The news ritual
The news was a staple feature in our house growing up. Newspapers and the the television news were a daily routine. As a young adult myself I never bought newspapers but I was compelled through habit to catch the daily news. I never really thought about it, I just mindlessly switched it on to tune in.
Then in my early 30’s I was blessed to have my first child, and three years later my second. Two beautiful boys to cherish and protect. I stopped watching the news early on into my motherhood journey. I started to become even more acutely aware after becoming a mother, of all the horrible things going on in the world. More aware than before I had my children. People hurting people, people hurting animals, people using their power to separate not unite communities and countries. Fear, hate, prejudice was a constant theme on the news but love and kindness was never reported. I just could not understand why anyone could do these things and it seemed to be hitting me harder and harder.
Every time I heard a story on the news where people had got hurt, or animals were abused or where there were decisions made by politicians that did not make sense to me, my emotions rose like a volcano eruption. Anger, anxiety, sadness, confusion, frustration, disbelief were there, every time I watched the news. The stories that hit me the hardest were the stories involving children. I just could not detach my emotions from these stories and these stories affected me for days.
It was ultimately fear that caused me to stop watching the news. I remember hearing a high profile murder case on the news about a young girl, it was devastating, I felt helpless and extremely fearful of the world I had brought my children into. My heart went out to the parents but I couldn’t do anything directly to help them. It was around this time that I made a decision to stop watching the news. I was desperate for the world to be a kinder place but the news wasn’t a good use of my emotional energy. It was not good for my emotions to be at the constant mercy of the news stories and this was certainly not good for the people around me.
Not only was it fear that stopped me watching the news, it is also fear that feeds the news. The news wants us to feel fear, fear is supposed to make us feel compelled to agree with those in power, to be obedient citizens, to vote for our politicians not through love of their policies, but through fear of the alternative. Society needs us to be fearful, to be suspicious of others, to want separation, to be pro war in order to get peace. This focus on fear, fuelled the fear that was already inside me. I was very fixed in anxiety and I knew that if I kept watching news stories of devastating events happening not only all over the world, but sometimes on my doorstep, that I would never be able give my children the freedom they needed to find their own way in the world. This is what drove me to stop watching.
I felt an immediate relief after I tuned out of the news. My emotions were more regulated as I was no longer on the emotional rollercoaster of the news stories. I had freed up some time and as it turns out, it had not negatively impacted my life at all. I don’t miss out leading a fulfilling and functional life as part of society. Not watching the news has meant that it is not something that our children see us do either, my husband is a news abstainer also. It is not something we talk about in our house and it is definitely a really positive step for our children’s future.
I don’t feel at all that I have any disadvantage in not watching the news. I am on social media and therefore via connections I find out when there is high profile news and then I can make a choice to disengage from the piece of information or if I feel I can do some good I take my own action from an energetic perspective. What I mean by this is that during elections I meditate on what I want for the world not on what I don’t want. With the Australian bushfires I joined in the world wide collective meditation to send rain. In these ways, in my own way, I know I make a difference.
When I send positive energy out to the world I know in my heart that it does some good. Ultimately at the time of making the decision to stop engaging in the news, it was a fear based decision. Now, with my new, spiritual perspective on life, it is a love based perspective that drives my decision. I now love myself enough to prioritise how I feel over the societal pressures to engage in the news. I use love energy to send to situations and people in need where I feel I can do my bit to help. As a family we give what we can to charities. I like listening to inspirational and happy stories about people who are changing the world one person at a time.
It is not selfish to abstain from the news. It does not mean that you don’t care what happens in the world, quite the opposite. It does not make you withdraw from society or your community. It does not make you less likely to help others or to be less likely to want more love in the world.
It is possible to not engage in the news and still give back to the world and do some good. It is possible to lead a perfectly functional life without knowing every minute detail of stories that presents itself in the news. It is possible to vote for Political parties without watching news stories on the election campaign. I would love to see more positivity in the world, and by me not watching the news, I feel I am able to create a life with more balance and positivity. If my energy is more balanced, that then has a positive impact on my world.