No matter how much we are drawn into our web of media and news, we cannot afford to lose our ability to stay centered and calm. It is this very ability that lets us navigate the deluge of information in a way that still lets it touch our hearts.
Like you, I was grieved and deeply alarmed by the tragedy in Las Vegas. Those affected need everything we can give them—not simply our hearts and prayers, but our time, our money, our compassion, and our energy directed toward ensuring this will never happen again.
It is a double-edged sword to be connected to others through media. We have access to a tremendous vehicle for mobilizing love and support across previously unbridgeable gaps. But we are also inundated with a need for our attention—sometimes, like now, in ways that are real and call to our innermost hearts.
It can be exhausting. Taxing. But staying awake and alive and open-hearted is more important than ever before in this day and age. This is because the inundation of heartbreaking news can make it seem like tragedy is just another headline. Time to ourselves gives us the presence to accept the reality of the devastation around us. My heart goes out to the victims of the terrible fires in Sonoma county. I have no trouble feeling compassion for their loss—I am breathing in that smoke. I can see the ash.
But most news does not directly affect us in this way. It does not feel real, relatable. But for meaningful change to occur, it must.
How can we find the energy to mobilize this compassion? As much as we want and may feel the need to be connected all the time, we cannot do that and sustain our energy. It’s not possible. We need to turn off the barrage of confusing, alarming, enraging and frustrating news. We need to find ways to rest and renew that deeply replenish us at a soul level.
Here are three things to help with that.
- Resting is not passive.
Deep rest does not occur as a cessation of activity. Deep rest is an activity. It’s not driven activity, though. We stop trying to control anything. We allow ourselves to quiet down internally. We open our hearts and souls to a sense of profound trust.
- When, where, and how to rest.
You need to rest when it’s best for you to do so. Ideally, you will get into a habit of resting. I call on honoring the ancient wisdom of the Sabbath because it is in the DNA of Western Culture. You enter the nourishing pattern of rest, renew, act with wisdom – repeat. Deep rest does not just mean relaxing on a hammock—it means relaxing on a hammock with a strong intention to gently lay aside the important aspects of the rest of our day.
- Rest is hard, but it gets easier.
If you think resting is easy, I’m willing to bet you’re not feeling as invigorated by it as you could be. Meaningfully taking a break from the world entails a fundamental detachment that transcends ordinary behavior. The reason we do this is because our minds automatically keep us concerned with the affairs of the world. That impulse to stay connected is the very one that needs to be kept in check.
And with practice, you’ll get better.
This is important, because the world needs you. It doesn’t need your exhausted self, the self that’s spread too thin.
It needs the one who is ready to enthusiastically meet it head on, because it knows it can stop when it needs to.