Last night, as I started to get ready for bed, I heard the rainfall outside. And I let out a sigh of relief. Not because the region I live in needed the rainfall totals, which it does. Because I have always found the sound of rainfall to be relaxing. The sound of waterfalls and the waves gently coming ashore at the sea work this way for me as well. As a matter of fact, if I stay near a river or stream, I always find the time to open the window or door so that I can hear the sound. Moving water, for some reason, is a relaxing sound for me. Except for the sink, bathtub, shower or toilet. Those sounds are just irritating to me.
Coming into work, I knew that it was going to a fairly easy day for me. It usually is when there is rainfall. And in thinking on that – a dangerous hobby for me by the way – I started ticking off the other aural effects that set my mind into a relaxing whirl. A soft gentle breeze blowing through the summer leaves of a tree. The sounds of birds and other wildlife punctuating a lazy summer afternoon. And then my all-time favorite: the stillness of a wooded area just blanketed in a falling snow. Each of these scenarios – and probably dozens of others – will put my mind at ease, putting all thoughts into a slow pause. Just so that I can experience each of those moments in aural splendor.
And then something will interrupt my moment. A passing car. People yelling to one another. A passing plane. Or my cell phone ringing. And of all of those, the cell phone is the only one where I am tempted towards an angry response. After all, its the one thing I have complete control over. I could have powered it off, or just left it back at the house or hotel. This past summer, I had the urge to just let it slip from my fingers and “accidentally” fall into the pool. But, I halted, remembering that its intrusion is my own fault, not its little electronic self. Its my own ass I should be kicking over that.
Not that long ago, I started trying to find moments, like the ones I described above, every single day. Taking a few moments out of my day to see if I could find that one moment, where everything around me went on hold while I just experienced the moment for what it was. Now I had to pick my moments. After all, I did not want to “zone out” while I was behind the wheel of the truck, or when I was walking along the side of the road. There’s a degree of responsibility that needs to be shouldered before picking these moments. I certainly do not want to find myself in an accident or part of the front grill of a vehicle.
That has been the first part of making a conscious change to my immediate environment. The second part of that change has been a bit more subtle, which I realized yesterday morning. Every Sunday, my habit is to get up, make a cup of coffee and stare out my window or wander out to my stone circle. Then, I would come back inside, plop down in front of my Macintosh and pull up National Public Radio to listen to the news. Typically, I would stay on and listen to the news cycle at least twice through. Lately I have only listened to one full cycle of the news, and then shut down the radio app that I use to listen to NPR. I kicked up iTunes and used music as my background noise for writing and thinking and reading for the rest of the morning. As I realized this, I went back through my morning and tried to determine why I had changed my routine in this manner.
The election cycle is in full fever pitch here in the United States. That means that news stories are constantly plastered with it. The talk radio shows are nothing but wall-to-wall analysis of this little factor or that “new” revelation of this candidate or that candidate. Honestly, I am already fed up with it all. The television does not help much either. There are constant ads blaring at me about why this candidate sucks, or why this candidate is better than this other one. My Facebook feed has become wall-to-wall pronouncements of this, that or the other concerning various aspects of the political election season. Unconsciously, I decided to change the channel.
I spend less time on Facebook than I ever have before. I tend to skip most of the political stuff that others post. I focus on what people are doing and what they are talking about where their lives and daily routines are concerned. In other words, I am making the effort to invest my energy in who my friends are – not in what their political beliefs are. I honestly would rather know about what my friends’ pets and children are doing far more than whether or not they believe that Hillary Clinton broke the law with her Email server. And for those that are about to jump on the “so you don’t care about the election” bandwagon…I actually do not. How I vote (or if I even did) is really no one’s business but my own. Tell me about how your day is going…take a picture of your meal…take a selfie so I can see how you did your hair this morning. All of that is infinitely more interesting to me.
So, you want a meaty conversation? Sure, we can do that. Let’s talk about the manner in which the education system here in America seems to push more and more students to college that are not truly prepared to succeed in that environment. Let’s talk about the issues related to the Dakota Access Pipe Line near the Standing Rock reservation. Let’s talk about how you think your favorite professional baseball team is going to do. Let’s talk about how you are approaching these Winter months from a perspective of your own personal Spirituality.
The election? Not really interested. I changed that channel a few days ago. Then I ripped the channel knob off the television. So there is no going back. Sayin’.