly hope so.

      I also didn’t mean to imply that news in and of itself is bad, just that most of it doesn’t work for me. I also turned off the TV when my daughter was 4 months old and aside from the occasional movie or peek at So You Think You Can Dance, I don’t watch it. I stopped reading books that were misogynistic or portrayed extreme violence toward women and children. All of these things were negatively impacting my life (even though I LOVED murder mysteries and crime shows). I think many of us allow energetic influences into our lives that don’t serve us on some level. If we listen to our deep, knowing voice, that information is there and I want people to start listening – or listen more deeply – and take action. I believe the world depends on it.

      Thank you again for sharing your point of view and experience – I value it highly.

  3. Jojo says:

    hi alana, i would have to say that i pretty much follow the same route. i just cannot watch the news. i do certainly seek it out or pay more attention to my subscription lists/petition lists when i feel my energy is able to take it in and when i know i am in a place of strength to contibute or help make a difference. but for the majority of the time i fuel my life by connection to the things around me that inspire me – nesting in my home, connecting with creative souls, nurturing my relationship with my partner, taking care of my health. there was a time when i felt guilty for not staying on top of things, but i simply cannot help to nurture the world unless i stay present to being compassionate to myself and to those around me. that is what is true for me.

  4. Christa says:

    As often happens, you inspired me to write a post today. Not about the news thing – you know I am in your camp even though I live with a news fan. It is about being triggered by images in the media. The truth is, I think, that we can filter out as much as we want to, but from time to time, something gets us. In my experience, there is usually a reason for it, painful as it may be to uncover.

    What I am changing, or trying to change, is my reaction. I think it is high time to stop beating myself up and judging myself as weak for not being able to view violence. If that’s the worst thing I do, then things are pretty good!

    Thanks, as always, Alana. You make me think, and dream, and even write from time to time.

    XOXO

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