From politics to pop culture, fetish holes to vitriolic misinformation, there’s so much slish available in the collective consciousness. How do we navigate this place in a way that nourishes ourselves and our purpose? The process can be quite simple so long as one is willing to be ruthlessly loving.
Curate your social media experience
Thank you Russell Brand for applying such apt terminology to this process (you can watch his video on the topic here). I’ve come across a lot of folks lately who bear the opinion that social media is inherently a negative and toxic place, but like all tools, it comes down to how it’s being used. While there’s still the issue of censorship, and the very real problem of social media addiction, it is still possible to use these platforms as a source of connection, education and inspiration.
Begin with unfollowing folks who regularly negativity, toxicity and misinformation. If you’re so inspired, unfollow anyone who you regularly scroll past. If the content they choose to post has no relevancy to your life, there’s no need for it to clog your feed. Facebook even allows for one to unfollow others while maintaining the friend connection, keeping the cyber bridge open for continued contact. On the flip side, find groups, accounts and pages that reflect your mission (or just downright make you feel good). The goal here is to create a space that inspires and excites you every time you access it.
Approach education with an eagle’s eye
In my college days, when reading dense informative text, I had an awful habit of writing down everything my mind told me was important. This tic comes from the the regurgitation-education model (you know, the one where you swallow “facts” and then spit them back out again without ever using tools of analysis or dissection). The result of this style of note-taking? Well, absolutely nothing. I never retained much of that knowledge beyond the situation of its immediate relevancy (tests, class discussions, etc.) It was a complete waste of time.
When we begin to take our education into our own hands, it becomes possible to do so as an eagle approaches the hunt. We survey what lies before our eyes and respond to what moves our intelligent animal bodies. Whether prey or predator, we pay attention to what activates us. Whatever comes up, follow that thread through its current context, other sources and our own life experiences. From there, we take notes*, create story, and seek discussion so we can better retain and build upon what we have gathered. This method can be applied to thoughts on fictional and nonfictional modes alike.
*For long-term note-taking, I recommend Luhmann’s method. It’s an artform I aspire to).
Turn your space into a personal Teaching Lodge
Our surroundings are a physical reflection of our psyche, and can thus be worked with positively in order to shape our minds. I encountered this concept most recently in my Medicine Woman tarot deck, in the form of one card in particular: the Teaching Lodge of the Arrows. Summed up, this card speaks to the process of engrossing oneself in that which encourages growth and learning.
As in the first section of this post, the primary step is to eliminate clutter. Anything that brings you down or no longer serves, goes. For me, if it still has practical/functional value, I sell or consign it. For things of a more personal or sentemental nature, I like to return them directly to the earth. I do this in a place that feels sacred and out-of-the-way, with a prayer for growth or healing appropriately connected to the object. I recycle what I can, and trash the rest (which, when all is said and done, ends up being pretty minimal). Use your own discernment for what’s appropriate in this process.
After you’ve cleared some space for the new, begin cultivating and creating the positive. Bring beauty into your home in the form of books, artwork, natural objects, what-have-you, and let it feed your soul. This can be done with little to no money. Lately, I particularly enjoy leaving inspirational and intention-setting notes for myself all over my walls. These images serve as daily reminders for the life I’m aiming to create. If you choose to do this one, be sure to use positive, rather than negative sentence structure (“I am” vs. “I am not”: “I am strong” rather than “I am not weak.”)
Create small altars all around your space and let them provoke, inspire or comfort you. Get creative and take care of them regularly. Let them grow and change in their own way. Expand on this idea. Your entire space is an altar, everywhere that you be is a temple. Act accordingly.
Tune your dial
Just as you would change the channel on an old-school television set, attune your body and mind to the frequencies you aim to broadcast. This is probably the most significant thing you can do in regards to navigating the collective consciousness, because the process carries on even when you’re not paying attention.
Many of us spend our time in that hazy space between channels – everything coming through is a bit distorted by the wash of white-noise and static across the screen. We have the power to tune into a clearer picture, and all it takes is a little applied know-how.
There are two major components to this process. The first is to adjust our bodies. Eating cleanly and healthfully, drinking clean water, yoga, pranayama, exercise and energy work are all useful mechanisms for this work.
The other significant step here is to ready our minds. Meditation is vital. Suggestion and prayer are helpful too. Intentional daydreaming can be fun. Using these tools, notice how different ones bring about different results – find what works best for you and use it/them.
No matter how polluted the waters of our psyche may seem, with the right filter, we can always get exactly what we need to heal and refresh our inner flow.