For the last most-of-a-decade I’ve followed the news closely. MY news, of course – the one that aligns (generally) with my particular set of ideals, but news all the same. (Yes, NEWS. Fact checked, largely straight forward and truthful, calm, both-sides-of-the-issue-represented NEWS. If you aren’t already aware, not all news is that way.) I liked being aware of what was going on in the world, I liked understanding the inter-workings of politics and economics, and at least being made aware of the opportunity to ‘pray’ for people living lives ravaged by war, or economic or natural disasters.
After the recent election I must admit that I was perhaps the saddest I have ever been, for reasons innumerable. I won’t get into them here, as I don’t want this to become about politics. I will tell you that I was so deeply bothered I literally woke up in the morning with political issues swimming around in my mind and immediately on the verge of tears. I felt this sadness in my bones, in my heart, in my very soul. Not fear, not anger… sadness. I was despondent. Inconsolable. Truly depressed.
So, I turned off the news.
Within two days I stopped waking up on the verge of tears. Four days later I began to take joy in the sunrise again, the delicious sweetness of life I had been feeling for the past year (entirely for personal reasons – not because “politics” was “good”). A week later I felt calm, hopeful even. And while this state of peace is truly a blessing, and one I am powerfully grateful for, I wonder what this juxtaposition really means.
As we face these troubled times, as a nation, as a race, as a species, and I personally find myself waging an ongoing battle against the fear, the depression, the anxiety… I wonder – what is my role? Am I being called to participate more, to be an activist, to make my opinions known? Am I to use my perceived gifts to make a blatant rallying cry for that which I believe to be good and true? Or, am I tasked with simply carrying my light high, loving from where I am, creating the reality I want for myself by living in blissful ignorance – and thereby contributing to the light, peace, and love of all?
On one side, perhaps I write, perhaps I speak, but in some way I stand up and take an active role, face the discomfort and potential ridicule, and brace myself for a life lived in anguished awareness as a result of staying “informed”, mired in news I almost can’t bear to hear.
On the other, I focus on the good and joy and beauty in the world and double-down on my belief that by vibrating higher, I am already contributing. That in living by example, I am already inspiring. That by giving and showing love, I am magnifying its force in the whole of the universe. Here, I simply ignore the sadness, the devastation, the alienation and live the life I love.
Truly, I don’t know the answer. I know some friends who are cut from the cloth of an activist. It feeds them. I know others who are radiant light beings, who simply shine. I do believe it is possible to be both… but I’m not sure it is for me.
At the very least, I have not yet figured out how. So, for now, I will turn on Frank Sinatra’s Christmas album and bask in the love, light, peace and hope of the holidays. We’ll talk again in January.