Happy New Moon dear friends,
About a week ago, I was chatting (on Messenger) with some friends who were sharing some Facebook posts that were claiming some wild facts that were very seductive. I could feel the provocation intended, the desire to know if those facts were true, the yearning that they were pointing to a conclusion that I would dearly love. In other words, I felt myself get sucked in. I spent a couple of hours that day talking about it all, and my attention was totally rivetted.
Being that it’s the October before the November election in the U.S., there were many posts claiming all sorts of October surprises. I’m not a big FB person at all, but I couldn’t avoid it. The newspaper that I do read had its own pile of seductive “maybe” stories (maybe true, maybe not. . . ) Recognizing propaganda whether intended or not, I decided then and there that I did not want my attention hijacked with all the different attempts to manipulate my psyche. I’m now on day 6 of a 101 day media fast and, instead, devotion to my inner depths. I allow myself to look at the headlines on the front page of the newspaper, and that’s it. Instead, I am focussing on depth and practices that will help me towards wisdom (hopefully). There really are only a certain number of hours in any day. This will take me into mid January. And by then I hope I will have discerned exactly how much of the chaos and frenzy I want to allow in.
I used to think it was my moral duty to be as well informed as I could reasonably be, so as to make responsible decisions about not only voting, but choosing which issues I would expend my energy and resources on. I haven’t shifted on that, I’ve just given up the idea that FB and most media available to people will tell me the truth. Oh, some may sincerely try to, and some media is definitely more accurate than other ones, but I’ve come to believe that the only truth I can be assured of in a news item is that somebody, somewhere, wants me to think that something happened somewhere, at sometime. And that the more frenzied the reporting, the more I wonder what’s going on that the frenzy is distracting me from.
I’m learning more and more to focus on what is within my reach. Who are the people and the issues around me that I might actually be able to help, to influence in good ways? I try to pay attention to the truths I see right around me, and leverage my energy into real help and action rather than anxiety and argument about issues I cannot personally influence whatsoever —- such as an election in another country. There are so many what-if’s; I’ll wait until the dozens of what if’s manifest into something I can personally do something about. I already have a handful of issues I deeply care about, and keep myself informed about them through actual people and organizations I know, and contribute when I can.
I believe deeply in freedom of thought, and we can’t have that freedom if the noises of (dare I say?) brainwashing are screaming all around us. I’m walking away from it, as much as I can. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll find out who won the election even if I never read a newspaper again. (I swore off of TV news long ago, refusing to participate in “if it bleeds, it leads”. Seeing the effects of war, neglect, and cruelty assaulted my nervous system, and I want to remain able to act and speak, not silenced by vicarious traumatization and the craziness of a video of terrified children followed by a commercial for dancing batteries or ring around the collar laundry soap.)
We all need to assess how much “news” (gossip?) we need in our lives. At least consider whether limiting your intake to perhaps one report a day might be enough. Consider exchanging doomscrolling for a little silence —- and find out what you really believe, what kind of world you’re ready to work for.
The energy of the New Moon helps us to develop new habits. Just saying. . .
With much love and many blessings,