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Thursday, July 6,2017

Tune In to Tune Out

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  

Life is noisey. In the beginning, were amoebae saying, “What’s all that racket?!” as each new species emerged on the planet? I bet they were. This spring we had a colony of birds in our backyard that kept me up to the point that I was ready to buy a shotgun. The rosiest of shades were no match for this band of three a.m. squawkers! The only bright side was that some dear soul invented foam plugs which I promptly stuffed into my ears and cursed the bird gods for not getting this one right. It’s not easy to tune things out.


The next morning I grabbed my coffee and the dog and headed out for my morning walk. In the early morning light, the noises that were my nemesis just a few hours before became music to my ears. Even the loudest squawker! I decided, if this were an orchestra, he’d be the oboe. There were caw-caws and cute little high pitched chirpers; ducks and blue heron; and some of the happy noises were coming from squirrels running around in the trees. Which then helped me tune into the palm fronds rustling in the breeze, making a song all their own. Tuning in a little more, there was the crunch of the sticks and acorns under my feet, and the gentle smack of my flip flops recording the rhythm of my steps. Far in the distance the hum of motors on the highway, and even more manmade rumblings: planes in the sky; an urgent siren in the distance. I walk the dog every morning and never pay attention to the sounds. I’m too lost in my own thoughts to notice what is right around me most of the time. On that morning walk, I didn’t think about anything but the individual sounds. It was a form of meditation because I was just present with the sounds and nothing else at the moment. And I realized that this is a choice. I can choose to tune in, and in doing so actually am tuning out as well.

Think about all of the sounds vying for our attention on a daily basis: family, work, advertisers, politicians, cable news!!, TV shows, books, movies, ideas…. This attempted colonization of our consciousness is constant, but we are not defenseless. We can decide who or what gets our attention. That is power! Naturally circumstances predict how easy or difficult this may be. But the fact remains that our reaction to all things is a choice. The inspiration for Rosey Shades and this column (over 15 years ago!) was the onslaught of the 24 hour news cycle, which, at the time, was new. I was so tired of constant negativity that I thought about wearing rose-colored glasses all the time. The contest for our attention from the media has only gotten more severe, but the fact that you are even reading this article now in the Happy Herald speaks volumes about the choices you make. I’m glad you took some time out to look at the Bright Side today!


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