2021 is coming to a close and a new year is upon us. It has been a difficult ride. The world is undergoing a huge transformation and as all change goes, it can be painful and grueling. How do we bring about a positive outcome? How do we shine the light in places of darkness? As I contemplate the details of these questions, I continue to get one simple and consistent answer.
Love is a powerful energy.
It drives us to do things we would never otherwise do.
It lifts us to the highest elevation.
It makes us feel invincible and free.
It gives us unbounded courage, and catalyzes changes, always for the better.
It leads us to new horizons.
It breaks down limiting barriers.
It takes us on exciting adventures.
It gives us clarity where there is no understanding.
It dominates hatred.
It never discriminates.
It connects us to one another.
It ignites our passions and uncovers our greatest potential.
Love is the answer, the action, the direction, the plan, and when we follow its pull and embrace its power, we will always win and peace and happiness will inevitably prevail.
I hope in 2022 you all find the courage to be your best self, the strength to weather the storm, the trust to follow your intuition, and the wisdom to answer every question and action with love, wherever it may lead. Namaste and Happy New Year.
It is the winter solstice, the peak of darkness and at the same time, the beginning of the light. I hope this is a metaphor for the state of the world right now and for the arc of the pandemic. It is bad. Sickness is everywhere. Death too. I can’t help but look at it as if we are simply cells in the Earth body and She is cleansing, shedding herself of the disease for her own survival. Perhaps randomly, perhaps selectively. No one really knows.
The sun is rising and the traffic down our narrow winding country road is increasing. I am blessed to have the fortune to remain here in my warm and cozy surroundings, to be able to be home during the darkest day of the year in dark times. As the light begins to surface in the horizon, it dawns on me that this may be a time to surrender, to break down deceptive stories, and look at the shadows. A time to head into and through the fire with courage and conviction and dive into the watery depths with trust. For this is where the real magic happens, where the alchemy of change and creation is catalyzed.
As Christmas approaches, I am feeling the dichotomy of infinite hope and overwhelming grief that defines this annual ritual. It brings forth our individual and collective experience and asks us to have a look. It is as joyous as it is painful, as promising as it is desperate. It stirs our emotions and demands our attention, and though there are times when I would rather turn away, there is no escaping it. There are reminders in every direction. It seems to be a necessary rite of passage, at least in my culture.
In recent years, the burden of carrying forth this tradition has at times seemed unnecessary and burdensome. (My children have grown and not yet had children of their own.) However, I have come to realize that from a different angle, it is actually an opportunity, a chance to consider and feel the lives we have lived up to this point, the decisions we have made, the blessings bestowed upon us, the hardships endured, the mistakes, the victories, the light and the shadows. It is a time to let go of our grievances and past grief and to decide who we want to be moving forward. It is a time to count our blessings and give thanks for all that illuminates us. It is a time to contemplate who we really are, apart from the story we tell ourselves. It is a time to feel deeply and forge ahead bravely.
As I look up from my computer to the view outside, I notice the sun has replaced the darkness. The traffic is in full swing and life is marching on. I realize that I am on the right path, that my efforts to be my best self for a better world will pay off. I feel a sense of assurance as my heart lightens, and I realize I am simply witnessing a natural cycle, a dark point that will again return to light.
In addition to honing my skills and understanding of the deck, this practice offers me the opportunity to look more deeply at the direction of my life, contemplate the choices in front of me, and increase my self awareness. Yesterday, I picked the two of Wands and its message was particularly timely and on point.
Ever since last week’s blog about the importance of creativity, I have been thinking about ways to break out of my comfort zone and attract new experiences that will be more fun and expand my imagination. I have been making lists of activities I’d like to try and places I want to bring my inner artist as suggested by Julia Cameron in her book, the Artist’s Way.
It occurred to me that I had already started to experiment with a few new endeavors, like painting with acrylics while following a Youtube tutorial and concocting a variety of vegan dishes from a beautiful new cookbook I purchased a couple of weeks ago. Both of these undertakings have been fun with surprisingly good results, and even though the outcome has been better than expected, I am realizing that the real reward lies in the process.
According to Cameron, we all have access to an unlimited supply of creativity. As children, we are open and able to easily tap into this source. Then, as time goes on, we become blocked by limiting beliefs and experiences and have an increasingly hard time conjuring up our imaginings.
Most of us have a tendency to fall into repeated patterns and sink deeper into what is familiar. We seek out comfort and avoid pain. This past year, in response to the pandemic, we found ourselves shrinking into an even more limited existence with less stimulation and interaction. The grooves of our daily lives got deeper and smaller.
This week, as the sun continues to grow stronger and the world opens up, it feels like it might be time to break free and move into something novel and more energizing.
One way to do this is to make a list of new places to see and things to do, and then begin checking them off, one by one, even if they are outside our comfort zone. Having a regular and consistent time for these adventures is optimal as is doing them alone. It is also important not to focus on the outcome, like discovering the perfect destination, becoming an expert tennis player, or learning to play the guitar in 2 lessons. The process is what counts and it is what will attract more creativity and expand our experience as we continue down the road.
The 2 of Wands was a perfect pick because it encourages us to choose adventure over comfort. It tells us that envisioning our dream is good, but living it is even better. I love this advice as I am in the process of making plans for a few different experiences this spring and summer, like taking surfing lessons, mountain biking on one new trail each month, traveling to some local towns that are unfamiliar, and continuing to paint weekly. I have already planned a summer trip out west and have signed up for a beginner golf clinic.
Stepping out is scary, but once we do and let go of the outcome, I believe our imaginations will grow and soon we’ll be tapping into unlimited ideas, expanding our minds and having a lot of fun in the process.
Since the pandemic hit nearly a year ago, I have been keeping a low profile. I have stayed home most of the time, starting an online coaching business, visiting with family and friends over zoom, learning to paint through Youtube tutorials, expanding my cooking skills, exercising to online classes and watching countless Netflix productions. True, there have been some new insights, habits and skills gained, but at this point, I am eager for life to return to normal.
So, when my daughter who lives in NYC asked if I could come for a brief visit to drop off a guitar and celebrate her 27th birthday, I jumped at the chance. She said that NYC restaurants were open for indoor seating at 25% capacity and many had adapted by building outdoor heated structures that were separated with temporary walls. She said to wear a mask at all times, follow the same protocol I had at home and I’d be fine. As I began to think about the details, however, I got a little nervous. What would the City be like in the wake of Covid 19? Would it really be safe to walk down the street in such confined quarters? Where would we stay? Should we plan to eat outside in the middle of February? Had I made a bad decision?
When my boyfriend and I first arrived, we were struck by how little traffic there was. We had both driven through these city streets on a number of occasions over the years, and this was a stark contrast. In place of cars, there were hundreds of electric bikes, most making deliveries of groceries, meals and numerous other goods. Some were even pulling trailers. There seemed to be more bikes than cars and it felt a little unsettling as the traffic rules for this growing culture were vague and chaotic. It was a bit of a free-for-all and we found ourselves looking over our shoulders and around corners constantly in order to avoid these speeding delivery vessels.
My daughter lives between Murray Hill and Gramercy near the Lower East Side and we were able to find a hotel within a 30 minute walk to her apartment and a 15 minute walk to where we would be having dinner. We had stayed at this hotel before so we felt comfortable booking a room there and the cost was nearly half what we had spent in the past. We settled in, regrouped and then made our way to dinner. My daughter chose a chic Indonesion/French restaurant in Nolita and we decided to try the indoor seating because well, it was cold and we wanted to get the full culinary experience.
As we walked, we began to notice a number of empty storefronts and many makeshift structures jutting out into the street so that clientele could sit outside to enjoy their meal. Many were charming, garnished with clever decor and seating pods separated by plywood walls and plastic entrances, a testament to the innovative and resilient spirit of the New York culture. Modular heaters accompanied each space and although eating while dressed in winter garb, the diners seemed cozy and relaxed.
We enjoyed a first class dinner in a nearly empty restaurant with all the amenities and accoutrements one would expect of a fine NYC establishment. It almost felt normal until we got the bill via an app on my cell phone and did all the paying and tipping without making any further human contact.
It was a decent walk back to my daughter’s apartment, but the weather had cleared, we had eaten well, and the visit felt too short, so we offered to accompany her home. We were only a few minutes into the walk when things began to feel different. I had visited my daughter before and walked through these very neighborhoods, but now I noticed an increased number of vacant storefronts. There seemed to be a lot more graffiti and there was trash everywhere. (It may have been trash day or a result of the winter storms that had passed through, but I never noticed it like this before). There were few people walking the streets and as we continued, it got quieter and more desolate. Where there normally would have been hundreds bustling to and fro, there were only a few. True, it was Monday, but it was only 9 p.m. when we dropped off my daughter and headed back to the hotel, and the city was asleep.
As my boyfriend and I turned a corner, we paused for a moment to take it all in. I felt a weight in my chest and a realization of the extent to which Covid 19 had administered a devastating blow to this proud metropolis. I felt fear, grief, sadness and uncertainty. It seemed very clear in that moment that life would never return to normal because that’s not how it all works. We cannot erase an experience or even go on as if it hasn’t happened. We can never put it all behind us, because even though the phase of destruction eventually ends, it becomes a part of who we are going forward. And in that, I felt hope.
As I stood there looking at the boarded up storefronts and the moon under a brightening winter sky, I began to think about Pete Seeger’s song which was made an international hit by the Byrds in 1965 when it rose to #1 on the Billboard charts. The lyrics of the song, Turn, Turn, Turn, were taken directly from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. They rang true then and they ring true now.
“To Everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”
New York City will rebuild just as we will all find ways to heal and redesign ourselves. We are creatures of adaptation and soon we will flourish again, as the cycle of life continues. Turn, turn, turn.
I had a remarkable experience this week which I’d like to share. I am a student of the tarot and as part of my recent practice, I have been drawing a daily card, setting intentions for the day related to the message and then reflecting at night. It’s a good way to gain insights into my life while enhancing my understanding and relationship to the cards.
I usually find the themes to have important and personal cues which guide me to areas of my life needing attention and often catalyze new ideas and insights. It is not uncommon for me to feel the Universe pushing or pulling me in a given direction or to hear my inner wisdom raise its voice.
This week, although I was not looking for help on any particular issue, the cards seemed to be asking me to stop and pay attention, and they were rather loud and clear.
Over the past four days, I have drawn the Hanged Man every single time. This is highly unlikely given the fact that I shuffle the deck fully and then cut it at different places before uncovering the chosen card. It didn’t seem that strange when the Hanged Man appeared for a second time. After all, coincidences happen and the interpretation made sense. On the third day, I thought, “how strange,” and by the fourth (today), I had no choice but to stop and take a closer look.
The Hanged Man card in the Tarot deck symbolizes suspension, detachment, letting go, and uncertainty. The subject hangs from a tree, tied by one foot. He is not free to go easily. Yet, he appears relaxed as if surrendering to his circumstances. His second leg and arms are not bonded and a yellow light emanates from his head, indicating intellect and spiritual development. The card is said to suggest sacrifice, a necessary step in the process of moving forward. Sometimes, the card asks for a certain action to be suspended. It tells us the time is not right to make a move. I have also read that the Hanged Man can represent a crucible, a situation or severe trial which leads to the creation of something new and improved.
I have been thinking lately about the pandemic and its effects on the mental health of our world. People are suffering or at the least being tried, physically, financially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. There has been enormous loss and challenging circumstances everywhere and on every level. The economy is wincing. Politics are dividing and in our isolation, we are being forced to face ourselves head on. There is nowhere to hide. We have been stripped of our usual escape routes, like busying our lives to the point of exhaustion and complete distraction. And although the situation is improving, there is no saying how much longer we will be hanging from the tree.
I have been noticing a growing pressure myself and like many, I feel the need to bust out, to make a move, to release the bondage, to battle with the cords that bind me, and to break free. Some days I feel unnaturally restrained. However, as the Hanged Man suggests, it may not be the right time to act. It might serve me better to relax into the situation and allow my inner light to mull, to grow and to strengthen. It may also be time to surrender to the restrictions and fallout of the pandemic instead of trying to resist. It seems the Hanged Man is telling me with certainty to accept what is and remain patient with life’s timing.
This seems to be a good message given the current state of the world and one that is hard to ignore considering the way it was delivered (drawing 4 of the same card in a row!). I may be more successful and the journey smoother if I hang loose for a time. If I allow myself to ride out the pandemic crucible with acceptance and patience, it’s possible I will emerge on the other side as something new and more highly evolved.
A couple of week’s ago, my daughter asked me to do a tarot card reading for her. She had been on a few dates with someone new and was feeling uncertain about where the relationship was headed. She wanted to know what he was thinking and feeling and if her intuition was correct. She believed they were no longer clicking, that he was pulling away, and she wasn’t sure what to do.
After drawing the cards, the message came forward. The man, who had seemed so promising at first, was dealing with a number of personal issues. The cards suggested that my daughter give him the needed space and although she didn’t have to push him away, she also didn’t need to get involved. If and when he was ready, he would come to her.
Her job was to focus on nourishing and growing herself, separately. That way, no matter what happened with the current situation, she would be evolving into a more beautiful and self actualized person who would inevitably attract the ideal partner when the time was right.
I thought it was wise advice and realized that I had been nurturing my own growth in much the same way recently.
Ever since Covid arrived and we have been forced to social distance, a lot has changed. I am no longer able to get together with family and friends in the way I used to. My band cannot perform live. Restaurants are limited or closed. I can’t work out at the gym. There haven’t been any concerts or fairs and a limited number of sporting events. In essence, there isn’t much to do.
This has become increasingly frustrating. However, there have been a number of silver linings. I have been offered the time and space to slow down and reflect, to sleep more, to read, to take daily walks, spend more time outdoors, cook healthier meals, and rest. In essence, the pandemic restrictions have allowed me to embrace the Yin energy which is often overshadowed in our modern lives.
“Yin energy is considered feminine,” says an article on peacefulmind.com. “Yin is very contracting, passive, languid, inward, and heavier. Unlike Yang, Yin is slow moving and contracts inward.” Some common properties of Yin include: earth, moon, darkness, water, female, space, matter, rest, growth, and contraction. Yang energy, in contrast, contains the elements of sun, light, fire, activity, male, and expansion. https://www.peacefulmind.com/project/yin-energy/
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation, “Everything contains Yin and Yang. They are two opposite yet complementary energies.” and “ Although they are totally different—opposite—in their individual qualities and nature, they are interdependent. Yin and Yang cannot exist without the other; they are never separate.” https://www.tcmworld.org/what-is-tcm/yin-yang-theory/
The more thought I have given to this concept of Yin and Yang, the more I can see its relationship to what is happening in the world right now.
The Covid crisis is perhaps Mother Nature’s way of rebalancing her energy. Our planet and its inhabitants have been heading down an unhealthy road for quite some time. As a culture, the pace of our lives has continued to increase to an almost break neck speed. We can’t sleep. The rates of anxiety and depression are at staggering levels, and we constantly feel rushed. We take more medication than ever and we spend less free time with our friends and loved ones.
The earth is also suffering as our outwardly aggressive energy and lifestyles demand too much and give too little. It’s as if we’ve been stuck in Yang energy for much too long and can’t reverse the inertia on our own. No matter how devastating this pandemic has been, it seems to be a necessary step in the healing and rebalancing process.
The tide is turning, as it always does, and we are being forced towards a more passive and reflective approach in order to survive.
As fall quickly descends into winter, I have had feelings of dread. The virus is not yet under control. People are fed up with restrictions just as the weather is forcing us indoors. Covid cases are rising. The darkness and cold are lurking, and yet, I have felt an increasing sense of peace and joy coming from a deeper level.
Perhaps it is my inner wisdom assuring me that all is as it should be, or maybe, like my daughter, I am getting the message that now is the time to focus on myself, to slow down, to grow, to create, and to heal. I do believe that within this contracted state, I will have the opportunity to envision, plant and nourish the seeds of a brighter future.
I first got involved with flower essences about 15 years ago when I was studying energy healing for personal growth. My soul had been nagging me for years to take a deeper look, to make some changes, so that it could bloom in full.
I tried a variety of modalities including yoga, Reiki, massage, craniosacral therapy, and nutrition and although they all helped to center my mind and calm my energy, they weren’t able to specifically address my deeper feelings. I realized there was an emotional component to whatever was holding me back and until I could temper it, I would never be able to fully heal and move forward.
The mentor with whom I was studying at the time recommended I try Essence Therapy.
I was quick to fall in love. I ordered a few bottles of the concentrated remedies from Alaskan Flower Essences (https://alaskanessences.com/) and began to experiment. Their gentle healing energy flooded my senses in the most subtle ways and suddenly I would notice my perspective had changed or I was no longer feeling angry or sad about a particular situation. It was that easy. No talk therapy. No painful memories. No medication. No discomfort.
Many years have passed and I am once again revisiting the power of the flower essence.
As I began to work on the Life Purpose Project (a business I started recently), I noticed that a lot of the obstacles that keep people from moving towards their fullest potential have an emotional component. I realized that even though I had developed tools for gaining insights and designing action steps, without the ability to remove the emotional roadblocks, we can only get so far.
In my program of identifying and moving towards one’s life purpose, I encompass dream interpretation, tarot, collaborative discussion and planning, and lots of additional resources. I also encourage everyone to choose one or two flower essences to help them move along more quickly and easily.
According to the Flower Essence Society, “flower essences are liquid extracts used to address profound issues of emotional well-being, soul development, and mind-body health. They are part of an emerging field of subtle energy medicine, which also includes homeopathy, acupuncture, color therapy, therapeutic touch and similar modalities.”
Essences are made by harvesting pristine wild flowers and garden blossoms and then capturing their unique energy imprint in distilled water as it is infused by the sun. The potentized herbal infusions or decoctions are then preserved in an alcohol base and further diluted before being distributed. They are administered by putting a few drops under the tongue a couple of times a day or by dropping the essence in a glass of water and sipping as needed.
Many people confuse Flower Essences and Essential Oils and although each complement the other, they are in fact very different.
According to the Flower Essence Society, “The most significant difference is that essential oils have definite aromas; flower essences do not. Essential oils work primarily through the sense of smell and its effect upon the old brain. They are highly concentrated chemical substances, many of which are quite poisonous taken internally. Essential oils are produced from large quantities of plant material, the flowers, roots, seeds, or bark, depending on the location of the volatile oils in the plant. Steam-distillation is the most common extraction method. With flower essences, only the flowers are used and in a very small quantity. The vibrational imprint of the flower is extracted in water, which is then further diluted. Thus essential oils are a physical extract and flower essences are a subtle energy extract.”
During the pandemic, I have experienced more anxiety than usual. I have found Bach’s Rescue Remedy to help curb the stressful feelings and keep me calm. I am also working with Bach’s Star of Bethlehem and Walnut.
I am an advocate of flower essences for many reasons, but perhaps the most powerful is their ability to balance our emotions and help us adjust to a healthier perspective through the gentle and subtle genius of nature. Sometimes life’s greatest healing gifts are right outside our door.
Even before the pandemic hit, I had been trying to discover my life’s purpose. Why am I here? What am I meant to do? I can remember (as far back as my teenage years) feeling that I was meant to do something important during my time here on earth. I began to pursue different options in my 20s, but then, like many people, my focus turned to finding a partner and starting a family. I knew I wanted to have children. That was a certainty.
My family life was traditional. My husband worked long hours while I managed the house and our two girls. We were busy. Between gymnastics meets, crew regattas, music lessons, schoolwork, meal planning and home management, my time and energy were pretty tapped. I added a part time massage business when my younger daughter was 5 and this satisfied some of my yearning. However, I knew it wasn’t enough, and although I received immense joy from raising children, I felt there was something else waiting for me.
I am now in my 50s. My girls are out in the world beginning their own lives and I have found myself staring into the future, knowing that the possibilities are endless, but also feeling myself frozen in old habits and uncertainty. Midlife is a challenging time of transition, loss, and redesign. Yet, it also offers a broad spectrum of possibilities and another chance to uncover the reasons why we are here. There is an entire new chapter of life waiting to be written.
During the recent quarantine, I have had time to reflect on where I’ve been and where I want to go. With the world in enormous flux and a massive state of upheaval, discovering my soul’s path seems that much more urgent.
I have been thinking about a way to realize my life’s purpose while also helping others reach theirs. I have been studying and testing a number of modalities and approaches over the years and feel that now is the time to put them into a comprehensive package ready for implementation and action.
I see myself as a Life Purpose Facilitator of sorts with the objective of helping individuals identify their life’s mission and then begin to remove blocks that prevent them from moving forward.
I envision myself attracting those who have an inner gnawing and strong desire to uncover a hidden or under developed life purpose. This journey can begin at any age, though I see a particular need for middle aged men and women going through their “second birth.”
A couple of weeks ago, I put together a program that I can carry out online through a weekly zoom meeting. I decided to offer it to 5-10 volunteers free of charge once a week for one month as a way to practice, revise, and refine the service. I sent out a letter to my past and present massage clients and the response was affirming.
I am now halfway through the month-long trial and it is going extremely well. I am offering a holistic, natural approach to soul purpose discovery combining tarot, energy healing (distance Reiki, chakra healing), dream interpretation, and flower essence therapy. These are all modalities I have studied over the years for personal growth and am now thrilled to be able to share them with others. It is encouraging to observe the insights and breakthroughs that are already beginning to happen with my clients.
The Life Purpose Project, as I am calling it, is the perfect convergence of many areas of interest and study. Everything about it feels right. I have a sturdy base of knowledge with much to learn (all of which is inspiring and intriguing), and although I’m not sure exactly where it will lead, I can tell that I am on the right path. What a surprising irony, that my own life purpose would be to help others find theirs.
As the world struggles through the Covid-19 pandemic and begins its slow recovery, there seems to be a need to shed all that is no longer serving. In order to heal, we need to reflect on our current condition and define that which isharming us and that which makes us stronger. We need to let go of old practices and patterns that are holding us back and build upon the things that work.
I believe this to be the case with the Earth, with the global economy, and with each of us individually.
Ever since the human lockdown in mid March, the Earth has felt substantial relief. With an enormous decrease in the use of fossil fuels, the carbon footprint has been drastically reduced and as a result we have seen less pollution and a re-emergence of wildlife.
Many believe that we are being offered a unique opportunity to use the reduced levels of CO2 output as a starting point and find ways to maintain this lower level in the coming years. However, many also fear that as we re-emerge into the world, it will be easy to fall back into our old habits without earnest intent and strict discipline.
The good news is that we have been given another chance. What remains to be seen is how we choose to move forward.
Economically speaking, there is an overwhelming need to re-evaluate as well. With many businesses being forced to shut down (albeit temporarily), consumers have explored alternative ways to satisfy their needs.
We have cooked more of our meals or done takeout and curbside pickup. We have turned towards alternative forms of exercise such as walking, biking and online workout classes. We are seeing the benefits of internet shopping as we enjoy the safety and convenience of having food and products delivered right to our doorsteps, and as additional people work effectively from home, we question the need for elaborate office space in expensive locations (or any office space for that matter).
Many of these new practices will permanently replace the old ways of doing business. We may see fewer restaurants, gyms, office buildings, and storefronts. We’ll see a difference in the way food is distributed and how we work. In an attempt to survive financially, we’ll rid ourselves of the practices that no longer work in favor of those that do.
On a personal level, I have been consumed with a similar thought process. My life and habits have changed drastically over the last few months and I’m realizing some of the new ways may be working better. I have found that coloring my hair once a month is easy, looks almost as good, and is much more time and cost effective. I have found that I can cook a meal just as well if not better than most restaurants at a fraction of the cost and that the scope and variety of workout options online may be all I need. I have realized that I don’t have to travel long distances to find adventure and outdoor activity, and I have seen the advantages of being able to work virtually.
The overall trend is towards scaling back, becoming more efficient, spending less, choosing quality over quantity, having a decreased impact on the environment, reducing meat intake, and adopting a healthier lifestyle (which values less as more). In other words, shedding what I don’t really need and building on the rest.
As the world begins to re-open and we evaluate our new and old habits, I urge everyone to give careful consideration to what is working and what is not, for the earth, for our economy and for ourselves. I hold hope that we will let go of the habits and practices that are harmful and decide wisely what to keep.
I have never been a big TV watcher. For as far back as I can remember, I could only take so much. I would have periods of binging or try out the most popular show, but the distraction never lasted long because ultimately, it didn’t make me feel good.
Since the pandemic quarantine, however, things have changed.
We have been watching TV nearly every night. With the scope, variety, and quality of shows offered by Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO at our fingertips, there is never a shortage of options. That, coupled with the need to escape from the world right now, makes the temptation hard to resist. The increase of stress, uncertainty, change, and loss in our current lives leaves us seeking relief, and with those distractions involving socialization unavailable, what’s left?
For most of us, the ritual of evening TV watching does the trick. It pulls us away from our thoughts about work, family, finances, the future, and sucks us into a world of make believe. It entertains us. It numbs us.
In the long run, however, it may be making things worse.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, watching TV before bed can have a negative effect on the quality of your sleep. Not only do you tend to stay up later to find out what happens next but the increase in programming with high levels of violence, gore, or suspense “may leave you feeling anxious and contribute to tossing and turning.” On top of that, an even bigger problem is the light emitted from the screen which disrupts your body’s natural clock and inhibits its production of melatonin, throwing off your REM sleep and resulting in morning drowsiness.
Binge watching (even during the day) can cause problems as well. According to Jenna Birch in an article in the Washington Post, How Binge Watching is Hazardous to Your Health (June 3, 2019), “binge-watching can affect your cardiovascular system, your vision, your socialization and your sleep patterns which can lead to other problems.”
Instead of planning our night around a new Netflix show, we spent some time chatting while cooking a special dinner. We played our guitars, went for a walk, and got into bed early with a good book. My eyes were closed before 10 and I had the best sleep I’ve had in days.
We are not planning to cut out TV altogether, but we do see the benefits of cutting back. With the high levels of gore, violence, and suspense in the real world right now, we don’t see a need to add more. Our vow is to look for activities that are calming, healing, and relationship building.