What do the following things have in common: Whitey Bulger and his crew of murderous thugs, new tick-borne diseases, and unexpected tornados in Eastern Massachusetts?
Perhaps its the message to stay on High Alert.
Perhaps its the message that the world is a dangerous place.
And if you’re not careful, you’re next.
The type of toxic stimulation that is the first thing we often take in on many days, and throughout the day. Most days we don’t even notice how much we take in.
I’m guessing that if you’re receiving this email, you’re probably a person who protects your body from harmful exposure. Apply sunscreen, take a multivitamin, buckle up, moisturize. Careful about what you eat and drink too, I bet. Yet, when it comes to our minds?
In our effort to stay informed of current events, we often and repeatedly dump stressful crap into our minds. It’s easy to see how we get seduced by news coverage, sensationalized violence, the breeding habits of white sharks on the cape, fear-inspired discussions on FB. I wouldn’t be keeping it real if I didn’t admit I can get somewhat obsessed over certain news stories. Aaron Hernandez’s recent behaviors are at once repulsive and oddly riveting. It’s a hook, its everywhere, and it can be difficult to resist the impulse to hear more details.
Better to ingest French fries, covered in melted cheese, smoke a pack of Marlboro reds while you’re slamming double shots of Jack Daniels than to ingest much of the news today.
Am I suggesting hide your head in the sand? No way. Definitely stay aware. Safeguard what and when you need to. But notice the repetitiveness of the images—if it’s a steady and somewhat disturbing stream—then take a pause, and maybe even a pass. Why should we stress ourselves out with the idea of some unnerving and unlikely thing that has little to do with our own lives?
I offer up this challenge. Be mindful of what you take in during the day, and not just food. Wake up to your passion and your purpose in this life. Skim or just skip the stories that make you freak out. The news outlets want to sell their product. But, we only get this day once. Squander it on the fear-stuff, and you’ll spend your summer sweltering on the beach to avoid a run-in with a white shark who probably swam all the way to Mexico already.
Or mindfully spend your summer days embracing the people and ideas the lift you up, that make soul-sense, that make you feel alive. Now that would truly be a newsworthy story.