We cancelled CNN a few months ago. It is not our news channel of choice as it is too sensationalistic (not that other news agencies are much better). We rarely watch the news on TV. We choose our news through the newspaper or on the web.
It seems that most of the news on TV is blown out of proportion and focuses on the negative side of our culture and society. As someone who works very hard at staying positive and optimistic, watching the news is low on my list. One of the first pieces of advice any therapist will give you if you are feeling depressed is not to watch the news.
I have always felt that if something significant happened I would hear about it. On Friday, March 11th we woke up to the devastating news that Japan had been hit not only by a massive earthquake, but a tsunami that swept away thousands of people.
We switched on the TV and flipped between channels (darn, no CNN) and dug around the web looking for the most up-to-date news. As the situation deteriorated we became even more glued to the tube. As the weekend wore on, the TV stayed on. We watched it first thing in the morning, had half and eye on it all day and went to bed with the news.
Sprinkled in between news of this great tragedy was information about a war brewing with Libya, and other man made catastrophes. I was feeling bombarded with negative, devastating information that I could do nothing about.
Like many of you, I walked around feeling sad and helpless. I felt guilty. How I can be here shopping for dresses, eating more than I should and sleeping in the comfort of my own home while everything has been taken away from so many.
As the week wore on I could feel my energy getting lower. How could I allow myself to feel good with all of this going on? That wouldn’t be fair would it?
We have watched the Japanese people take on this tragedy with dignity and grace. No looting, no riots. They are providing a great example to the rest of the world. You always have a choice on how you react to any situation. They will not allow themselves to become victims to this culturally defining disaster. They will do what they have done before. Rise above the ashes, learn and be stronger for it.
So what can we do? Learn from their example. Learn from their mistakes (please, let's find alternative energy). Take stock of our lives. Be mindful and grateful for the small stuff. Take part in any fundraising activities or just give. Send them your warm thoughts and prayers.
I guess that is all that we can do.