February, Facebook, Fake News

February, Facebook, Fake News

February.  It has been a brutal month so far.

Just days ago, on Valentine’s Day, 17 people died while doing whatever they normally do on a Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  The families and friends of the victims are settling into their grief right now, forever changed.  Just like the people of Rancho Tehama Reserve, North Park Elementary, Umpqua Community College, Marysville Pilchuck High School, Santa Monica, Sandy Hook, Oikos University, Chardon High School, U of A Huntsville, Northern Illinois University, Virginia Tech, West Nickel Mines School, Red Lake, Appalachian School of Law, Columbine, Thurston High School, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden, Heath High School, Pearl High School, San Diego State, Frontier Middle School, Lindhurst High School, University of Iowa, Stockton schoolyard, CSU Fullerton, Olean High School Kent State, Mesa, University of Texas Tower, have done before them.   I remember all of these incidents.  I hope I never hear of another.  I hope my grandsons feel safe and will be safe throughout the rest of their years in school.  I hope your family will be safe.

I just took a break from Facebook.  I have to keep my personal page in order to have my Beyond Sixty Project page, but I really needed a break.  Do you ever feel that way?  I know Facebook entered into a global fight against fake news about a year ago, but I am not sure how well it is working. To me, most of the fake stuff is easy to spot.  For starters look at the source.  Then fact check the stories before sharing.  What I have learned is I can do a better job of creating a more effective ” filter bubble” for what I want on see on my Facebook feed and I can stop reading the comments attached to some of the topics.  Negativity, hate and disrespect has become the norm for so many.  It saddens me greatly.

I love social media for the connections it provides.  I am able to connect with film people all over the world through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  I have access to tools and information I need for my project instantly.  I am able to maintain a connection with family and friends who live far away through text or social media as often as I want.  I have been reunited with people I care about through social media.  It is mostly a beautiful thing.

In a world filled with tragedy and sad news there are ways to reset yourself without going into hiding and I have been experimenting.  I began meditating each day.  15-20 minutes is all I can do without the restlessness setting in, but it is refreshing and helpful in shooing away the negativity.  I use some of the music from Canyon Ranch, where I first learned to silence my mind (Alice Boyd!).  When the weather is good, taking a mile walk around my neighborhood while listening to music has been a big plus.  Lastly, baths.  I have a big soaking tub and have been using it quite a bit this winter with some salts or bath tea.  20 minutes does it for me.  These examples are simple but I have never been good at doing them routinely and I am glad I am now. Maybe in older age I am finally becoming wiser?

It is good to reset rather than turn off don’t you think?  I am constantly looking for new and improved ways of changing how I assimilate the negativity of the world in my daily life.  If you have any suggestions I hope you will share them.  The older I get the more I realize how important this is. So please tell me what you do!

I am looking forward to February ending.  It will end on two positive notes.  My eldest grandson, Adam, will become a teenager this weekend.   Thirteen years I have known this incredibly wonderful human.  We will celebrate him and be very thankful.

After a bit of a break I am now back full swing into editing the second rough cut of my film, looking forward to all the final steps we need to take before I can report we are done!

I hope you end your February on a positive note or two and do whatever self-care you need to keep on marching and smiling.

Peace and Love to all,

Melissa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light and Happy or Doom and Gloom

Light and Happy or Doom and Gloom

I flipped a coin today as I was torn between the above titles naming my blog topic choice. Light and Happy, or closer to light and happy won.  I am thankful for the win as I could not bear another hour at the keyboard discussing the latest in the race for the Presidency or other trending topics about women that include the gender wage gap, violence against women, efforts to kill Roe v. Wade or the garden variety discriminations bestowed upon women each day. Today I will write about happy (mostly).

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.    Did you know that March 20th has been designated as the International Day of Happiness? Not sure everyone got that memo.

Thomas Jefferson was into it. He was the one who coined the phrase “the pursuit of happiness” in relation to the 1776 Declaration of Independence. He saw it as much more than just an emotion. He felt it was a right.

We shouldn’t have to chase or hunt down happiness. If we stop for a moment and quiet our minds we may find it is right there waiting for us.

This past week, for me, hovered mid-point on the Happy/Gloom Meter. I spent most of the week working on my film, reviewing recent footage, screening interviews on the phone and wrapping up a sponsorship negotiation. Not intense joy but happy, interesting, fulfilling and motivating. So why wasn’t my meter pointing more toward the happy end? It was the unsolicited phone calls that I received and continued to listen to. Back to doom and gloom for just a minute.

I usually don’t answer the phone if the caller ID gives me reason to believe it is a robo-call, but my curiosity got the better of me and I started answering and listening.Throughout the week I received robo-calls and live calls from both political parties. The robo-calls were the worst, especially the ones with a Presidential wannabe actually yelling into the phone. Negative and disturbing.  I listened through all of the calls because I became curious after the first.They were all pretty awful. Did they assume at this point I didn’t know who I was voting for? Did they think that their messages were helpful to me in any way? By roughly the 18th call I decided I would not answer another and was feeling pretty cranky about the whole “in your face” style of communication. The needle on my meter was headed in the wrong direction.

It’s pretty easy to be affected by the gloomy assaults coming at you daily through television, news, phone calls and the stressors of your own personal issues.  So how do we maintain a sense of contentment and possibly intense joy? Are there things we can do to balance out the negativity without hiding from it?

For me it doesn’t take too much.  Quieting my mind is my go to.  Simple meditation helps and I try to do it once a day.  I learned the simple techniques of quieting my mind and connecting to the positive years ago when I took a class at a retreat.  It’s not complicated and it works. The music I use while I meditate is now enough to settle my mind. On equal par with meditation is taking a walk.  As much as I sometimes avoid this because I am “too busy,” I feel totally rejuvenated and more peaceful once I have done it. I am lucky to live in a neighborhood that has beautiful trees and zero traffic. Last week I got out there only three times but it was so worth it given the fall temperatures and beautiful foliage display. Having fun is also tops on my list. Laughing is key. I am drawn to people who know how to have fun and will laugh along with me and I seek them out regularly. And lastly, giving. The more I give the better I feel.  It can be as small as making a favorite meal for loved ones or helping a friend with an issue or supporting a cause. Giving of yourself can be very satisfying.

This all sounds pretty simple and it is. Feeling fine with what you have and secure with where you are going and what you offer to others brings a great sense of contentment, maybe even bordering on joy.

I hope you have a beautiful day and find that your dial stays in the happy and light zone. Would love to know what you do to keep it pointed in that direction.

Peace,

Melissa