Life Coaching: How to Stay Sane When the World Appears Insane

I just went through airport security on my way to Seattle to visit my brother’s family for Thanksgiving.

If there ever was a physical manifestation of collective paranoia, psychosis, delusion and insanity this is it. One guy put something in his shoe and a billion people strip down, raise their arms in an x-ray contraption right out of an apocalyptic science fiction novel, and surrender their water bottles.

Yes, 11.5 years ago an unimaginable thing happened. I was there, eight months pregnant, taking photos when the second plane hit the second tower. It was shocking, devastating and tragic.

This may sound harsh, but we have seriously over-reacted. The paranoia and fear around flying is way out of proportion to the actual tragedy. It’s a symptom of our obsession with 24 hour news, crime dramas and political paranoia.

I saw this during the election too. In all camps. Both sides were terrified, clinging desperately to their pet causes. Both literally terrified that America was doomed if the “others” won.

An embassy is bombed and terror and fury ensue. Someone must be blamed. Not the terrorists, but our political leaders.

Jessica Ridgeway, a sweet 10-year-old in Denver was murdered this fall. Abducted by a teenager who became obsessed with crime dramas and forensic science. Parents fearfully herded their children in their homes. No more walking to school or riding bikes around the block.

Never mind that Saddam Hussein is dead. The crazy shoe guy was arrested. The airplane bombers died in the crash. Jessica’s murderer is behind bars. Never mind that only days later a boy killed his overprotective mother because he felt suffocated. Never mind that children are more likely to safely reach adulthood than any time in history. And we’ve survived 42 presidents, even the ones we didn’t agree with.

The world can be a terrifying place. Crazy-ass people do unimaginable things sometimes.

Take a breath and absorb how that fact feels in your body. Tense, clenching stomach, hunched shoulders, clenched jaw.

This media frenzy is stealing our collective peace. It’s robbing us of our collective sanity. In truth, we are giving it away. Paying billions of dollars in taxes for homeland security, billions more to fight small sects of extremist nuts, billions in cable news advertising, and billions more in negative, fear mongering political ads. We lost more lives in the “War Against Terrorism” than we did in the World Trade Center bombings and embassy bombings.

Imagine all of this when we are terrified of the poor economy. Think of all that money and what we could otherwise do with it. How bad could the economy be if we are investing so much in our fear?

Fear Not For I Am With You.

Every spiritual practice boils down to this.

And, yes, in the face of uncertainty this takes effort. It takes a blatant denial of evidence to the contrary. Sometimes it takes medication, therapy, meditation or life coaching. Whatever it takes to restore inner peace is worth it.

The only way out of the fear is to make a conscious choice to stay in the light, and turn away from the dark. The fear is the dark. The fear lets the random crazy people win. The 98% of honest, good people lose. The billions of good, kind people are suspect.

The price for all of these illusions of “safety and security” is to live in chronic fear of coulds.

So I’m challenging you to a Media Fast. The challenge is to turn away the dark. Turn off talk radio, turn off cable news, don’t read the newspaper, put down the thriller novel, don’t DVR the crime sitcoms. Do it through this season of light, until January 1, 2013.

Instead, spend your time having coffee with a neighbor, hanging out with your family watching and reading feel good, uplifting media, and experiencing the real truth of your life.

The truth is that the country isn’t doomed, your kids will come home from school, they will sleep safely in your house, terrorism won’t likely happen in your neighborhood, your plane will land. The economy will recover, faster if we stop wasting our trillions on fear-motivated endeavors like wars on things that are out of our control.

If you participate in The Girl Revolution Media Fast I can’t promise you will never be afraid again. But I can promise that your soul will get some rest, your stress level will drop, your life will feel safer and more secure.

Fear not. Be Still. Let there be light.

Image via iStockphoto/James Steidl

Hillary Clinton, Shake It Off, Taylor Swift, Hillary Clinton Campaign song
Six Reasons “Shake It Off” Should Be Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Theme Song
Nancy Reagan dies, Just Say No, Ronald Reagan
A Not-So-Positive Ode to Nancy Reagan’s Frothy “Just Say No” Campaign
800px-Girls_At_Highland_Avenue_Train_Stop
Maybe It Wasn’t Rape: Emerging Matriarchy and the Altering of Women’s Past Sexual Narratives
Black Lives Matter Oscars Social Justice
Social Justice Warrior Battle Fatigue: When Blacksplaining is Too Much
9355659991_30ce0efd7f_z
Huma Abedin Leaving Anthony Weiner is a Private Decision, Not a Political One
Feminist_Suffrage_Parade_in_New_York_City,_1912
Why I Won’t Be Celebrating Women’s Equality Day
The_Official_Trump_Card
Freedom of the Press: Is Trump the Next Erdoğan?
Hillary_Clinton_(24552133881)
The Problem With Hillary Hate
9355659991_30ce0efd7f_z
Huma Abedin Leaving Anthony Weiner is a Private Decision, Not a Political One
Feminist_Suffrage_Parade_in_New_York_City,_1912
Why I Won’t Be Celebrating Women’s Equality Day
The_Official_Trump_Card
Freedom of the Press: Is Trump the Next Erdoğan?
Hillary_Clinton_(24552133881)
The Problem With Hillary Hate
9355659991_30ce0efd7f_z
Huma Abedin Leaving Anthony Weiner is a Private Decision, Not a Political One
writing-1170146_640
A Heartfelt Note from a Gen X Mom to Millennial Women
800px-USMC-090905-M-8097K-006
How to Get 18- to 24-Year-Olds to Vote? The November Fourth Concerts!
Hillary Clinton, Shake It Off, Taylor Swift, Hillary Clinton Campaign song
Six Reasons “Shake It Off” Should Be Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Theme Song
Israel Palestine BDS AIPAC Clinton
HRC, AIPAC, BDS and UC
800px-Girls_At_Highland_Avenue_Train_Stop
Maybe It Wasn’t Rape: Emerging Matriarchy and the Altering of Women’s Past Sexual Narratives
Paris attacks, Paris terrorism
Is Paris Burning?
Chinese government and women's reproductive rights, adopting Chinese girls, international adoption
Dear Xi Jinping, I Am Writing to You as an American Mom of a 19-Year-Old Chinese Daughter
800px-Girls_At_Highland_Avenue_Train_Stop
Maybe It Wasn’t Rape: Emerging Matriarchy and the Altering of Women’s Past Sexual Narratives
369.the-eyes-have-it1
The Eyes Have It!
Ashley Madison, Jared Fogle, sex, rape, sexual affairs
Ashley Madison vs. Jared Fogle: Rape, Sex and Hacking in America
women's viagra, Viagra, Flibanserin, sexual arousal, women's desire, sex after menopause
That “Little Pink Pill” Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Get our new weekly email
Broadly Speaking

featuring our best words for the week + an exclusive longread