Hello Friends and welcome to the first Monday of 2013!! You might recall that I have named 2013 my very own personal Year of Kindness. I’ve launched This Is Your Rock and, to date, have left behind ten rocks! Three days ago I received my first email from a rock-finder and it completely made my day–giving credence to the fact that giving totally makes us feel good! For all of you who have messaged me here and on Facebook saying that you’d like to join the Free Art Rocks kindness movement, please stay tuned at www.thisisyourrock.com where I will be posting a rock painting tutorial very soon.
So, what do you do when you name a year for Kindness? How do you honor that? This has been the question in my mind since last week’s post and the wonderful contributions from friends on ways that we can improve the quality of our lives, one of which was “don’t watch the news.” I’m just back from a winter weekend in Stockbridge, MA where the boyfriend and I spent a really lazy and super relaxing couple of days in the quaint little town where Norman Rockwell once lived and worked. On the drive up to MA from NJ, we tried to shake off the hurriedness of Friday and attempted to forget that our intention was to have left hours earlier than we actually did. As we got on the road, I realized that the “news” on the radio that played in the background of the car as we drove was one horror show after another…murder, mayhem and more. Almost as if on cue, and without any real connection to any of these bad news stories, the boyfriend said, offhandedly but cynically, “jeez, what a great society we live in…”
I flicked off the station and we had a little discussion on how nearly all the news that gets reported is bad news which is, unfortunately, not news at all.
By the time we got to the Berkshires, we’d forgotten all about the bad news and managed to disconnect quite nicely if I do say so myself. Back in NJ last night, having dinner at a local sushi joint, I threw out some ideas about today’s blog and we recalled the brief discussion we’d had on bad news. I’m a NY Times junkie and tend to cling to my customized news feed which focuses on international news, education, fitness and opinion editorials. Lots of room here for bad news, I’m afraid. The boyfriend suggested that his penchant for the AP news feed allows for the infiltration of more “good” news by virtue of it not being “local.” While I have downloaded this app on my phone, I am still not programmed to go there rather than the Times and so I really can’t say for sure whether the news is gooder or not but I suppose I can understand the stance that the worst bad news is the bad news that happens in our own community.
The whole situation made me think about the person who said we could improve the quality of our lives by turning off the (bad) news and it made me wonder where one might go, instead, for truly GOOD news. So, when we got home, I googled “places to find good news.”
I think there are lots of ways to honor Kindness–and I will continue to explore this notion here at 52 Mondays this year– but I’m wondering if one way to begin honoring kindness is to start focusing on the places on our planet where kindness is happening. I believe that the person who said shut off your news really meant shut off the mainstream news because they tend to report predominantly on the negative and the sensational. A couple years ago I started regularly visiting a few places that offered up a daily or weekly dose of goodness–two of my favorites being DailyGood.org and TED–and I can tell you that supplementing the mainstream influx of negative sensationalism with the inspiring and the awesome goes a long way in keeping things in perspective.
I still believe the world we live in is generally good and kind.
Here are some more places you can visit for a daily dose of optimism and good news:
Maybe it’s all about the glass half-full, you know? I wonder if we could veer more towards kindness by altering even a small percentage of the “news” we choose to look at each day. I wonder if we could improve our outlook on the world just by switching out one “bad” news story for one “good” news story. This is not a call to be uninformed, but I wonder if a little more good news could make us all realize that we are all, in fact, a little bit kinder than we previously thought?
TRY THIS WEEK: Tune into some good news.