Friday, December 13, 2019

News or Blues?

I quit watching the news a while back. I got too wound up about issues I couldn't influence and found it was impacting my peace of mind. 

WARNING: Old Person Rant
Before the 24 hour news cycle we could see the news weather and sports at 6 pm and 11 pm. The rest of the day was ours. Today, they play news constantly even in hospital waiting rooms. How stressful! 
(Rant finished)

So I stayed away from it for several months. I spent my attention on other things I found more nourishing, like walking, meditation, listening to talks and music that inspire me and video that is fun, joyful or relaxing. 

It wasn't like a made a Big Decision or anything. I had already started leaving behind media that was not beneficial to me: Facebook and its kind. I hadn't quit Twitter but my first step there was to cultivate an account that nourished me. No more politics. Block certain words or names. Use platforms and apps that let me control what I can see. I kept paring things down until I was left with stuff that was gentle, humorous and kind. I look at photos and art that inspire me, follow museums, science, astronauts, Buddhist teachers, and that sort of thing. It would have been harder to give up the news if I had been a news junkie, but it felt more like an experiment than a plan. 

And it's done me the world of good.

A couple of weeks ago, I dipped back in. Just my big toe. I chose a good quality (as in not full of lies) newspaper every day and watched what happened with my mental state. 

The result: Nope. Not yet. 

Even with good quality news, I found myself being drawn back in. Quickly. Almost immediately. Tempted to look during idle moments through the day. It may not be addictive, but it can be pretty compelling. 

But then, so can a good movie. I watched The Blues Brothers again the other day for the first time in years and years. What a pleasure. I'd forgotten what a joyful movie it was.