Turning Off the Firehose

turning-off-the-firehose

As I listened to one of Rob Bell’s podcast episodes the other day, Episode 120 Wisdom Part 5, How to Think About the News. I couldn’t but let ¬†turn off the firehose, as Rob put it.

And that’s exactly how I feel whenever I open Twitter, Facebook, or turn on the television. It’s all so overwhelming but really, it’s my own fault. I’ve been confusing media with journalism. Journalism is truth-seeking, storytelling, and shining light on what needs to be exposed. There is a standard by which journalists are held to. There is a level of respect for story and for sharing what’s important.

Media is a whole other beast. As Rob explained so perfectly, media is like a firehose shooting us at point blank range of information all day long. It’s via television, Twitter, YouTube, Vines, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc. that floods us constantly with random bits and pieces, like the rapid fire Kim and Kanye nonsense, the latest political scandal news, to a viral video of a child singing in his car seat. While at the time, the trickle of information seems harmless but as we keep clicking our mouses, remote controls, or notification buttons, the trickle becomes a firehouse to the face…if we let it.

We can choose to let the firehose run, blasting us in the face with every possible scrap of information that media can point at us or we can choose to turn it off and only give attention to the things that matter to us.

We can turn off app notifications or simply go into airplane mode if we need some focus time. I totally do the whole Pavlov’s dog thing whenever my phone dings or I see a little red circle on my phone screen. It’s insanity in the making. Why would I ever choose to live life reacting to everything and not creating the life I want. But that’s exactly what I’ve done and chances are, the majority of the first world does the same.

Believe me, I’ve been there and I’m still fighting the withdrawals but hearing that podcast really put what I was feeling into words. I had been feeling truly overwhelmed and honestly, slightly depressed about everything I was trying to keep up on. ISIS, this scandal, that tragedy, climate change, claims that climate change is a myth, etc. It makes me crazy.

So part of the freedom I’m creating in 2017 is turning off the media firehose:

-I’m checking email only twice a day, noon and 8 p.m. and unsubscribing to all unnecessary newsletters, not yours, of course! ūüėČ

-Switch off all notifications on my phone.

-Engage in social media via scheduled time and not whenever I’m bored or trying to avoid a task.

-Give my time and attention to sources with integrity only.

-Curate what will bring value or positivity to others.

This is a non-negotiable. My heart and spirit can’t take the constant barrage of negativity and shallow crap that spouts from mainstream media today. It’s killing any chances that I can truly believe that people are inherently good and that our society isn’t going to hell starting tomorrow. Because after a while, if I just keep taking what the firehose is spraying, I will no longer be able to breathe. And if I can’t breathe, well…that won’t the happy ending I was planning on for my life story.

Before I put anything out into the world, I must ask myself, “Is it helpful to others or is it part of the firehouse?” Sure, I like sharing a funny video like the next person but that has to be the exception and not the rule.

What about you? Have you been able to turn off the firehouse or are you still gasping for air?

If you’re still gasping, I hope you make a pledge to yourself that you’ll hit the shutoff valve once and for all. I would love to hear how it’s going and what changes for you by doing it.

******

P.S. Connection can’t happen without comments or shares so I hope you do at least one! You’re the best.

What’s Your Story?

 

Each us is a constantly unfolding narrative, a hero in a novel no one else can write. (2)

I came across a Twitter party* the other night by Firework People (Twitter profile: @fireworkpeople or use #fireworkpeople to join the conversation on Tuesdays at 9 p.m EST) who states in their profile:

“We are a community for women who want to change the world. Encouragement is how we roll.”

Hoozah. These were my people! I joined in on the Twitter chat and one of the questions they asked was:

  • How do you think story collides with our fire?
  • What does that look like?

This instantly came to my mind:

 My fire comes from my story but it is NOT my story.

I am the fire and I choose what I want to fuel that fire.

What I meant was that my past drove me to make decisions to be where I am now, but it does not define who I am. I am who I choose to be and I choose how I want to feel. My past has nothing to do with who I am now and where I am going.  

How many of us believed that our past stories define us? Do you feel you are stuck with what life has handed you?

If so, stop it. Stop telling yourself those lies right now. I can say that because I did it.

Let me tell you a little something about my story which I don’t think I’ve shared this part before so here goes.

My father is an alcoholic. He chose alcohol over his family my entire life. I let it consume me when I was younger, almost allowing¬†his story be my story. But then I chose to write a different story. I didn’t want my kids to grow up like I did. I didn’t want them to ever question how much I loved them and that they were bigger than anything else.

I chose a husband that shares in the belief that family is first and I’m finally figuring out that I need to put myself up there as well.

My parents recently divorced after almost 47 years of marriage. It was about 42 years late but it finally happened. My mother is finally living the life she has longed for. She’s free from the anxiety, stress, and shame of living with an alcoholic. She no longer has to deal with the repercussions of his decisions, only hers.

Without getting into a lot of detail, I can say that his priorities are still the same and that he’s still living the same old story. I’ve dealt with it for many years and unfortunately, my kids got¬†a taste of what it was like not being someone’s priority. He hasn’t called to ask how they are or to see if can come by and visit. But then again, he hadn’t done that since they were babies so I wasn’t¬†be surprised. Just disappointed…again.

But we aren’t going to let that be a part of our family’s story.

Our family story is about support, doing the right thing even though the right thing isn’t what everyone else is doing, hugging, spending quality time together, hard work, making memories, saying “I forgive you” when someone says “I’m sorry” and giving love freely. And laughing. Lots and lots of laughing.

I’m still writing my story but with each new word and each new chapter, I know it’s going to have a kick-ass ending. How do I know? Because I am choosing things that bring me joy. My story is about my family, traveling, writing, reading, inspiring others, learning, and friendship.

Recently, I read a book called The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly and he said so simply:

The purpose of life is to become the best version of yourself.

That’s it! End of story. Or maybe it’s the beginning.

  • What story do you want to tell?
  • Where will you begin?
  • How do you want your story to end?

 

In light and love,

Hallie

~~~~~~~~~~

*A Twitter party, also called a Twitter chat, is when someone or group creates a hash tag around a topic and then invite their Twitter followers to follow that hash tag at a specified time and converse with other followers. They’re fun because you get to meet new people and engage in a focused and enlightening conversation.¬†

Let’s Light Some People Up

ConcertI think I know what I want to do with my life. I mean besides writing, a health/wellness coaching, raising a kick-ass family, and traveling to all corners of the world.

You know when you’re at a party and someone walks into the room and sees you, but rather than give you that plastic smile then awkwardly looking¬†for someone else more interesting to talk to, they walk straight toward you as if you were the exact person they were seeking. Yeah, me neither.

But what a cool feeling that must be! To be the kind of person people can’t wait to be around would feel like being a rock star and who doesn’t want be a rock star? And I’m not talking the “served one too many vodka tonics at a live concert, head banging, air guitar playing, and channeling Pink” kind of rock star. While that’s a helluva lot of¬†fun at the time, it makes for easy blackmail material and a nasty hangover.

No, I mean I want to make OTHER people feel like rock stars. I want to light people up when I walk into the room and make them feel like I came to the party just to talk to them.

I realized this after I spoke to a couple of friends on the phone today. I received texts from both of them after our conversations thanking me and it hit me. I should have been thanking them since I felt lighter and happier after both conversations.

Wouldn’t that be great to be that for someone else? Unfortunately, that’s not how mainstream society usually works. Most people only want to chat to you if you have something to offer, like a chance at your kick-ass Royals season tickets, or an introduction the person they REALLY want to talk to, or to borrow your crockpot.

When I was talking to the one friend, I told her something I had read a while back that was relevant to our conversation.

 

If we want something, we have to ask for it.

People aren’t mind readers and so how are they supposed to know what we need?

But we can also get what we want by showing them. If we want people to treat us with adoration, respect, love, or whatever is the desired feeling, then we have to show them by example. If I want my husband to hold my hand more, then I must first hold his.

We’ve all heard “it is more blessed to give than receive” and I felt it today after chatting with my friends. Therefore, I’m adding something else to my list of things I want to do.

I want to light people up, too. I want them to feel important, alive, amazing, and ready to take on the world or, should I say, stage?

By making other people feel awesome, it will make me feel awesome, so yeah, maybe there’s something in it for me. And I know some days I’m not going to feel like it because I about lopped off my finger cooking dinner, or I forgot to pay an important bill and my husband’s going to be √ľber pissed, or one of my kids spilled a carton of brand new seven dollar Greek yogurt all over the kitchen rug. But maybe the person I light up was having an even crummier day, like they just found out they had a terminal disease, or that their marriage was over, or they miscarried for the fourth time. It makes spilled Greek yogurt sound like no big deal.

Lighting people up and making them feel like rock stars sounds like a pretty good gig. Air guitars optional.

  • Has someone ever made you feel like a rock star?
  • What has someone said or done that lit you up on the inside?

 

How are YOU going to light someone up today? 

*****

Books I’m reading right now:

  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (Historical fiction set in WWII France)
  • The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly (Personal development)