First I Make Tea, Then I Open The Paper

Six months ago I started this blog with the intent of challenging myself to view news with compassion.

I asked myself questions like: how can I truly engage in that which is different from me without allowing it to cull me back into fear.

To read the news on a daily basis is to be thrown without mercy into the truth that humanity has an infinite capacity for fear, which leads many to make choices that harm others.

To be affected by the suffering of others without having any tangible way to help alleviate that suffering.

It is to see that not only is there some pretty scary shit out there, but there are those who choose to make money competing for the most dramatic angle of the stories in order to pull in the highest marketing revenue.

Yuck.

I feared that facing these truths every day would leave me closed-hearted and disillusioned. Because, in the past, I allowed the news to dictate how I experienced it.

I assumed three years ago that the best way to avoid this feeling of disillusionment, which threatened to harden my heart to the intrinsic good of humanity (our infinite capacity for love), was to avoid the news as best as I could.

Taking a break helped. It did. I needed a good long break. Because I was coming at the news without purpose. I allowed the news to affect me exactly as it was presented by mass media.

I dutifully read headlines and articles because good citizens stay informed.

Right?

But in taking my break and in coming back to the news, I have been able to see that I have choices in being an informed person.

I choose what I read. I choose when I read it. If a subject interests me, I choose to read several different points of view. Because no one article, as filled with facts as it may be, can ever reveal the whole story.

Day two in creative writing 101 we learn one lesson: use the senses to tell your story.

Because it helps the reader feel like (s)he is there.

But news articles about events rarely take this approach.

There is who, what, when, possibly how. As in, how you should feel that this news affects you. But even the how is often implied in basic articles about events. This is why the media have different types of articles. Why in-depth analysis articles or series of articles exist.
And though these articles are often written by trusted journalists with experience and credibility in an area, I still read them with an awareness that it is only one point of view.

This is important for me.

If I get lost in the world of mass media, it’s because I have given up my power to the wave of several other’s agendas, opinions, and experiences which color their way of perceiving the world.

But I have my own opinions, thoughts, feelings, beliefs.

My agenda is to find love in this world every day. And some days that is fucking hard.

When headlines are about murders, human trafficking, war, shoulder shrugging in the face of mass suffering, politicians racing for office, it’s really difficult for me to not get swallowed up by this wall of yuck that is being presented as The News.

When I think back to the articles that have affected me most, I remember one about a man who was attacked brutally, an attack that was racially motivated, and when given the opportunity to speak to the media, this man used the chance to speak to his attackers.

He said that he forgave them. He still had bruises. He wanted to help relieve their suffering.

Because when we see the world through the eyes of our heart, we see that those who choose to harm others are truly suffering.

We see that although they do not feel deserving of kindness and compassion and joy and inclusiveness, they are, as is every human being.

That man and his way of seeing the world was such an inspiration that it stuck with me all these years later.

Through all the stories of gruesome violence.

Through all the reports of harm and cruelty and hatred and dismissal.

It was more powerful to me than any of that other stuff. It lead me on my own path that began with one question: how can he do that?

And the more I answered this question for myself, the more powerful I felt in embracing my own suffering, in walking through my own fear, in learning to find compassion for myself, and therefore for every human.

It’s not easy. There are some awful things out there that people choose to do to hurt others. Intentionally.

And on my journey, it was intent that snagged me. Because it’s easier to have compassion for someone who unknowingly causes harm.

Through this coming back to the news, I’ve challenged myself to find compassion for people who choose to harm with the intent to harm.

I could not understand it at first. Why anyone would want to hurt another. How can hurting another make anyone feel good?

I’ve come to see how deeply these people are suffering. How unskilled they are in being able to make different choices. How disempowered they feel. How afraid. How confused.

When love is seen as hurtful, how can we get to a point of seeing love clearly? It takes work. It takes courage and insight and patience and a willingness to change, a willingness to question our ego.

It took courage for me to come back to the news not knowing for sure if I could do so without getting lost in fear again.

I don’t believe that the world is shit. It’s been shown that we have an infinite capacity for fear. If we have infinite capacity for fear, then we have infinite capacity for love, compassion.

When the world is presented as shit, I can feel the suffering, I can wish love for those suffering, I can do what I can to help alleviate that suffering and accept the suffering I witness that I cannot do anything to alleviate.

I can shift my focus and find joy and laughter, I can step back and get a greater perspective.

It’s the difference between giving up my power to the way others present the world and accepting my power to make choices and to stay in my belief that love is just as strong and present in this world.

Today. Right now. Every day.
I choose Love. Again and again.

.

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Author: tendrilwise

Hi, I have a diploma in Journalism, I've published a novel, and I am currently studying psychology. My odd way of viewing the world either gets me kicked out of parties or invited to them. Jenn McKay

8 thoughts on “First I Make Tea, Then I Open The Paper”

  1. Hey Jenn,

    I agree, sometimes reading the news filled with hate, bitterness, murder and then the political agenda can be disheartening to say the least. But every now and again you get that story that really touches your heart and mind.

    I like how you have handled the news and your perspective. I get saddened rather than fear and always feel we are going in the wrong direction and then that one story again gives me the lift and my faith is restored again.

    There are a lot of broken people out there who could not embrace love because they have never had it. But if you start with the self and send it out there is heaps of possibility for it to mend and change us.

    I enjoy your posts and your spin on them. Look forward to the next one.

    Rachel.

    Like

  2. Hey Rachel,

    Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing on Twitter!

    When I use the term fear, I’m using it in the sense of fear versus love.

    When I am able to open my heart and read the news, I feel love and compassion for everyone involved.

    It’s an act of balance. To engage with the world coming through a platform where the main focus is on fear, without allowing myself to get caught up in that fear.

    For me, finding balance means constantly checking in with myself to see how open my heart is versus how I’m getting caught in fear.

    Jenn

    Like

  3. Hey Jenn,

    I could definitely relate to your previous decision. I have cut back on the news because I didn’t like the impact it had on my thinking and views of the world, and people as a whole. I still take it in from time to time but I don’t read the paper daily as my social studies teacher would suggest.

    Now when I do watch or read it I noticed that I’m not having the same experience as I did before. Perhaps I came to realize the same you did. I guess it’s just another way of growth.

    I love that you’ve come into this epiphany. We all need to focus on the joy. It’s about the bigger picture as you said.

    ~Lea

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Lea, thanks for reading and commenting.

      I found that being a news junkie three+ years ago meant I had to close my heart to face the fear that mass media focuses on.

      It became overwhelming.

      But now that I have a different approach, I can keep my heart open while reading the news.

      Jenn

      Like

  4. Hey Jenn,

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

    What you say is so true, watching or reading the news is disturbing. The sad part is also the fact that it is all about sensation, which is why we hardly ever see any good news – it is just not “sensational” enough.

    I recently watched a television program about some top TV journalists going into Africa. As they entered into countries where there were peace, they just packed up and left, because there were no “sensation to report on” as they put it.

    Sad but true.

    By choosing love, you can’t go wrong.

    Enjoy your day, Jenn.

    Jaco.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jenn

    I enjoyed reading this post and the passion with which you wrote it made it all the more impacting.

    I agree with the approach of not allowing he news to get under your skin and control how much of it you really listen to or read. There are lots of bad things happening around us, but the world is still a beautiful place. Our trust must be in a higher power – He is the Creator and placing our trust there will help in minimizing the fear that we tend to have. We have the ability to love and the capacity to forgive.

    As to the helplessness we feel to help human in their time of suffering, it is so real. We are move with compassion and the action that we can take though we be miles away from the event is to pray. That I find helps me a lot.

    Thanks for a great post which resonated with me. Blessings! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Yvonne, thank you for reading, commenting and sharing!

      I agree with you. Prayer does help when faced with the helpless feeling of witnessing suffering that we cannot alleviate in person.

      Our capacity for love is alive!! Even as fear keeps going. This brings me joy 😀

      Jenn

      Liked by 1 person

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