- Glenn Sonnenberg
Musings from the Bunker 3/27/20
Happy Friday everyone!
Yes, I know. We all share the same Horoscope and will be spending the weekend at home! Let’s try to get outdoors—appreciate the weather, take a stroll, and enjoy the beauty, but at a safe distance from others!
As we head toward the weekend, I have adopted a new mind-set to the news. I am heeding myself and suggest other of you news addicts (you know who you are) to consider the same. Particularly with the Sunday shows on the way, we need to be vigilant…
TURN OFF THE NEWS!
Seriously. We all want to be informed and many of us are news junkies of the highest order. We are bombarded by news, yet just can’t seem to get enough of that drug. Even in non-pandemic times, the news has become a form of non-stop entertainment (and not in a good way). In these times, we turn to the news to relieve our anxiety—to get better information—to not miss that one critical interview or study or spin. But in the end, we’re just increasing our anxiety.
It’s not healthy. If we allow ourselves, we can find ourselves pinned to CNN, listening to the 14th successive “expert” providing yet another bleak report. How much time can we squander reading on-line newspapers? And, worst of all, is Facebook really making us better people?
We are suffering news overload and that is leading to anxiety overload.
I have new rules to keep myself in line, present and SANE! These are just my own limits:
No more than one hour of broadcast news a day
Read the NYT, WSJ, LA Times twice each, morning and afternoon
Facebook 15 minutes every third day
The world will not change if I miss a bit of news. Plus, all of the news outlets will reiterate, recapitulate, summarize, dissect and analyze that same news infinite times later, when I check back in.
“Self help” means reducing our anxiety, while remaining informed and staying present…
DON’T BE BORED!
WAYS TO HELP
I’ve promised to share stories of people making a difference. This is the Children’s Institute (www.childrensinstitute.org) and organizations like it are open for business, even though schools and parks are shut down, and it’s challenging:
Even though preschool classrooms are closed, staff are distributing lunches and snacks that the kids would otherwise not get, together with activity sheets with ideas for parents.
The development staff has been redeployed to get donations or purchase massive amounts of essential supplies (diapers, soap, non-perishable food, etc.).
Books, puzzles, art supplies and other educational materials for all ages bare being distributed; otherwise kids will be glued to TV and video games, with very little physical activity, and with frustrated and panicked parents.
Mental health and other supportive services have been retooled so staff can work from home. Phone and video conference meetings substitute for face to face meetings, in order to continue providing much needed therapy and case management to families.
AND THE PEOPLE STAYED HOME
These Musings have spent the past two weeks focused on creating quality out of solitude, to find order amidst chaos, and provide a connection to ideas and humor related to the moment in which we are living.
I can think of no better way to welcome the weekend than sharing this poem by Kitty O’Meara, written early in this pandemic:
"And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed."
Finally, heading into the weekend with Jeff Gates’s photo of the cherry blossoms in Georgia:
A warm Shabbat, a Happy Weekend and Peace,