" A bomb makes more noise than a caress,
but for each bomb that destroys
there are millions of caresses that nourish life. "
FACUNDO CABRAL (1937 - 2011), Argentine Singer-Songwriter
With our world fraught with alarming events, it's especially important for us not to lose sight of all that continues to make life beautiful and worthwhile for us. I'm talking to myself here. As bad news bombards our minds, it takes a concerted effort to find the balance of staying informed and not getting bogged down in grim despair. We want to be careful not to miss the flowers in the garden because we're focused on the noxious weeds. No matter what is going on, if we are not directly involved in these conflicts, we have lives that need to be lived. We have blog posts to create. People to hug. Sunsets to watch. Laundry to fold. Meals to prepare. "Because even with the dark parts and the light parts and the good parts and the bad parts, dinner must still be served." from Once Upon A Wardrobe, Patti Callahan
Today I shamelessly borrow a few thoughts from British author Matt Haig. I've been reading his book of short essays Notes on a Nervous Planet. In it, he shares things that help him cope with the modern world we live in, including social media feeds that are constantly 'on'. He shares six ways that he finds helpful to keep up with the news and not lose his mind. Both #3 and #6 stand out for me at this time.
1. "Remember that how you react to the news isn't just about what the news is, but how you get it. The internet and breaking news channels report news in ways that make us feel disorientated. It is easy to believe things are getting worse, when they might just make us feel worse. The medium isn't just the message, it's the emotional intensity of that message."2. "Limit the amount of times you look at the news. As my Facebook friend Debra Morse recently commented: "Remember that in 1975 we typically got our news twice a day: morning paper and evening TV broadcast..." MY NOTE: Unless we are the ones directly involved, there's probably not much we can do, no matter how much we watch. And even as our hearts pray, we needs must carry on with life.3. "Realize the world is not as violent as it feels. Many writers on this subject—such as the famed cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker—have pointed out that, despite all its horrors, society is less violent than it used to be. "There is definitely still violence," says the historian Yuval Noah Harari. "I live in the Middle East so I know this perfectly well. But, comparatively, there is less violence than ever before in history. Today more people die from eating too much than from human violence, which is really an amazing achievement."4. "Be near animals. Nonhuman animals are therapeutic for all kinds of reasons. One reason is that they don't have news. (They) don't care. The things that are important to us—politics and economics and all of those fluctuating things—are not important to them. And their lives, like ours, still go on. . . .5. "Don't worry about things you can't control. The news is full of things you can't do anything about. Do the things you can do stuff about—raise awareness of issues that concern you, give whatever you can to whichever cause you feel passionate about, and also accept the things you can't do."6. "Remember, looking at bad news doesn't mean good news isn't happening. It's happening everywhere. It's happening right now. Around the world. In hospitals, at weddings, in schools and offices and maternity wards, at airport arrival gates, in bedrooms, in inboxes, out in the street, in the kind smile of a stranger. A billion unseen wonders of everyday life."
* * *
" Learn not to be shocked by the shock.
Not to be in a state of panic about the panic.
To change what you can change and
not get frustrated by what you can't.
There is no panacea, or utopia, there is just love
and kindness and trying, amid the chaos,
to make things better where we can."
Notes on a Nervous Planet, "In Praise of Positivity", p126
In closing, I share these words by Susan Branch. A reminder how not to go mad in a mad world, "And when the world seems to be falling apart around you, create something, put a flower in a vase, bake a pie, draw a picture, knit socks."
* * *
On that note,
I'm wishing you beauty and heart's ease this weekend.
Kitty pic above is from Pixabay