By Rob Dorgan
I woke up this morning thinking about Kelly Ripa and the possible injustice she experienced about being the last to know about her costar’s departure from her morning show “Live”.
I found this odd. First of all, my usual morning wake up thoughts are about sending myself love, and offering service to others throughout the day in whatever capacity that might be.
I started this ritual as my first waking moments more than a year ago. It helps me to set my day with positive intention and it opens me open to guidance from my soul center rather than just my head or the ego mind.
I also found it odd because honestly, I don’t know Kelly Ripa. I have heard her name but that is about it for our relationship.
So why did I wake up with her in my head and thoughts?
Last night my partner Steve and I had tickets to The Cincinnati Shakespeare Theatre’s Antony and Cleopatra. We had two massage house-calls before, so there was little time between these appointments and curtain. We parked close to the theater and looked for a place to grab something to eat. We did not want to go to see a Shakespeare production without some kind of food. We had 25 minutes.
Pizza by the slice seemed like the solution. It would be quick, easy and a treat for us since pizza is not a mainstay in our diet.
We told the young woman behind the counter of our time restraints. She was helpful getting our pizza and salads together quickly. For most of the time there, we were the only ones in the whole place. But we were not alone. There was a 75 inch television screen hanging on the wall turned up to maximum capacity. The atmosphere of the place was like stepping into “the mind”, the monkey brain as we call it in yoga.
“E” Entertainment News was the featured program. Even though we sat so we could not see the screen, it would not be ignored. The content was purely about the “cult of celebrity”. A starlet’s dilemma as her luggage was lost on her flight to Cannes. George Clooney lamenting that he felt he had been to one too many Cannes festivals and so he was just bored.
The main story, which was I think was supposed to be heart wrenching — was the slight Kelly Ripa felt when she was not told about her co-star’s looming departure from their show.
The sensational way the information was presented and the edited clips they used to get their point across, presented the information almost in a life or death context.
I, who not only don’t watch TV but don’t have a TV in my house, was sucked in momentarily. “Wow, how rude for her station not to tell her. I bet she felt blind-sided.” “The starlet at Cannes must have been freaking out without her wardrobe at such a big event.”
OMG!! I believe that what we go through in life is relative. We cannot compare our circumstances to others who may be going through something more or less severe. We have to monitor what we are going through; our life and our circumstance. Are these Hollywood ‘dilemmas’ relevant to anyone besides Kelly Ripa, the starlet who lost her luggage and George Clooney respectively in their own situations? Are they worth our time and focus? I don’t think so. These are distractions. This is the junk food of our mind. We take in all this stuff and why? What are we going to do with it? We take in all this stuff and then wonder why we are having trouble with focus and why we feel distracted most of the time.
All technology and the information it offers is part of our daily consumption. Anything we take in through any of our senses is part of our diet. We have to be discerning about what we take in through our mouth, to keep our physical body healthy. We also need to be discerning about what we take in through our eyes and ears. Yes, even the words on this page. These thoughts become part of you.
What we take in should serve us to a greater good. Ask yourself before you take a bite of anything- food, a TV program, an internet site— is this good for me? Does it further the purpose I have for my life? You may be surprised to find the answer is NO. Then why take it in? If you admit that you need a distraction make sure you know why you need it. Be conscious of using it as a distraction and check in to see whether you are filling your life, your body, mind and spirit with distractions.
How will you know? Well, how did you feel after the food or wine fest the night before? Does it bring you happy thoughts about experiencing the joys of life with friends or are you regretting the hangover or feeling guilt over what you might have added to your waistline?
We have the ability to be discerning in every moment. But the volume of the TV or the volume of our life might be so loud that we can’t make a clear decision so we go with what feels good or taste good or what is right in front of our eyes whether it’s truly good or adds to our overall purpose about life.
I am a former TV, movie, and junk food junky. As a kid I ate chips, drank soft drinks, mindlessly watched hours and hours of TV and I read anything I could get my hands on. I was also a fat kid before it was the “norm” it is today. Most of this behavior was emotionally based. I knew I didn’t like the way I felt in my own skin. I started to realize I was making the whole thing worse by finding ways to escape. What I needed was to get quiet. I needed to get away from theoutside noise and see what I was avoiding. My 8th grade teacher who was also the school principal gave me some great tools to relax the whole body through a body scan. You brought increased attention to each part of your body in turn and asked it to relax. She was teaching me a form of Yoga Nidra, although that is not what she called it. Her technique helped me to relax enough to start to hear a deeper more caring voice inside me.
Those exercises ultimately led me to meditation which has helped me to become more discerning in my life. Discerning about my complete diet—-everything I take in through all my senses. I am not always great at it but I am getting better all the time. I am also becoming more aware of the first signs of old patterns that signal something is not quite right in my life. I am getting better at seeing these patterns and stopping them early on.
Have you ever woke up with someone or something in your head that just shouldn’t be there? Or maybe they or it are there at night while you are trying to go to sleep.
Try adding a few minutes of intentional silence to your morning as you start to wake up. See how you feel. Don’t be surprised if you have a hard time tuning out the noise of your own mind. Stay with it. Tell yourself you are worth some down time- some noise free time—- a fast from external stuff coming in. Close your eyes. Take several deep breaths. Pay attention to who or what you wake up with in the morning and make sure it’s thoughts about your authentic being and not Kelly Ripa. No offense Kelly.
Rob Dorgan considers himself a spiritual anarchist. He is experimenting with setting himself free from the inside out. He is not accepting what anyone tells him about the meaning of life with out personal experimentation.
His spiritual quest lead him to a deeper love of life and wants to encourage everyone to experiment with their own road to freedom.
“One truth, many paths”
Rob has an M.A. in European History, he is a registered yoga teacher and personal trainer. He and his partner, Steve Bolia, host retreats called “Personal Training for the Body and Soul” in various places around the country.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license