Some people eat too much sugar and others watch too much TV. I read news and get too involved with it. It is good to stay current, no? Yes, but there is a darker side. Many of the stories are upsetting and often times there is no closure after a particularly heartbreaking one. I cover many in my columns, and then I keep on hoping that there will be some resolution, closure for victims and their families. Sadly, that is not the case. Oblivion is a horrible mistress and our faulty justice system enables it.
On more than one night I found myself struggling to fall asleep or get a peaceful sleep. And yet, my lack of proper sleep will amount to nothing else than just that: missed sleep and a lesser quality of life. A few nights nights ago, I spent almost half the night turning and trying to sleep, invaded by thoughts stemming from news stories I read during the day, some more bothersome than others. The perpetual line is ‘that’s just not right.’ And yet. I do as much as I can: writing about things, bringing up inconvenient subjects and striving to influence people as much as I can to act for the greater good. And yet. The mysterious and often upsetting ways that human act will remain the same, whether my sleep suffers or not.
After that troubling sleepless night, I picked up a book called ‘Peace is Every Step’ by Thich Nhat Hanh. It became my evening lecture for a few days. To complement, I stopped reading the news in the afternoon (and the world kept on going just the same…). I have actively moved towards finding a space where I could be away from the world and its crazy dealings, and closer to where it matters that I am: in my home, with the people I love and doing things that add to the corner we have built for ourselves. Home is more than a physical concept. It is where you come to gather yourself while the world still bubbles around.
Closing the door not to stay away from the world, but to acquire the peace we need to continue to add as much as we can to life; as it happens. According to our abilities, but not past the point of being overwhelmed.
Social media and the news whirlpool can act like quicksand. Before you know it, you’re in over your head. Reclaiming simple yet fulfilling pleasures that have nothing to do with the world outside (except for the natural world, which we need to immerse more in!) is vital to staying the course. Sane too, I’d add.
That makes the act of giving yourself permission to create your own corner of peacefulness with those simple pleasures essential. Read (not from a screen,) create something that brings you joy, and find moments of simply being where you are, open to appreciate the many blessings you are to be grateful for. Over the years I have met people who have taught me that losing almost everything is no reason to lose hope. They celebrate what’s left and that is a lot, they say.
In my frustration over so many unresolved issues of our world, I almost missed seeing that at times. It’s simple and yet essential. Quiet your mind enough to be grateful. Then go and do things but retrace your steps back to where peace is.