Monday, April 26, 2010

My Media Free Week

As an assignment for my life coaching class, I was instructed to practice being quiet. For seven consecutive days I was to watch NO television, listen to NO radio, watch NO movies and read NO newspapers. 

Sound scary? It wasn't, but it was more difficult than I thought. I’ve already paired down my media consumption quite a bit, so I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but my media habits are more ingrained than I thought.

Overall, I would say the experience has been very peaceful and calming. I think all the background noise and negative news creates more stress than I realized. It was also a bonding experience for me -- with both Paul and the kids.

It was bonding with Paul because he participated with me -- what a guy! Seriously! That meant a lot to me. It was bonding with the kids, because we were music free in the car and really enjoyed our conversations! 

During this time, I’ve noticed there is music playing in virtually every public place in this town. I was at the Bell Tower coffee shop trying to work one day, but the music was so LOUD, I had to leave early – before getting all of my work done. I just couldn’t take the noise anymore. I have to say, though, that leaving early ended up being a gift, because I got some shopping done for our upcoming family photos. I was really excited about that, because it saved me time and stress later in the week! 

Also during the week, I noticed how habitual we are about our TV, music and newspaper reading. On the first day, I reached for the radio right after dropping Alyssa off for school – forgetting for a moment about the no media week.

There was also one day when I went out to pick up the paper in the driveway and started reading one of the stories on my way into the house – Paul promptly reminded me about the no media week! Then, one afternoon, I glanced at the one of the TVs at the gym and watched an entire story before I remembered the no media week! Another awkward time was going to bed at night – Paul and I usually fall asleep to the TV. We also turn the news on first thing in the morning to catch up on the world’s happenings.  

Before having children, I almost always had the TV on at home – I couldn't bear the silence – but I stopped that habit after having children. This no media week took that to a new level for me. I realized I use some of the time listening to the news and radio to drown out my thoughts. To shut my brain off. To go on auto pilot. By going no media this week, I realized that I will be OK if I let myself think, if I sit in silence. I realized that it's actually more relaxing to leave it off. And, for sure, I was more productive!

I am excited to report that Paul read a book during this time!!! Yippee! It’s been sitting on his dresser forever! The book was about leadership and was great for where he is in his career right now. Overall, Paul says he has enjoyed the silence. How cool!

So, I think I will continue to keep media to a minimum in my life for now. Not totally eliminated, but less -- especially in the car with the kids. We do a lot of driving to and from school, and that is valuable time where we can share about our days! 

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