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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

News Fast

I am beginning to believe someone who once said that a news fast is good for one's sole. Not watching the news or reading the papers or scanning the Internet for the latest has been an interesting experience. News can create anxiety. There is little any of us can do about what we read anyway. Yes, 41 people were blown up in Kandahar the other day. Of course I wouldn't even be in Afghanistan if it were up to me but as long as we are there, there is not one iota I can do to stop a suicide bomber from blowing themselves up in a crowded area. I have had a lifetime full of floating anxiety and fear. So have most of us.

Yeah, 9-11 was a biggie. I get that. It was hard to pull my eyes away from the TV set. It was mesmerizing and terrible all at once. But short of flying to New York and working at ground zero there was little I was going to really do except to check up on some of my east coast friends to make sure they were all OK.

One of them wasn't by the way. Phil Rosenzweig had died in the second plane to hit a tower in the World Trade Center. He was a colleague of mine at Sun Microsystems. I had been his HR guy when I worked at Sun Labs.

I left Sun in mid 1998. Phil died on 9-11 in 2001 and in 2004 I returned to Sun for a contract job and often took my coffee sitting on a marble bench dedicated to his memory. It was out in the courtyard under some lovely trees.

Anyway, back to this news fast idea. Last year I stopped following the news for months at a time. I missed nothing of importance even though many important things happened. This year I got sucked back in by the primaries until I could puke at the sight of any of the major political candidates. Then I shut it down again. Between cell phones, PDA's, computers, the Internet and newspapers, we have many tools and little privacy. It interferes with our mindfulness. I am not saying that we should dump it all. I am just saying it is good to turn it off for a time.

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