I stopped writing my blog a year ago. I told myself that I wanted to concentrate on finishing my second book. That was true. The book is coming along, by the way. Slowly, but it’s coming along. The working title is The Messenger II: The Well.
But that wasn’t the only reason I stopped writing. Something happened in my country in a town called Charlottesville that shocked me. It conjured up a vision of my ancestors, sad and disappointed, and I rushed to their defense. As if they needed me to defend them. No, they are safe. They are fine. But I was finished with my blog.
I know now that that was right. I needed to take a break. Regroup. Back away from the very thing that held me and my country in its grip: The Fight. The toxic, righteous fight. I withdrew, feeling helpless to do anything about anything.
Until this past Sunday. I was sitting in a spiritual center in Sedona, beautiful and festive with Christmas decorations, a fireplace crackling against the far wall, listening intently to the voice of an inspiring spiritual teacher, when a voice within, as clear as day, told me to reconnect.
We are in somewhat of a dark night right now. All around the planet. And everything around us seems to be conspiring to make it darker, especially the news. It affects us in ways we can’t even imagine. It is selling sadness, worry, fear, and anger with relentless regularity. We’re drowning in conflict and rage. It’s enough to make you lose hope.
The little voice that spoke to me on Sunday said, Go back to your friends. Write. Say that there is something else to think about.
First Entry: January 1, 2019
Full disclosure: I’m a news junkie. The addiction started when I was a little girl. I watched my father read three newspapers a day. There was the morning newspaper, and the late edition, and God only knows what came in between. But my father read them all, and he was the smartest person in the world.
Much, much later, I had a career in Washington, D.C., the spiritual mecca for news junkies. For forty-two years, I read the Washington Post from cover to cover. Including the obituaries. I mean, you had to know who died, right? The Post was required reading. I also read the Wall Street Journal. I read news releases from all the federal agencies, and countless publications thrashed out by non-governmental organizations, like the one I worked for and even wrote for. NGOs, we were called.
I read other things, too – like the Federal Register, the holy bible of wonky nerds who thrived on the esoteric threads and minutiae of regulation. There was also the Congressional Record – the daily report on the comings and goings, the actions, and the thoughts of Members of Congress—C-Span on steroids. I read every Congressional Bill that was introduced that was remotely relevant to my non-profit, scientific community, and I was doing that before anything was online. My office was lined with piles of printed news. I don’t apologize for it. That was my job. That was everybody’s job in Washington. News. Information. Insider stuff. Connections. The more you knew, the more you were valued—by your employer, your clients, your colleagues, and your friends. No wonder I became a junkie. Knowing stuff equaled value. Think about that for a minute.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with information. There is nothing wrong with news. I believe that being a citizen in a democracy is not just a privilege, it’s also a responsibility. The government of the people, by the people, and for the people should be directed by an informed people. So there’s that.
But what we have today in the form of news is, well, a lot more than information. News has become a soap opera. A crime novel, filled with suspense, horror, and fear. The train wreck we cannot look away from. I’m retired, and I don’t have to read this stuff. I don’t have to watch it on television. But I’m wired for it now. I read the New York Times online every morning. I read portions of the Washington Post, and every week, the editorial and as many articles as I can of the New Yorker. And every night, I watch Rachel Maddow. Okay. So right there, I have given away something about myself. Put that aside for a moment, if you can. We’re all biased.
I’m not suggesting that you abstain from the news. I’m not. My own new year’s resolution, however, is to not get drunk on it. What I am saying is, Take a Break. Take a moment to think about something else.
Feed your brain some oxygen. Give your mind some light. Take a deep breath and let it in. Stay with me in the year 2019, and every once in a while, let’s think about something else. Together. Love’s first kiss. The smell of coffee in the morning. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Whatever.
It will change your energy, and you’ll change somebody else’s energy, and the Universe will notice.
Coming up in the next blog: How my cat, Dorian Gray, had cancer and then didn’t.