Heads up, this newsletter might be controversial.
But, I hold you, the people who chose to receive a letter from me every week, in great love and respect. And I want to be real with you.
I read no news whatsoever about what happened in the Middle East. I saw no images. I consciously chose not to.
I respect the people in my community who choose to be informed and get involved.
Either as activists lobbying politicians and the public for better actions.
Or as humanitarians, supporting those who need it the most.
Research shows that the best way to deal with our compassion pain is to help.
I am writing this note to offer two new perspectives.
1. You do not need to be informed about everything on the news
There is a lot happening in this world, good and bad. You can only direct your attention to a handful of things.
When you choose to direct your attention to a cause, you simultaneously choose to ignore thousands of other causes.
There are wars, famines, sicknesses, human rights violations, exploitation and abuse in all parts of the world. There is also a lot more love, innovation, creativity, humanity and progress.
As you can only hold, be informed and take action on a handful of causes, you inevitably stay away from others.
That does not mean the causes you do not choose are not important. Nor does it mean you do not care and want a healthy resolution.
It simply means that you decided that you are not the best person to help there. Your talents will be better used somewhere else.
Just like we need healers and teachers and people who build roads, we need different people working on different causes.
Maybe what is happening now in the Middle East is one of the few causes you want to get deep knowledge on, take action and make a difference. That is admirable.
Or, you may choose to help the world differently. In that case, staying away from the news may be the most responsible thing you can do.
News outlets usually stimulate intense emotional responses of fear and anger. They shift our attention to the worst part of life and humanity.
With political and commercial propaganda and a high level of “fakeness”, it has become worse in recent years.
In a world that idolizes staying on top of everything, you might be better off avoiding certain information. Or switching off your phone entirely.
Especially if it negatively affects your mental health.
Overconsuming the news can give us a false sense of control while keeping us in a constant fight-or-flight state. When we are in a deeply stressed, survival mode, we are in the worst position to help anyone.
Focusing on specific causes does not mean ignoring the people you are uniquely positioned to help.
You do not want to keep walking when a person on the side of your road needs you to call a doctor, for example.
But, you also want to avoid being the morbid bypasser. The one who stops their car out of curiosity when they see an accident on the road and blocks the ambulance and fire brigade from doing their jobs.
We all have a unique role to play in the global healing and evolution of the planet. Your role is crucial, whether it is on a cause covered by the media or not.
Embracing the FOMO and choosing to be uninformed about certain events so that you can do your best work on your mission is a valid path. I want to point it out to everyone who wishes to take it.
2. The pain the world is feeling belongs here
As an empath, I still absorbed a lot of the pain of my human community in the last few days. I did not need to know precisely what happened to do so.
Even if you keep your head in the sand, if a part of your body is hurt, you will feel it. We are all connected.
Pain is not the problem. Pain has always been a messenger that something is wrong.
If you are holding your hand in the fire, you will feel pain so that you move it. If you do not, it will get destroyed.
We feel pain now as a global human village because something is wrong. Humans hurting other humans. A hand throwing stones at the leg. It aches.
The pain is the messenger. We need to feel it. And we need to get the message.
While staying away from the news is OK, pushing down your pain is counterproductive.
Suppressed pain always comes back to haunt us. Sometimes, as a physical illness. Sometimes, as a self-sabotaging behaviour.
Feel it. Have a good cry. Put on a sad song and dance. A yoga practice to move all this pain through your body. Breathwork to help release it. A sad movie or book to help you cry some more.
If you feel angry, this also belongs. It is your sacred rage. Go for a run. Punch a pillow.
If you feel afraid, put on some music and do some shaking. Ground yourself barefoot on the earth or push your hands against a wall.
You do not need to feed your feelings with incessant, paranoid thinking. Come back to your body.
You do not need to express your pain or anger to others without their permission. You can talk to a friend or a therapist who can hold space for you.
And if you feel all this pain because of empathy, well done. You have not lost your humanity. You feel for other humans.
Taste the sweetness in this pain. It is the taste of your love. We are all connected. We are never alone.
After you have experienced your feelings, you might feel called to do something. Pain’s purpose is often to instigate change.
The world can be an unbearably beautiful and painful place at the same time.
Whichever way you wish to engage with external information, your path is valid.
Whatever emotions you are feeling, they belong.
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