How we can relate to Media in Times of Crisis

Suddenly there is war.
This is something that I – and probably we all – heard a lot these last week. It is also something that I said and felt.

​And somehow I was surprised about my own surprise. As if it was really sudden.

​To me, this is not a new conflict, this is the re-enactment of many layers of unhealed wounds, trauma and hurt.
Between Russia and Ukraine, but also in the larger sphere of powers in Europe, and eventually in the world.

​War is a constant reality in our world. There are raging conflicts in many other countries, and some of them have been going on for a very long time.

​What changed now, is that it came closer to our western sphere.
What changed now is that emotional distancing is less of an option, and our surprise reveals our numbness…

​That is often the case with a crisis.

​It appears to come out of nowhere, as if suddenly something happened.
I believe that this is very rarely the case.

A crisis reveals that we had stopped listening to the need for change, for action, for compassion or for protection.

​When disaster strikes naturally we look for orientation, trying to find out what to do, and this is something that I heard from many people in the last weeks.

​What can I do?
What should I do?
What should We do?
There must be something that can be done!

​I don’t have answers, but I can share the way I look at it.
For me it comes in two steps.
First, if there is something that you can do, very practically, in the affected area, with affected people, refugees, with politicians, humanitarian organizations or whatever…do it! Simple.

​If you are not in a situation which gives you a clear impulse to do something, don’t rush to action without a plan.

Panic is never a good advisor.
Take care of yourself and your immediate surroundings – family, friends, your community.

​This is not indifference, but honoring your life situation as it is right now.
If out of that impulses arise, situations and opportunities emerge, great.
Then simply do it!

​The other important question that has been coming up a lot, is how to relate to the news and media.

​I quickly noticed in my social media feed two distinct responses, and I could also identify them within myself.

​The one is that our attention is getting hijacked by fear and this means that our survival instinct is wanting to make sure that we know where the danger is – which results in being hooked to the constant flood of news.

​The other attempt I noticed is a counter movement. People noticing that they are getting hooked by the news and in order to stay “free”, disconnecting from the media altogether.

Personally I don´t think the answer can be found in this polarity.
Because it all depends on you, and where you are at in your life.

​​The question is not what to do with the news, but what you are doing with your life, with your attention and your time.

The media lives from our attention, this will never change. How I relate to the news though, is based on my decisions in my life.

​Depending on your life´s purpose, you can decide and orient what serves that purpose best.

If you are engaged in the region or in the conflict, you will need to be informed. If your purpose right now is to take care of your family this might lead you to a very different approach.

There is no clear formula, but a consequence of how you lead your life.

​If you don´t know your purpose or what you are oriented towards in life, then it might be very easy to be swept away with the currents of fear and emotion that are constantly triggered by the media.

Can we stay informed without being overwhelmed?
If you get overwhelmed by the news, your best contribution is to take a break and find your ground again.

​Can we moderate the intake of news without getting emotionally numb and indifferent?
There is a tragedy going on right now, and it is appropriate to get emotional, sad, angry and so on.

​Can we stay present to the situation? Looking at it, not looking away, not being absorbed nor distant.
Maybe we can manage that only for short moments, but these moments are precious and have real impact.
There are many situations in the world right now that need us to look with open eyes and hearts.
It is demanding, but possible.

The hardest thing is to stay related to a situation that is overwhelming, painful and devastating to the hopes of humanity.

Especially if it leads to a state of helplessness, when it’s not clear what we can do in this situation.

​That's why it is important to take care of your life, tend to your friends, your community and the people you love.
Remember what guides your life, and from there decide what serves this purpose best.

​Stay safe, keep your heart warm and stay in touch.

​This newsletter is an extract from a Podcast episode of the freshly launched Integral Being Podcast.

If you want to listen to the full conversation, you can click here.