Reducing The Noise of 2020

There is so much noise right now.

Politicians are screaming (and tweeting) for our attention. New channels are pinging our devices in an endless game of push notification tag. Our neighbors in other states and nations are arguing – and we argue right back.

Consistently and persistently…we are bombarded with noise.

I’m no saint; I too have found myself locked in a room with the proverbial boombox cranked all the way up. I’ve spent days huddled under the covers, reading horror after horror on my phone. I’ve been pissed, depressed, anxious, and hopeless – all at once.

But recently, I’ve started to question the source of that discontent.

Is it really mine?

In truth, no. All of the late nights, the hours spent scrolling and ingesting and then reactively regurgitating information…noise.

I know this, because as soon as I close my eyes and turn down the decibel a bit, all I feel is hope.

A deep rooted, carnal knowing that this is simply a moment in time – a blip on our Universal timeline – with a much more expansive purpose.

I believe – no, I Know – that we are meant to learn right now. We are in the midst of a great shift, one that is only possible if the oppressive foundation upon which our current lives are built crumbles back to the Earth. We are meant to come together – a seemingly wishy-washy ideal that is only possible once we scream and thrash and cry like a child in tantrum, eventually falling into a deep, sweet sleep.

For our societies to embrace equality – true equality, not a soundbyte following a protest – our entire structure must change. To experience true religious tolerance, we must make room for the possibility that we don’t actually have it all figured out and, dare I say…someone else just might have a point. To re-member the joy found in our families, we must toss aside the antiquated idea of “traditional” work and a 9-5.

Only when we forget about the past, will we be able to step boldly into the future.

I know that it’s tough – these are the lessons that are far easier to teach than to embrace ourselves.

But we must. Truthfully, we don’t have the option not to right now. Consider for a moment what the next 50 years might look like if absolutely nothing changed: the pandemic wanes, we rush back to our closed off, skyscraper offices, our kids return to their nannies and test-controlled schools, black kids continue to be shot, some old white guy continues to sit in the White House, Congress continues fighting over how much aid starving families really deserve without a source of income – no more grateful hours, no more remote work, no more space to imagine what education may look like beyond the topics covered on the SATs.

Personally, I have no interest in going back. I am no longer interested in teaching a commercialized, colonial knockoff of yoga. I am no longer interested in rushing from place to place, never noticing how exactly I arrived at my destination. I am no longer interested in only seeing my husband on nights and weekends. I am no longer interested in working myself to death, only to feel like I’m not doing enough. I am no longer interested in paying thousands of dollars for learning that can be (and has been) available for a fraction of the cost and done on my own time.

I’m finished with the Old World. I’m ready for the New. And the key to this mindset shift has been pure, simple silence.

I spend hours – sometimes days – now in silence. I don’t read the news every day, let alone every hour. I’ve ditched my consumption of social media and merely create in those spaces. I filter out the noise created by my loved ones, and separate it from my own inner silence.

In these moments of quiet, I find tolerance; I find compassion and hope and truth.

When I reduce the noise, I know myself, my world, and my purpose.

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