The above graphic is from Kristin Noelle. Her site Trust Tending sends out these beautiful little Trust Notes each week and they are simply delightful. She has all sorts of other great free and wonderful things you can sign up for as well.
About two months ago for a variety of reasons I decided to get rid of TV (note that I did wait until after football season was over). Everyone has their vice right? But for me it went back to looking more closely at my life and living more intentionally. Although I didn’t watch a whole lot of tv I would find myself turning it on and watching things that after an hour I wondered… did I really need to know which flat they chose in London, or what the final outcome of the Extreme Makeover was? And all watching the Food Network all it would do is make me hungry… and I wasn’t working on things that were truly feeding me. Right now I am focusing on saving money, on putting my time and energy into things that deserve them and I realized TV didn’t fit for me anymore. After getting sick and not turning it on for a few days I decide to take the plunge and I decided to make it into a fun experiment and get rid of TV, at least for the summer.
Giving up TV for the first week or so was a bit tough because it is so instinctual to come in the house and turn it on, “catch up” on the day and what I missed. But I realize that with all of the access to news online and listening to NPR I am still up to date with current events. I also worried about whether or not I would have something to talk about with certain people if we didn’t share our stories of the most recent episode of X show… but I am realizing that we are having better conversations about ourselves rather than some other stranger’s life.
Sometimes there is an echoey silence when there isn’t radio or TV on to fill it. So it started me thinking about silence, and what would happen if I truly befriended silence, and thus the 40 Days of Silence was born.
I have been reading and writing more, I have been listening to more music, I have been getting more restful sleep, I have been working out more, I have been praying and meditating more, I have been outside more, I have enjoyed my silence more, and one of the unexpected benefits is that I am more content. When I do go online to watch my shows that I watch I do so intentionally, with the purpose of enjoying them, not as a default setting or as filler.
What has brought me the most peace is not having the constant underlying reminders of what I “need”, what I “can’t live without” and how I don’t “measure up” – the empty promises IF I got this certain product or service my life would be amazing. The average American consumes over 3,000 ads per day, between radio, TV, billboards, newspapers, online etc. and it seeps into our subconscious coloring our opinions of ourselves and our lives.
Another unexpected benefit is that I have been having some great conversations as a result of this little experiment. Turns out several of my friends have done this at the same time without really talking about it, and I have yet to find one that wishes they had it back. It also has created some great conversation about what role the TV plays in our lives. And for many it isn’t about cutting it out completely so much as it is being more mindful about it, for many it isn’t something they want to consider but the talk of an experiment to change something inspires them to think of some other experiment they have been toying with but haven’t yet done.
What experiment would push your comfort zone? What kind of experiment could create more space for you to follow your dreams, to invite more fun and joy into your life, to create deeper relationships? What kind of experiment could get you out of your rut and into your radiant life?