How to Decide What Not to Do

There are several ways to deal with life when it feels like lunatics have taken over the world.

Wait. Maybe they have.

But you and I still have some say in this, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Seems that if one thing’s not gonna kill us all, something else will.

According to the new & info cycle, that is.

It feels as though someone’s always right there to jerk our chain. As though things are backsliding instead of progressing. As though all the work we’ve done peacing-out and making-love-not-war-ing has been for nothing.

It feels like if the sky doesn’t fall today, it surely will tomorrow.

Or at least that’s what we hear.

All the damn time.

Put on your own oxygen mask first.

Recently I talked about getting of frenzytown—basically taking care of yourself before taking on the world’s issues. You know, the old “put your own oxygen mask on first.”

The reason for this is obvious.

But doesn’t it feel like we’re obliged to keep up with all the issues? Or at least the big stuff? It’s what responsible citizens do!

I mean, isn’t it irresponsible to “get out of frenzytown” when shit’s hitting the fan—and on a regular basis, at that?

Somebody’s got to do something!

You probably even feel guilty for not keeping up better than you do, try and try though you do.

Want world peace? Start with your own self.

Existing in a state of alarm isn’t our only choice.

The reality is, we can choose what to do about it all. How we’ll respond. What we’ll reflect on. What we deliberately choose to act on.

We don’t have to be guilted into doing what we’re “supposed” to do. Whatever the ultimate “supposed to do” is anyway!

We can:

  1. Ignore it all. This is a valid choice. Look, if shutting down the news-and-info pipeline is what keeps you from going over the edge, then do it.
  2. Go numb. This means you’re like an overstimulated baby—your mind checks out. This is involuntary and not recommended. You need another option.
  3. Flee the country. You wouldn’t be the first. Choose intentionally, as no matter where you go, there you are. As well, be aware that the world is changing massively—it’s not just your country.
  4. Head for the woods/go off-grid. Same as above, but a homegrown, self-reliant sorta option.
  5. Jump in, arms swinging. We’re conditioned to do just this. As an experiment, take note of the next (or latest) news biggie and the subsequent fallout. The sound bites. The teams that form. The bashing of the “other side.” The pontificating politicians. The hysteria. The bandwagons and alliances. The social media memes that get shared and shared and shared. The new growth of “donations needed” for the cause. Pretend you’re a fly on society’s wall.
  6. Take a bike ride, swim some laps, breathe some breaths. Consider how much you actually, honestly need and want to get involved. Consider your broadest and deepest desires for humanity. How does the latest big thing play into these deep desires of yours? Is the latest big thing a side show in a circus? Is it an emergency? Is it an ego-fest for someone… or someone-s? How much of this do you truly want to participate in? Be intentional, not reactionary.
  7. Sit this one out. Whatever “this one” is. Do this for the peacefulness of it—for the peaceful vibes you’ll emit simply by choosing not to be provoked. This is a wildly under-utilized choice. And so damn simple.

Beware the bad news factories.

Choose better, take control.

The TV, the NYT, NPR, Facebook, Twitter, the buzz around us—all of ’em—have us locked in a spin cycle.

Take control of what’s in your head and psyche and how you respond to it all.

Anger breeds anger. Blame breeds blame. Conflict breeds conflict. War breeds war. Sensation breeds sensation.

Stillness breeds stillness. Simplicity breeds simplicity. Quiet breeds quiet. Kindness breeds kindness. Peace breeds peace.

Choose peace.

It’s counter-cultural, even.

Choose peace.


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