I’ve always been sensitive and prone to anxiousness. Co-vid, a new grand baby living here and now a war has ramped it up.
The world seems to have gotten courser, more aggressive and dehumanizing. Part of that is seeing less people in our physical space. If we are mostly seeing humanity in the news and social media, it’s no wonder it feels meaner.
I felt drawn to making my environment gentler.
I have been listening to softer tunes like laid-back jazz, classical piano, folk, meditative and Celtic music. What is your favorite gentler music?
Movies & TV
I surprised myself by watching some Hallmark movies this Christmas season. In the past I looked down on the simple story telling and romance. I had the urge to watch one and I realized I liked feel-good movies. So many movies are loud, violent and fast-paced. Often, I will fall asleep in the climatic action sequence in movies. I think my brain in protecting me from the too muchness.
I recently had to turn off a show within the first 2 minutes because there was so much cursing and amorality. I know it is supposed to be “cool” to curse now. But, it actually feels badly in my body, so I don’t do it and don’t much care to listen to it.
I like the cozy mysteries on Acorn TV. Much of cable is trying to push boundaries and become more shocking. I watch little of that anymore.
Often we’ll have the TV off, so we can read instead in the evening.
I like to read cozy mysteries as well. I tend to like meaty, thinking books and I used to read a lot of thrillers as well. Now I intersperse my harder books with lighter fare. And I rarely read thrillers. I don’t need books that make my heart pound when life does that enough.
And we need to talk social media. I love it because it connects me to family, friends and people with similar interests. But, I don’t like how people talk to one another on the internet. I set a timer and limit my time. I check in with myself to see if I am feeling angry or riled up, then I step away. I also make sure I read books first before scrolling. Otherwise, I can get sucked in and never get to my book. I want to make sure what I am reading is worth my time and attention.
Instead of listening to music on a drive, I will sometimes sit in the silence. I never used to drive in silence. But, now there is so little quiet I crave it. I also find silence in the shower, sometimes when I do chores, and I sit in silence a few minutes most mornings.
I like space in my environment. A clear desk. Nothing on the piano bench. Room to eat at the kitchen table. I can think better. A lot of clutter is noisy in my head. I am still picking up from when we all had Co-vid and the mess has made me more scattered and distracted.
I also like space in my calendar. I decided this year that as much as possible I wouldn’t make appointments the last week of each month. I also added some non-work days in the calendar.
And space in my heart. I don’t want to close off because of it all. I don’t want to create enemies of people in other “tribes.” So I need space to check in with my heart, to pry it back open, to write in my journal and feel. If we are to be caring and gentle with people we must cultivate that open heart.
It can feel weird to turn your back on edgy and coarse. I am willing to be counter-cultural. I am living this life with intention. And right now, I intend to create a gentler environment for me and my family.