Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Turning off TV to turn up for me

You're beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal... In God's name, you people are the real thing; we're the illusion." Howard Beale character in Paddy Chayevski's film"Network".
Years ago, dare I say 'many' years ago in my twenties, I was transferred from Toronto to Edmonton. New to the city, I looked for somewhere to live that was charming and relaxing.

I found the perfect spot, forty-five minutes northwest of the city. Every evening after work, I'd leave my office, jump into my car and drive homeward into the setting sun. Stresses of the day would lift off and I would imagine them blowing into the wind of my open sunroof. By the time I arrived home to my little house on a hillside protected by a grove of trees, I would be ready for an evening of reading, writing and walking in the hills. Situated on the backside of a small ski area, I could walk for hours without encountering a soul. My neighbour's homes were scattered amidst the hills and I seldom saw them.

When the evening's were dark, I'd walk by the light of the moon on the dirt road leading through the small enclave of homes where my house was situated. As I walked, I could see blue light flickering in the windows of the houses nestled amongst the trees. I didn't have a TV so wasn't tempted to race home and turn it on to catch up on the latest drama. I remember thinking that I didn't want a TV. I had enough drama in my life without inviting in hundreds of other people's stuff, imagined or not. Even in my twenties, I knew avoiding my 'stuff', would not get me through it. I needed to embrace it and work with it to get to where I wanted to be.

Years later, I still have a love/hate relationship with TV. The difference today is, I have TV in my home.

Until they were in their teens, my daughters grew up without TV. And then I weakened. Someone gave me one. I bought one. And now, in this house, we have three TV -- two 'donated', one purchased.


What a drain on my resources a TV is.

Noticed it big time last night. I came home. C.C. is away for a few days and I had an evening to myself. Alexis, my eldest daughter, was on her way out to meet her sister and I had only the puppies to keep me company. Made myself dinner. Puttered around the kitchen for awhile, took the dogs for a walk and came home. I thought about painting, but didn't feel like hauling out all the stuff.

"You're tired," my critter mind whispered into my ear. "You deserve to just put your feet up and relax."

"Good idea," my healthy self thought. "I'll do some journalling. Meditate. Read for awhile and get an early night."

"No!" My critter mind rose up into its beastly form. "Don't do that. Turn on the TV. Relax. I'm sure there's something worth watching. Just watch it for an hour. Relax. You can do the other stuff later."

Challenge with 'later' in TV time is, later never comes. Caught in a James Bond thriller, I never turned it off, never got to what I had wanted to do. The healthy, caring, loving things I need to do that keep me nourished and balanced on the road of living this one, wild and precious life for all I'm worth.

I'm telling on myself here. Have to. TV is interfering with my living. I need to acknowledge it. Face it and embrace my fear of appearing less than when I acknowledge I slipped, fell back, fell down on my commitment to doing more of what works in my life, more of what creates the life of my dreams.

Need to find value in an evening of TV.

And the value is.... [insert drum roll] -- there is no value in vacant staring at vacuous programming that is designed to dull my mind and weaken my resolve to living life for all I'm worth.

The value is in turning away from the flickering screen. Not flicking the flicker ON. The value is in acknowledging -- watching TV does not get me more of what I want. Being immersed in my own creative processes gets me everything I want.

Not the end of the world. But it is a pattern I need to gently and lovingly change. With a TV in our bedroom, most nights end with the news droning on in my sleep. I like news. I just don't need to go to sleep with my mind filled with the world's woes pounding away at the shores of my slumber, or, (and I must admit it's my favourite show) Law & Order's unfolding of yet another heinous crime reeling in my brain.With my awareness of TV's drain on my contentment, I have the tools to step into my power and turn on my life with creative processes that nurture and nourish me. I have the power to make a difference in my own life by doing the things I love, the things that say, "You're worth living it up for." And TV isn't one of them!

The question is: Are you draining your resources on mindless programming that doesn't inspire nor excite your life? Are you watching other lives unfold and missing the excitement of living it up in your own existence?

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