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Bright Spots

I have a confession to make: I stopped consuming news. 

I say this as a former journalism student, a person who had a short-lived journalism career, and someone who has fervently believed for my entire adult life that it is actually my (and all of our) responsibility to know what's going on in our community.  That's the way this whole democracy thing is supposed to work, after all.

But something happened, somewhere between the debt ceiling crisis, the 47th Republican Presidential debate, and the tear-gassing of Occupy Wall Street and I just couldn't take it anymore.  I got this very clear sense that all my efforts to inform myself were making me angry, despairing, and - perhaps worst - dumber.

So I stopped.  Cold turkey, basically.

I am not so willfully ignorant as to be unaware that millions of people are still out of work, the presidential contest is already mind-numbingly cynical a year ahead of the election, and sports gods exploit children while entitled kids riot in the streets in an inconceivable protest.  The amount of bad news out there is chilling.

But here's the thing:  there's a bright spot, and I'm pretty sure it's growing.

I feel like I'm talking to a lot of people lately who are daring to dream out loud, living from their hearts.  A lot of people lately are telling me stories of transformation in their lives, saying that their dreams are coming true.  The more I step onto this new practice of mine, the more I know I am not alone. 

A friend told me this weekend that she's found a way to do potentially groundbreaking scientific research on mothers and newborns outside of the rigid confines of the academic establishment.  That seemed impossible a couple years ago but she's doing it now.  Another friend yesterday told me she's on the verge of scaling up a program she created to take art supplies and art therapy to underprivileged kids around the world.  A series of inspired synchronicities combine with hard work to look like a small miracle.

I hear these things and think Sorry NPR.  I don't need you anymore.  I want to smother the politics and the business-as-usual with a wet blanket.  I want to give all my oxygen to the small sparks of inspired work I see around me.

I'm back to my favorite MLK quote:

Darkness can not drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate can not drive out hate; only love can do that.

It gives me a little glimmer of hope, this vision of a small but growing critical mass, lighting the way.

Reader Comments (6)

My daughter and I made a pact a couple of months ago to give up consuming the news. She and I are both vulnerable to the darkness and despair that seem to permeate from every media pore. It's given us space to have lots of great conversations that otherwise a mother and her 14 year old daughter might not have and I think we're both sleeping better at night. My husband is a sports junkie so we are still exposed to things via the process of watching a football or hockey game together, but we're slowly and surely getting him to stop flipping channels during breaks in the action. I'm just now beginning to think of actually having dreams again and maybe putting them out there in the universe. Thanks for your encouragement. I hope you realize that you and your blog are part of the bright spot that you write about. You are lighting the way for yourself and others on the journey. Thanks for that.

November 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJane

I can't give up the news, but I don't dwell on it either. But I have given up a lot of tv to free up time to start my own photograpy business. Crazy in this time of economic upheaval if you ask the newsies. lol. But hey, my only question is why not?

November 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbusymomma66

You're not alone my friend. I haven't watched/read the news for years. I stick to the local Coal Creek Mountain Messenger for my canyon updates/forest news/animal sightings/pot lucks and such. ha! I feel really pathetic at times like I have my head in the sand, which I guess I do. But I just need to focus on what's positive and even NPR had to go.

November 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternell

What a wonderful, thoughtful post and entirely cool shot. It's very interesting; I've had a parallel experience. I had to scale way back on the news; I think it was slowly killing me. I hope you're right Corinna--I need that bright spot to grow. We all do.

November 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher

I just found this site and thought you might enjoy it.

November 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLogan

You're writing is beautiful Corinna. Enjoy is very much.

I Can't stop consuming news and information, but I can choose how to distill it and remind myself that I will live my life to the best, regardless of what the news is telling me.

November 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDon Chaney

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