No News is Good News

I needs me a News Fast!For the month of March, we have taken the NO NEWS Vow. We will not read newspapers, not watch or listen to news, not click on media news sites on the Internets. We will not even watch much TV, or keep up with the political machinations of the Obamachine (trademark), “the Stimulus”, or the pundits and comedians.
 
WHY? This is a part of our 2009 New Years Resolution. Which began as a consensus to do something, but not necessarily for the whole year. So over the holidays, we decided to give up Alcohol for a month. No wine, no scotch. No Jaegermeister or peppermint schnapps. Nada. Enough of a challenge that we would be reminded of it during January, but not an impossible challenge, as in forever.

Then, for the month of February, we gave up Coffee.

And why give up anything, you might ask? Because we feel like we have to give up something, some times. The old world we lived in (circa 2008) is truly no longer sustainable, in so many ways. (And I’m not just talking about Tax Cuts.) Since we personally are not marching on Washington or reducing our gas consumption much, we are looking “within” to find ways to flex our adaptability, at least for ourselves. 

So one of the lessons we have learned with our January and February experiments is that we can do it. No big surprise, but there’s a welcome sense that we are more conscious, more aware, and more able to choose our actions. That’s at least a little empowering.

News Fasting is healthy! Dr. Andrew Weil, who published “Eight Weeks to Optimum Health” actually recommends periodic fasting from the addictive habit of daily news. Not a bad idea. Certainly a good exercise, even if just for a week, or a day. (Your actual mileage may vary.) And why not try it yourself?

What are the rules?

  1. No reading newspapers, or magazines. (Not a biggy for us anyway, since that series of tubes has come of age.)
  2. No Fox TV. (OK, we gave this up long before the 2008 election cycle, happily. The whole family of stations is owned, and not in a good way.)
  3. No news shows, talking heads, or comedians (painfully, not even Colbert!). None.
  4. No radio. Which of course includes the comedian Rush Limbawful. Sirius/XM Music is OK.
  5. No Internet news sites, magazine sites, current events sites, etc. (No DrudgeReport, DailyKos, or news.google.com.)
  6. No reading Breaking News Alerts (etc.) in your Inbox.
  7. When News enters our awareness, we can simply not pay attention to it, by focusing elsewhere.

Conversation: When people talk to us, we listen. And people do talk about news and media-based ideas and events. We will be paying attention (probably close attention!) to all sorts of talk about current events, news, politics, and opinions. The keys (I speculate) are to Listen, Observe, and Experience the message. Contributing is fine, but only Original thoughts and observations, not regurgitations of the “facts”, or the statements of others. Including the “experts”.

No doubt we will adapt these rules as necessary. In subsequent posts, we’ll share how it goes, or how it went. And what is on deck for April!

Posted in Book review, Dreaming & Healing, Environment, Healthy, Positive psychology, Uncategorized
4 comments on “No News is Good News
  1. molly says:

    Not watching/listening/seeing any news is easy when you live in the bubble that is a college campus.

  2. max says:

    BUBBLICIOUS

    Living in a bubble sometimes has its benefits. Personal knowledge trumps second-hand and newswire information every day.

    Now, over half-way through the month of No-News, here’s an update with observations:

    1. There is no feeling of separation from reality as we know it.

    2. There seems to be more time available for other things.

    3. It is very rare to get into a conversation where you feel unprepared or unaware of the situation.

    4. It is very difficult to not receive “news”. Occasionally I find myself noticing a headline, listening to a broadcast, taking in some kind of web news article or other. Often a conscious effort is needed. But it is not so difficult.

    5. Listening to the comments/discussions of others, it is very interesting to pay attention to the way people orient themselves to the news; For, Against, upset, worried, glad, etc. A news fast re-enables your perspectives on the news.

    6. It is also interesting to reflect that the news topics relate to us less directly than our conversations do. While news often has a cautionary undertone that suggests we live in menacing times, we all choose whether to accept the implicit story sense or develop our own.

    7. People seem to react positively to the fresh notion of not paying attention to the News for a short time. The sense is that we can all live with a little less bad news, and a lot less noise.

    8. Is most news in fact “bad news”? Are the sound bites and news articles more negative than positive? What drives newsworthiness? Are we paying attention?

  3. molly says:

    While I do look at the newspaper about every other day, I don’t actually look at most of the articles. There is so much sadness, so much violence in the news today, and I don’t feel like I need more of that in my life. I don’t want to be ignorant of important happenings, but I can seriously do without another account of a suicide bombing, of more innocent civilians perishing at the hands of mal-intent. And if it’s really big – chances are that someone will tell me about it.

    I read the news mostly for stories of hope, love, and the occasional humor of scientists “discovering” something most people could have easily told them. Those scientists…it doesn’t exist if they cannot prove it…

  4. Chameleon says:

    One of the inherent characteristics of considering ourselves to be, “Body, Mind and Soul” [putting “Body” first] is the need for comparisons. If we extend and expand this thought to encompass more and more possibilities, we realize one basic evaluative duality to be at work, the “Good Vs Bad”. It might be said that there are shades and degrees, and judgments are not usually that black and white. Answering this statement in an analogous venue, eg.: Guilt Vs Innocence, one act/person may be more guilty doesn’t make everyone else making the judgment innocent, just less guilty. The aphorism, “To the pure, everything is pure” fits in here nicely to illustrate what I mean.
    All of our judgments reflect our thinking and the rules and conclusions about what what we see/have seen and feel/have felt about what’s around us and going on around us, are all are based in our view and judgment of ourselves. We are capable of, and occasionally have bouts of anger, but They go to war. We want never to be around a completely aggravating person who incites us to riot, They murder. etc. Intention to defend ourselves always exists and how it’s expressed is always our choice, no matter how habituated the relative response has become. What we see and how we judge it is a reflection of self judgement.
    Try a month of reading the newspapers as if the articles were written as metaphors for your recent emotions and thoughts. It’s a very enlightening experience. The biblical adage, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged..” [Luke 6:37, Matthew 7:1, et al.] if followed completely would leave you in a state of mental purity. Meditation brings you momentarily closer to such a state, and how much of that condition you can actualize while dealing with the ‘world’ will be the degree to which you can change your life to a peaceful/happy productive one.
    We have it backwards, we aren’t “Body, Mind and Soul”, we’re Soul metaphorizing a body around us and calling the response to our own metaphor, ‘mind’.

    So there on your foot.

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