Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More Collective Compassion

When I open up my email on my laptop, I first have to wade through the "news" that AOL deems appropriate for its subscribers.  Often, it takes a few seconds longer for my mail to load than it does for a few grisly news items to pop up on the Huffington Post feed.  And often, I'm lured into stories that I cannot seem to turn away from, like a train wreck.

That is my challenge: to ignore the push of gore and hatred in our media.  Everywhere, they're in our faces, pushing horror stories like drug dealers with candy-colored pills.  I see it on the morning news, I see it on the front page of every newspaper, and I'm subjected to it through my email provider. All the while, as they spill the blood-letting details, they say, "Isn't it awful? Look at that child's mother crying. Aren't you glad it's not you?"

I remember that Eckert Tolle called for us to stop the perpetuation of hatred and ugliness by choosing our thoughts wisely. If we are allowing ourselves to read ugly stories and watch horror movies and let those thoughts seep into our consciousness, then we are actively promoting these acts of violence in our society. Why? Because...

Thoughts become things. 

If we want to break the cycle of hatred and violence, then we have to break our cycle of interest in these things, too, even the seemingly innocuous act of taking a peek to say, "Gosh, isn't it awful?"

Here's to more compassion and a self-regulation of media that doesn't serve to better us unless it's making money.

Monday, February 6, 2012

"Date Night" version 2.0

Thanks to my dear mother-in-law, Raf and I had the opportunity to get away last weekend for a quick overnight trip.  Now, one thing I've learned since having kids is that any time away from the needs of other people - particularly those that you've created yourself - is a vacation.  So, from the moment we shut the garage door behind us and made our way down the hill of our driveway, I was on vacation. No matter that we only went 45 minutes north.  No matter that we would be home exactly 24 hours later.  It was time away from our usual daily routine and that seemed like a vacation in itself.

After we'd checked in and gotten used to the lovely luxury of our room, we sat by the fireplace for a good long time, staring into the crackling red flames, growing increasingly attached to the quiet.  We didn't talk for a little while, just settled into the comfortable contented quiet of being alone with someone you know so well that you don't need words to be together.  I thought we might feel a bit out of sorts - you know, we're so used to being 100% available to our kids that being away from that "job" might seem weird - but it was really rather... amazing. 

At some point, I looked at Raf and thought, Yeah, this is what it's all about.

People can say all they want about marriage taking the spark out of love and attraction, but I don't buy it for a second.  It occurred to me as I sat there that one of the worst things for married people is "date night" - not the idea of getting away, really, but the idea that you can leave your house and pretend that you are dating again, that you're the people that you once were, when you were both single and giddy and had energy and didn't really know what else you wanted from your lives.  

For one thing, we're not the people we were when we were dating.... and I don't want to be. We like to talk to each other about our kids. We actually  look forward to getting back home again, even though we know it will instantly be as chaotic as it was when we left.  I love getting away together - for an hour, a day, whatever - because it reminds me that we are both still there, together, as the people we've become, with the life that we've built together. 

So long, old date night. Hello, version 2.0.