If you missed part one of this series, you might want to read that first. Or, just be a rebel and read this one right now! We’re talking about how to stay up to date with the news of the world without totally falling apart in the process.
Don’t jump ten steps forward.
When you hear bad news, your brain might automatically start future-tripping into all of the possible ways this could play out from here. And when this happens, you tend to imagine only the terrible things that might be coming. It’s a Nine of Swords type energy.
Look, I’m not going to tell you to “just be optimistic.” There are scary things happening right now, and being concerned for the future is natural, and to an extent, healthy. Being aware of what is not going well and considering the real implications that could have on the future is necessary.
What’s not necessary is always assuming the worst outcome. What’s not necessary is jumping ten steps ahead and living as though your imagined worst case scenario is a given. When you let yourself obsess about what might happen, you can easily become paralyzed by despair. It renders you unable to live in the present moment, and it renders you unable to do anything that might be in service of a more positive future.
Pay attention to good news too.
It is a psychological fact that our brains focus more on bad news than good news. This is a survival tactic – you need to be aware of threats in order to survive. I have found that I sometimes have to remind my human brain that, hey, there IS some good stuff happening in the news lately. You might not see it splashed across as many headlines because it’s not where attention naturally gravitates, but there is a lot of good stuff happening every damn day.
Do you need a little good news right now? Here are a few pieces of good news (taken from this video. Please absorb them and remember to seek out evidence that the world is a good place, and is in many ways becoming a better place.
- Charitable donations are at an all-time high.
- Several terrible diseases, including polio, now pose almost no threat to humanity.
- The percentage of people living in absolute poverty is the lowest it has ever been.
- The percentage of kids in school is the highest it has ever been.
- Literacy rates are the highest they’ve ever been.
There are lots of reasons to feel optimistic, grateful and encouraged, REMEMBER THOSE TOO. Pay attention to good news. Remind your human brain to do this often. On a somewhat related note…
Take a broader perspective.
It is easy to get so swept up into the constant barrage of daily news. But to be a whole, functioning and spiritually sound human being, it is necessary to give yourself permission to step back and adopt a broader perspective. There are several different levels you can take this to:
A broader perspective on your own life. What myths resonate with you? How and why do you belong to this time and place? What purpose do you find in your life, what lessons does this time in history hold for you?
A broader perspective on human history. Read books that were written ten, fifty, a hundred years ago. Read ancient philosophy. Visit natural history museums. Commune with your ancestors in whatever way speaks to you.
A broader perspective on the universe. Look up at the moon as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Look through a telescope if it is available to you. Consider the vast scope of planet earth, our solar system, the milky way, the unfathomable expanses of the cosmos. Sit with your astrological chart and the cosmological perspectives it offers on your current incarnation.
Give yourself time to process and integrate the news.
Some of the stuff I mentioned above ties in here as well. It seems like these days we’re constantly being pelted with new pieces of news. The news moves so damn fast that it already sometimes seems hard to remember what we were freaking over a week ago or a month ago.
You need time to sit with what is happening and process its implications. If a piece of news hits you with a particular gravity, allow yourself to step away from the TV or computer and process it. You might do this by journaling. You might do this by talking to a friend – in person, preferably – we all need more face-to-face contact these days. You might do this by crying, or meditating, or going for a walk. Whatever works for you, give yourself the space to process.
I’m like a broken record with this, but it’s worth saying again. It is hard for you to be conscientious, effective, centered and productive if you’re frazzled and falling apart. Taking care of yourself in troubled times is NOT SELFISH, it is necessary. We need you to be well so that you can keep being a force for goodness, equality, and justice in our world.
Take action in your own way, when you are ready.
In the past few years, I’ve noticed an increase in people on social media trying to dictate to the rest of us precisely what actions we should be taking. Sometimes this is good – I appreciate that well-informed people can push us in the right direction and ask us to contribute. But I am weary of implying that there is only one right way to respond, only one proper action to take in any given situation.
Feel into your own heart and soul. Ask yourself what actions feel in alignment for you. What actions can YOU take that come from your heart? What actions can you take because you feel compelled to do so (not just because someone on Twitter said you should)? A few ideas of actions you might choose to engage in. But do not feel that you HAVE to do any of these things. Trust that you are a good person, and do what is in alignment for you.
- Calling, emailing or faxing your representatives (if you live in the US).
- Volunteering your time to causes that matter to you.
- Donating your money to causes that matter to you.
- Sending love and light.
- Amplifying marginalized voices.
- Seeking further education on issues that matter to you.
- Making changes to your lifestyle that reflect changes you want to see in the world.
Keep creating our new story.
One of my core philosophies is that human beings are natural storytellers. So many aspects of our existence that we take to be facts are actually just aspects of either our personal or collective stories. Much of the upheaval we are seeing in the world today is the crumbling of our old collective stories. Those stories are fading away at a rapid pace, and perhaps we are here at this time to help create the as yet unknown new story.
The crumbling old story is one of human dominance over nature. It is the story of patriarchy. It is the story of racism. It is the story of corporate greed. Even as this story is dying around us, it is still currently trying to claw for survival, and it does so in more and more atrocious ways. But it is glaringly obvious that this story is no longer working, and even if it tries to cling on a little longer, it is simply not sustainable.
We do not yet know exactly what the new story will look like. But perhaps all of us are here at this time for a reason. Perhaps we are here to be creators of the new story. I already see evidence of the new story emerging around us. And even though the details are taking shape, the new story is one of heightened awareness. Greater consciousness. Justice. Equality. Care. Tenderness. Honoring of each other and honoring of our shared planet.
We need YOU here to keep creating this new story. So stay informed, yes. But also: do what you need to do to stay in your magic.