A Moment of Awakening
Like many of my friends, I became a news junkie after the last election. As soon as I got up in the morning, I turned to Alexa (a contraption I had sworn I’d never use) and asked her to play MSNBC. The minute I got into the car, I’d tune into MSNBC. And whenever I was stopped at a traffic light, I’d pick up my phone to check for the most recent headlines.
While I knew this obsession wasn’t good for me, was in fact damaging, I couldn’t seem to stop. I became more and more hungry for the latest Washington outrage, or the most up-to-date tidbit from the Mueller investigation. As a result, my days were anything but relaxed. I was tense waiting for the next explosion and even tenser once it detonated, the tension accumulating as the day progressed.
Of course, I’d told myself many times that I had to stop listening. That it wasn’t good for me. That being informed didn’t really empower me. That knowing wouldn’t change what was happening. Or even prepare me for the worst. That all it was doing was intensifying my fight-or-flight response.
Then, last Friday, as I was crossing the street to make a deposit at the bank, I stopped to wait for a car turning left. As the car approached, then passed, I heard the most exquisite piano sonata flowing out the driver’s open window.
It was as if the music were floating from the car into the air and toward me, the measures and notes surrounding me with the most delicious sound. I took a deep breath and thought, Instead of listening to all the bad news day after day, hour after hour, I could be listening to this.
And in that one small moment, I knew that my two-year-old habit (read addiction) had been broken. I cannot say that I have stopped listening to the news completely. But I can tell you that I now have both classical music and opera stations programmed in my car. And at home, I often request that Alexa play jazz.