Back in 1984, I was in journalism school. I remember each professor made it a point to remind us during every class, that you never print a story without multiple sources being fact checked and verified. It was the tenet of every good journalist and their editors to follow this principle. We were taught only editorials should be opinion and all news stories should be objective and factual.
Fast forward to today and those sacred journalism rules are out the window. News programming is anything but objective and more importantly it’s called programming for a reason. Pundits sit around a table and convince you their analysis is fact. Pick any news station and you will find all day programming, bias towards one side or the other. Public relations groups are in high gear to create popular news “personalities” with a cult like status. Many of these personalities don’t even have a journalism degree but have the look and the character to help manipulate the masses and fit the agenda of the day.
Fear is the big seller here and the scarier the better. Fear and violence keep TVs turned on and sponsors paying a large premium for ad space, knowing they have a captive audience. Is it an industry out of control? I would say yes. Just look around. Flip the channels, read the online papers and scroll social media sites. If you begin to look objectively, can you see how the same programming keeps running? The real tragedy is that most people have become so numbed to this form of journalism, they have very little expectations or desire to seek out the truth. They take it at face value, often assuming what they read, see or hear in the papers, television and social media is accurate.
Investigative journalism seems to have died years ago. Today, we have a bad reality TV show playing out all over the airwaves. And we just accept it, keeping the channel turned on. It’s addictive. It gets our adrenaline pumping and releases other chemicals that keep us addicted to watching more and more.
Imagine what would happen if people started exploring and researching alternative non-mainstream platforms with “boots on the ground” journalists offering objective, just-the-facts reporting? What if we became interested and educated in other viewpoints. What would happen if we all slowed down, practiced being more present in the moment, and asked ourselves; does something feel off? Am I being fed the same narrative over and over again? Am I being programmed to live in fear and despair? Have I lost my connection to myself and others, getting caught up in the anxiety, stress and frenetic energy swirling around me? Are stories that don’t fit the mainstream narrative being censored?
Maybe, just maybe, more people will begin to awaken, take a mindful pause and be open to the idea that maybe not everything is as it seems.
What if we see this time as a great awakening. A time of great slowing down like we may never have before and an opportunity for us to look at areas of our lives where we might be stuck. What if we breathe deeply into the space where most of our resistance resides, try and release that tension with a deep exhale and become the silent “observer” of our own lives.
What if you begin to ask yourself; What is it I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t been able to find the time for? Could the time be now? What is it that I am unhappy with? What has become unfulfilling; where you live, your job, your career or your relationship? What areas of your life are unbalanced and need more attention?
What if you let go of self-judgement and gave yourself some much-needed permission to begin exploring new hobbies, new books, a spiritual class or a new way of living? Could you go deeper in a practice that you know would bring you joy, peace and comfort? Have you developed an appreciation for the quiet and the simplicity that this time has brought? Have you gained more clarity and found your inner strength? Are you more aware of your core values and developed a curiosity about spirituality? Do you notice you may have some resistance to making any changes, trying new things or exploring new ideas? Do you know where this resistance is coming from? Maybe now is the time to take that leap of faith and discover a deeper sense of who you are, what you believe and what you're longing for in life.
"Awareness is the greatest agent for change." - Eckhart Tolle
Think of this moment as a time windfall. So many of us have had limited time in the past for ourselves, our family, partner and friends. We’ve become so accustomed to being over scheduled and rushing through our days with too many demands and deadlines that we hardly notice what we are doing, thinking or feeling.
On one hand, it can feel uncomfortable with so much time on our hands that we struggle to fill the hours and days on our calendar. On the other, it can be a blessing in disguise if we sit with the discomfort and ask ourselves; what is it I truly need or want to feel secure, happy and fulfilled? You may not have a full understanding at first, but the more time you spend in quiet reflection and meditation, the closer you become to that consciousness.
Embrace all the change that is occurring right now as much as you can. We are so used to our routines and we can find comfort in the familiarity, especially in times of crisis or pain. But there is also a time to let go of the controls and just allow life to unfold and be present in the moment. As Eckhart Tolle explains in The Power of Now, there is a time for doing and a time for being. When we stop the resistance, the expectations and the fighting against what is, in this present moment, we can find more peace and happiness within ourselves. To become more present, is to sit, reflect and enjoy the moment that is happening right here and now. It is also about bearing witness to what needs to change, what you hold of value and what you can do to work towards creating more of it. Try not to judge but become the observer of your life. Witness the struggles, the joy, the happiness and the pain, remembering that individual moments don’t define you, they make you human.
One action item you can do right now is to spend time in meditation and notice what arises. Take a few minutes and write down what it feels like to focus your attention on these important things. What is working and what isn’t working for you right now? What is keeping you stuck? What would life feel like if you started to move in the direction of your hopes and dreams?
Becoming more still and allowing your conscious awareness to unfold, opens the doors to peace and unlimited possibilities.
Peace, love and pear!
* These and many other "big life" questions can be found in my Soulful Connections card deck. All 120 questions are designed to help you explore and discover your passion, power and purpose.