When I became pregnant, I went on a strict media diet and “lost weight”.
I wanted to keep my peace and provide the most nurturing environment possible for my growing child. I had a daily yoga, mediation and walking practice. I watched the food and beverages I consumed, careful to avoid toxins. It dawned on me…shouldn’t I also manage what I was taking into my head and my heart?
My Strict Media Diet went something like this: no television, no radio, no newspapers, no magazines. The exception I made to this rule allowed for consumption of spiritually uplifting materials and a few entertaining programs on NPR. This personal decision raised many eyebrows and grew into a social experiment. Family members and close friends expressed concern, “How will you know what is going on? What if something terrible happens and you don’t know about it?”
“If I need to know, you will tell me about it!”…obviously. I wasn’t shunning awareness, just limiting my exposure to information and images that caused me stress and over which I had no control. I felt confident that any relevant news stories (local fires, dangerous criminals on the lose, impending bad weather) could be relayed to me by my loved ones, on a need to know basis.
What effect on the world would my lack of news consumption have?
None. I had eaten it up out of habit. I rarely acted on the tragedies I read about and I certainly wasn’t going to become an activist or volunteer while pregnant. The world news continued to spin on despite my lack of audience. After 9 months on my Strict Media Diet I felt grounded, calm and strong. My son entered the world in a blizzard with much difficulty. The world was covered in white and my heart was many pounds lighter. I had moved beyond fear. I was transcendent.
Just as a healthy food diet makes you sensitive to unhealthy food, my mental diet has made me keenly aware of what I see and hear; whether it feeds me or weighs me down. I consume media mindfully now, keep it light and limit my exposure to sensationalized negativity. I find it difficult to digest.
I have recommitted to the Strict Media Diet. The world looks a whole lot better from here. This beautiful world is the one I choose to live in. You don’t need to be pregnant to try this experiment. Be discerning. Consume mindfully. Get outside. Talk to your neighbors. Talk a walk and breathe in the fresh air. Connect with your immediate environment.
If the external world is a reflection of our collective inner experience and we moderate our intake of negativity, won’t the world look better…and be better?Disclaimer: If you read this hoping for a weight loss plan to drop the pounds you added over the holidays, here you go: Be discerning. Consume mindfully. Get outside. Talk to your neighbors. Take a walk and breathe in the fresh air. Connect with your immediate environment.
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Assistant Editor: Jennifer Moore/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: Michael Moore