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Is it the end of the world?

I tend to teach my clients a LOT about mindfulness.  Mindfulness is about being fully present, in what is happening TODAY.  Mindfulness is choosing to pay attention in life, to fire your auto-pilot and really experience your interactions with the world, without judgment.  We, as a culture, tend to be very roped into seeking the “next best thing”.  Think about it…we want the next smartphone before we even figure out how to work the one we have, there are dating apps that make small talk and polite conversation irrelevant and take you straight to the bedroom, there is a drive-thru for darn near everything you could want! We live on fast forward.  It doesn’t work and it is causing a decline in life satisfaction and relationship satisfaction, all the while creating an increase in depression, divorce and suicide rates.

Riddle me this: if life is SO GREAT living this way…why are we so obsessed with the post-apocalyptic worlds that we think would be generated after the fall of our modern civilization? They all have something in common: NO technology and a rebuilding of the “takes a village” mentality.  Ironically two of the tenants of our current society that make us “superior”.

The Walking Dead, The Hunger Games, Divergent, 2012, Lost, Jericho, The Book of Eli, World World Z…the list is really quite expansive.  And yet, we continue to live IN our phones and in isolation from one another.  I do wonder if one purpose of these shows, aside from entertainment, is to warn us/show us what COULD happen if we do not change our ways…and yet…

Take a moment to read this age-old fable:

The Fox and the Goat

A Fox one day fell into a deep well and could find no means of escape. A Goat, overcome with thirst, came to the same well, and seeing the Fox, inquired if the water was good. Concealing his sad plight under a merry guise, the Fox indulged in a lavish praise of the water, saying it was excellent beyond measure, and encouraging him to descend. The Goat, mindful only of his thirst, thoughtlessly jumped down, but just as he drank, the Fox informed him of the difficulty they were both in and suggested a scheme for their common escape. “If,” said he, “you will place your forefeet upon the wall and bend your head, I will run up your back and escape, and will help you out afterwards.” The Goat readily assented and the Fox leaped upon his back. Steadying himself with the Goat’s horns, he safely reached the mouth of the well and made off as fast as he could. When the Goat upbraided him for breaking his promise, he turned around and cried out, “You foolish old fellow! If you had as many brains in your head as you have hairs in your beard, you would never have gone down before you had inspected the way up, nor have exposed yourself to dangers from which you had no means of escape.”

Look before you leap.

(Aesop’s Fables)

Perhaps it is time to look before we leap.  Look at the data trends before you buy our 4 year old an IPAD, look at divorce statistics before you sleep with someone on the first date, look at these movies as  more than just random entertainment…see them as a warning as what could happen if we don’t change!  Dare to be different.  Dare NOT to download every popular app.  Dare NOT to give into every urge you have for instant gratification.  Dare NOT to pay hundreds of dollars for the “cool” shoes/boots.  Dare NOT to pay $5 for the logo on your coffee mug when you could put that money away for a rainy day.  Dare to have an opinion that is DIFFERENT than the masses…afterall, isn’t that what Catniss did? And she became a hero…

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Part Two: I do miss reading

If you ask me, I would describe myself as an avid reader. If I think about it a little longer, I realize that I’m not! I LOVE reading, so why are there months that I do not read ANYTHING?  I don’t know about you, but in reflection I realize that the story I tell myself about reading is that it takes too much time and effort.  I wonder why this is the message I tell myself about reading?  Where did it come from? The only hypothesis I have is that it likely came from school years and being forced to read various books/chapters on someone else’s time frame and for someone else’s purpose. I have been out of school now for 7 years…something tells me it’s time to get over myself!

I miss reading!

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A few weeks ago I was at a mom’s group when someone mentioned how much they love to read.  I said “me too!” which was followed by her asking what I was currently reading.  Crickets.  There were crickets in my brain! How embarrassing!

That night, I borrowed my daughter’s kindle and that week I read TWO fiction novels.  I tell myself I don’t have time…and clearly, I do!  I tell myself I am too tired and reading takes too much effort…clearly it doesn’t! I miss reading and I need to prioritize.  Perhaps (if you have been following along) I could read instead of watch television!

Is there something you love to do and find yourself not doing enough?

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Part one: I do not miss television

I have not had network television or cable TV in over 4 years.  I do not miss it, nor do I feel as though I am MISSING OUT on anything.  For 3.5 of those 4 years, I didn’t even have a television on the main floor of my home.  I do not have a television in my bedroom.  Nope, not missing it AT ALL!  This is a topic I feel like preaching on. 

If you think of what you are actually doing when you are watching TV, the answer is typically some sort of avoidance.  Avoiding housework, avoiding homework, avoiding sleep, avoiding your significant other etc…you are also avoiding more effective behaviors: going for a walk, exercising, painting, reading, talking to a friend…

If you compare any two items from those two collections, I’d venture to bet that as a result of avoidance you feel worse: more depressed, sluggish, unmotivated, lonely, sad etc.  As a result of the effective behavior, I’d bet you feel better: accomplished, productive, proud, happy, relieved, connected.  

On any given day, on any given moment, which would you choose? To feel unmotivated and depressed or to feel productive and happy?? I do believe that is an easy choice and yet many of us choose to feel more sluggish and dejected by binge watching shows by the season! There are many ways to achieve decreased TV watching (limit yourself, decrease channels paid for, join a gym) but how have those worked for you so far? My ideas of only owning ONE television, not having cable or network TV and not having a TV in your bedroom do put a barrier into place that reduce the likelihood of watching to excess.  Do I still binge-watch Netflix sometimes? Yes.  Does it make me feel sluggish, unmotivated and depressed? Almost every time! But I watch so much less TV than I ever have in my life…and that makes me HAPPY, PROUD and PRODUCTIVE!

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Awareness Days

I love the idea of awareness days.  I do not, however, like awareness days. According to the Wikipedia page on this topic, there are 118 different “awareness days” to celebrate each year.  That is not including the 207 “international days” listed on another page and the 67 “months of”…  I choose not to count the “weeks of”…. Let us not even delve into the days sponsored by such sites as www.dailyholidayblog.com! (according to them, today is pie day!)

While many of these days are created to bring awareness to highly notable causes and issues that do merit recognition…how in the world is someone supposed to track all of this?  And now…as a result, many people (including myself) just let out a sigh and roll our eyes at the mention of __________ awareness day.  Furthermore, I believe that the bizarre “days/months/weeks” take away the punch that COULD BE packed buy the “days/months/weeks” that deserve recognition.  Ie…January 19th is “tin can day”…REALLY?!?!?

November 21 is World Television Day, May 7 is World Password Day, June 24th is Take Your Dog to Work Day and May 4th is Star Wars Day. Crap, crap, crap.  CRAP!  This makes the days like October 10th (World Mental Health Day) and January 27th (International Holocaust Remembrance Day) loose the thunder that they should have! And on a larger scale, likely diminish the donations received by the organization, which is a primary goal of creating an awareness campaign.

With all that being said, I am choosing to release this in January…International Creativity Month! Because…who doesn’t need a month devoted to creativity?!

What awareness days do you support and which ones will you admit are crap?

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