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Thursday, August 6, 2015


“Ignorance is bliss” is one of those well-worn expressions that is so multi-faceted, it has almost lost its meaning.  More often than not, it is employed in the pejorative, an insult to someone viewed as so much of a hapless rube that “they know not what they do”.  Sometimes it is applied to a child, who still lives in the magic bubble of innocence; we all assume that bubble will one day be popped without our help, so we don’t feel the need to correct the “misperception”.  Less often it is applied to one of those people who seems to live in world of their own; a self-imposed ivory tower from which they steadfastly refuse to acknowledge “reality”. 

We like to say these people are living in denial, rolling our eyes at how precious they are with their limited beliefs.  But I think it is quite possible they are on to something; as Anais Nin famously pointed out, “We don’t see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.”  And as my Dad much less famously used to say, “Garbage in, garbage out.”  We project back out into the world much of what we take in, so it is crucial to our output that our input be healthy.

Because I, like most people, get my news on the internet these days, I am constantly exposed to information I would rather not have.  There are so many things and people (Duggar alert!) I would have remained blissfully unaware of if not for headlines.  They say we should never judge a book by its cover, but the inflammatory nature of many of headlines I see makes it difficult not to make a snap judgment about the information I would like so much to avoid. 

For example, I recently saw a headline about someone finding a frog in their organic spinach mix.  Hey, I don’t need to click on that link; I’ve already got WAY TOO MUCH information.  We all know most vegetables are grown outside, and that frogs, bugs and critters galore have nibbled, peed/defecated on and in general had their way with our produce before it ever reaches our table.  But I don’t want to be reminded of it!  I give my lettuce what is at best a perfunctory wash, so you know I’ve eaten more than my fair share of grossness over the years; the point is, I am here to tell the tale, so frog pee is not lethal after all!  There was a frog in your spinach, big deal!  You wouldn’t tell a kid there is no Easter bunny, so don’t tell me about your amphibian encounter.  I don’t want to know! 
La-la-la-la-I’m-not-listening should be employed by more of us on a regular basis, I think.  We can make ourselves bat-shit-crazy by seeking out upsetting information, or we can try our damndest to maintain the peace.  You are the sheriff of your psyche and while I certainly am not advocating living as a full-blown delusional, I am saying we can do a lot better when it comes to protecting our well-being and emotional health.  Just like a steady diet of junk food is detrimental for your body, a steady diet of junk information is detrimental to your heart and soul. 

There is so much media input that I steadfastly refuse to engage with, because it is an undermining soul-suck and I can instantly feel it.  I am a world class cringer and the minute I feel that reaction happening in my body, I look away.  I think a lot of people have gotten out-of-touch with their cringe reflex; like the guy who ate only McDonald’s for a month, we can get inured to the powerful negative effect of the garbage we take in.  But the more garbage we take in, the more likely we are to put garbage out, and I don’t think that is what anyone aims to do. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:  “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.  He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.”  When we indulge in “junk” that makes us feel anxious, we are giving away our power and freedom to be happy, our freedom to bring our best selves to the table.  Yes, OBVIOUSLY a lot about life and our world SUCKS…there will always be another frog to find in your spinach.  But this is not where most of us should be putting our attention, because energy flows where our attention goes.  If you are an activist by nature and get fired up and energized by actively seeking out and fighting injustice, this is your calling and your passion and you are doing the world a great service. 

But nobody should carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, NOBODY.  If we could each commit to taking in a lot less garbage, we would be putting a lot less garbage out into the world; and I maintain a belief that most cruelty and injustice is fueled by fear, sadness and self-loathing.  Freedom from fear is really the only kind of freedom that matters, at the end of the day.  When we claim this gift for ourselves, we are more likely to share this reality with others.  Whenever you can, maintain a conscious naiveté about people and the world.  I guarantee that more often than not, you will be pleasantly surprised if you do.

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