“What you consume, you become.”glennon doyle
Dear One, we are living in the age of overwhelm and over-saturation. Between our own brain’s evolution & the system benefiting from capturing our attention, it can feel nearly impossible to live from an awakened heart.
If you want to feel good about watching the news or consuming social media, this one’s for you!
Ready to learn what’s possible when you drown out the noise, let in the silence, and learn the secret language of your intuitive wisdom? Let’s go!
Your attention problem is not your fault.
- You didn’t choose to live in an age when the richest, most powerful tech companies in the world are putting their limitless resources behind figuring out how to get and keep your eyeballs on a screen all hours of the day.
- You can’t help that you were born in a time when 90% of the data in the world was created in the last two years.
- You didn’t ask for the endless bombardment of information – whether it’s positive or negative.
- And then there’s the smartphone. I learned from Silicon Valley that the smartphone has more processing power than the Apollo Mission Control. So your phone could take you to the moon… or just put that power into distracting you.
- The rise of the 24-hour news network has led to more divisive politics, checked-out citizens, and embittered empaths than any thing humans have ever experienced.
All of this information overload normalizes numbing out. The paralyzing consensus is, if I can’t do everything to change the world, I just won’t do anything. Or much worse, the idea that – if the world is this bad, it’s not worth saving.
There’s a sadness that emerges as we learn about this system we’re trapped in. Some part of us senses that we don’t want to miss the life that’s right here. We want to heal the severed connection to each other and the world, to come home to the truth of our belonging.
If you’ve landed in Luminous Leanings, you care about your awakening, you care about overcoming the negativity bias and choosing to walk in the light of consciousness. So let’s hold space for the grief – for the things out of our control, and let’s dream of a better future and take action to build it together!
As a content creator, if i’m not saying anything impactful or meaningful, I’d rather not say anything at all! We don’t need people to add to the noise – we need people honing their craft & sharing their unique message in the way that only they can to reach the people who need to hear it from them.
Information is power.
We can’t deny it just feels good to learn new things! Our brains like learning more information to protect themselves, outlive and outrun all others. Our egos like knowing the MOST, which is just another effort to belong, which is just another way to survive. Belonging is the core drive of pack animals. This is how we are built.
So why doesn’t it feel good to over-consume media, specifically the news and social media? What begins as a dopamine hit or a info fix that makes our brains feel safer and more informed, can quickly derail our nervous systems. Our cognitive default is towards what is harmful, this is our negativity bias. The human brain evolved to keep us safe by prioritizing negative information and hanging on longer to bad experiences. This default explains the journalism adage, “If it bleeds, it leads!”
We’re wired to pay more attention to the carnage, and the system is set up to make money off of what we pay attention to. It’s a rigged game, and luckily it’s one we can step out of once we wake up to it.
Knowing our wiring is key. Only then can we awaken, evolve, and push past our base instincts, while holding them with understanding and compassion.
Silence is golden.
“Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence.”Jorge Luis Borges
“Silence is the language of God. All else is poor translation.”rumi
Do you feel like you need background noise on all day long? Can you not stand stillness & silence? You’re not alone.
The impulse that drives you to pick up your phone 58 times a day is the same one that keeps you jumping out of your skin during a meditation session. Escapism is to resist presence, and it’s an epidemic of the spirit.
Tara Brach’s favorite inquiry is, “What are you unwilling to feel?”
All the noise, distractions, and escapes are our ego’s way of getting out of answering this very question! For most of us, the bottom line is: We don’t want to feel our mortality. We want to pretend death isn’t coming for us and everyone we love. We’re so afraid of our own demise that we stay busy and “connected” as a way to numb to the reality. The only problem is: We end up closing our hearts off to the life that’s right here in the present moment.
Silence is where the magic happens, Dear One. It’s where the channel opens. It’s how the Divine speaks through us. It’s how creativity is manifested. If you wanna fast track your presence and mindfulness habits, get silent. And, rather than resisting the mental chatter that arises as a result, get really curious about it. You can’t drown it out and then wonder why it continues to pop up other places like a whack-a-mole! That chatter is there for a reason – it wants to be heard. You can only hear it and face it when you get quiet.
The benefits of silence abound! Especially for creative entrepreneurs, silence is like a holy sacrament. Make it a habit to create every day before you consume. Marie Forleo taught me this magic trick, and it changed everything. Consuming includes email, insta-scrolling, checking the news, responding to that text, tuning into that podcast… everything! On days I do my morning pages first, I can stand in my truth as a creator without comparing myself to anyone else.
Self-care and creativity go hand in hand! So even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, your self-care is an act of creation. Meditation is creation, it is an art form and a cultivation of new brain patterns and resulting life patterns! So resist the urge to check e-mail before your meditation practice, and see what shifts.
Silence plus intention equals focus! To batten down the hatches, buckle down, bang one out. Getting in the zone, getting in the flow is sped up by silence.
Silence here doesn’t just mean quiet, it can also mean clutter-free spaces, closing all your browser tabs, or making a list that helps you go step-by-step. It’s the space between your to do’s, the space between the in and out breath. The holy instants where you remember you have a choice to either remain stuck in the cycles beyond your control or wake the eff up!
Perhaps the most profound by-product of silence is to know thyself. The inner stillness that can’t be touched by outside noise. It’s cultivated over a lifetime of practice. It’s meeting yourself and then loving yourself fully. So lean into the silence, there is so much good stuff in there just waiting for you!
Boundaries make good on intentions.
Okay. So, now that we know we were born with these brains that obsess over the negative, and we were born into this environment where that obsession is exploited, what do we do? How can we wake up and choose the silence that has the medicine and magic in it we need?
By setting boundaries around the noise!
Let’s begin with installing our Information Filtration System (IFS).
Did anyone else grow up hearing that song, “Oh be careful little ears what you hear, Oh be careful little ears what you hear. For the father up above is looking down in love, Oh be careful little ears what you hear”? The lyrics then shift into, “Be careful little eyes what you see.” Growing up in a Christian home, I was taught that God was always watching and therefore to resist temptation was to resist punishment. I was also taught “garbage in, garbage out,” meaning if you consume meaningless trash, you will only put meaningless trash out into the world.
While I now reject the sin and shame implications of these messages, I stick by the value of filtering what we take in as a way to protect ourselves. We especially protect our energy when we do this. By caring for our nervous systems so that they don’t get high-jacked by something on our phones, we practice self-compassion and energetic resilience.
To install your IFS, simply notice (1) what you’re taking in and (2) how it’s affecting you. Practice embodiment and mindfulness to tune into any tension, contraction, or panic in the mind and body. When you notice it, say, “This thing isn’t serving me. It’s not uplifting me or contributing to my well-being.”
Once you’ve installed your IFS, you can then either drop the thing altogether or create moderation. The news almost never makes me feel good, but I recognize that it is outside of my values to drop it altogether and be uninformed and disconnected from the world I love. So the news is something I choose to consume in moderation. And moderation brings us to boundaries.
You’ve heard of SMART goals – set a SMART boundary! It should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
Write out some boundaries right now – create one for your phone, one for social media, one for the news, one for TV or streaming, or one for whatever you struggle with. Here are some examples of boundaries straight outta my playbook. I’m not perfect at these every day, but they help guide my intentions:
- Phone Boundary: I will not use my phone in the bedroom for anything other than meditation. I will keep my phone on airplane mode from 9pm until after my morning routine. I will place my phone on the dining room table when I’m hanging out and relaxing in the living room. I will only turn on notifications from my calendar and texting apps.
- Social Media Boundary: I will keep addictive apps like Instagram and Facebook off my home screen and out of my notifications. I will use social media intentionally – setting specific goals for a session and reminding myself when I’m getting sucked down a rabbit hole. I will follow accounts that diversify my feed, teach me new things, and make me feel good. I will unfollow accounts that increase my anxiety, feelings of separateness, or contribute to comparisonitis.
- News Boundary: I will only seek out news once a day, on my lunch break for 20 minutes. I will never check the news before I meditate.
- TV/Streaming Boundary: I will not watch more than 3 episodes of a show, or more than 1 movie and 1 episode of a show in a single day.
Perhaps it’s a time of day you tend to reach for distraction – like habitually turning on a podcast for your daily walk or shower. This isn’t bad or wrong, but can you challenge yourself to – every once in a while – simply be with the silence? If you’re systematically uprooting silence throughout the day, set an intention to seed it back in. I am currently trying to just notice when I’m reaching for a silence-filler and why.
Put inspiration into action.
Finally, Dear One, consuming inspirational content is great. I’ve learned so much from the University of podcasts, and don’t know where I’d be without certain self-help authors!
But don’t fall into the trap of binging inspirational content without taking action to implement the lessons in your own life! Don’t be a mindless, passive consumer of content. Be a radical change maker who acts on inspiration! Let the space in-between inspiration be filled only with your intuition showing you what to do with what you’ve just learned. Trust yourself to contribute your wisdom, and protect that wisdom through intentionally practicing silence and self-care.