Sunday, January 3, 2010

MEME 1: Turning Off My TV

Let me share with you what I am learning ...

I haven't had cable TV for a very long time.  Entire TV series have come - gone - been syndicated - become classic reruns - and I never saw an episode.  There are actors appearing in "where are they now" articles and I never knew who they were then.  It puts me at a cultural disadvantage.  Not able to participate in the lunchtime discussions at work on the merits of this actor or that program.  Sorry. No "TV".

It has given me more time to do other things.  My only real exposure to regular television programming is when I travel (usually for business) and I am a hotel room after whatever conference day is done.  More on that later.  I sometimes find myself both fascinated and repulsed by what I see as I channel surf.

In recent years, due to the gifts of numerous dearly loved and well meaning friends, I have been introduced to some of the shows that I have missed, through the magic of DVDs or downloads via a USB drive.  I am grateful for the hours of entertainment - and have amassed a small collection of a few favorite movies and TVseries. is another great way to rent movies and TV series affordabley without the hassle of going to the rental store and having to play the "what's in stock" game with their empty cases.

I love to knit - and often watch DVDs while I knit - especially if it is a more simple pattern.  If it is a more complex pattern, then I tend to listen to podcasts, so I can count stitches, read pattern graphs, and pay more visual attention to my work.  I pay attention to what I'm watching - we tend to pause the program if we want to chat, or need to get refreshments - so it drives me a little crazy when people have the television playing and talk over the show, or take phone calls - I'm still one of those people who actually "watch" the program, and don't just have it on in the background.


it is so easy for the pleasure of a passive visual experience to overwhelm my evening and add up to consuming the free hours of my week - eating up hours that I could be / should be / might be doing other things.  In the past several years, - especially as my volunteering in my spiritual community has been radically dialed back to a few essential projects -  I have become much more of a couch potato than I ever thought possible.  Blame it on Babylon 5 / Deep Space 9 / Lost / Stargate SG1/Atlantis / Dead Like Me / etc...  It is "the series on DVD" that so easily becomes visual popcorn.  Can't watch just one.  So - in 2010 - I plan to enact the first principle of Building Community - to turn off my TV more often.

I've almost pretty much stopped teaching classes - or taking classes.  I used to teach at least one night a week, and take a couple classes a year in different things - metaphysical stuff, human interest stuff, tai chi or other things of interest.  I need to get back into the swing of structured learning.  Community / Cont Ed have a lot of cool courses - affordable ones too.  I met some of my dearest friends when I was teaching a Cont Ed class.  Meeting new people with similar interests builds and expands my community.  Maybe I'll even find some volunteer opportunities - go do some good somewhere.  Open to suggestions.

What's Pagan about this? Making a choice to get "OUT" - maybe even outside (oooh scarey) - to go sit in my beautiful back yard and read - or knit - or do Soduko puzzles - or just watch the clouds and the birds in the birdfeeders and admire the flowers - to go out even in winter and make a fire in the fire pit and watch the moon and the stars and listen to the city and the wind in the branches of my walnut tree. To go for a long walk in one of our lovely city parks.  To go make peace with the trees in Assiniboine Forest (we had a disagreement in 2004, and I haven't gotten over it - maybe its time).  Most of us don't spend enough time outside - or if we do - we are simply moving from one pre-occupation to another, and we don't really pay attention to the urbanized natural world around us.  We are part of the urban ecosystem - not just observers of it.

I was thinking about the energetic / spiritual food I was taking in during my dozen or so nights of channel surfing in the past year.  Like radiation - a limited exposure is not deadly - but what about people for whom the satellite dish is their nightly object of worship.

There is nothing much good on regular television programming.  The domination of reality shows is a phenomenon that, in my opinion, speaks to the worst side of humanity and the lowest common denominator.  I always thought that soap operas taught people how to behave badly and have unrealistic expectations in human interactions (naked unfiltered emotion driven discourse based largely on assumption over reason)  but the few reality show episodes I have seen make those look like Miss Manners Guide to Extremely Correct Behavior.  Lying, cheating, betrayal, jealousy, backstabbing, artificially created tension, and combative (if not downright pugilistic) situational ethics - and I'm talking about Top Chef - not Survivor.  We also have the "life lived for the camera" school of reality show - John hates Kate,  the Family's tarnished  Jewels, celebrity rehab - Liars and Rock Stars and Scareys! Oh My!

Don't even get me started on the I Dreamed a Dream Talent Shows - as staged and manipulated as anything else. Don't tell me they didn't have any idea that Ms Boyle could sing - aren't there regional tryouts etc before you get to the Big Gong Show in front of an audience?  Glad she didn't win - and nice that her cd is selling well - but it was the premise around the performance that delivered as much bravado and crescendo as her above average but certainly not exceptional singing talent demonstrated.  I wish her well.

There is NOTHING wrong with chillin out - watching a flick - catching a show - enjoying a game - but remember that thoughts are things and we become what we ingest.  A little junk food is great for a break, but a steady diet can't be good for anyone.  There are shows that I love - but I want to make sure that I am sitting on my butt in moderation - and a little less habitually.  Maybe more podcasts - so I can knit ever more complicated things.

Not a criticism of television watching - but an endorsement of quality over quantity, and of exercising restraint and moderation in all things - especially marathon weekends of watching Babylon 5 - or Deep Space 9 - or Lost - or Stargate - or ... or .... or .... Robin Hood. Now that's one I haven't watched in a while - and I have a new knitting project just begging for some rows to be knitted ...... :)

Enjoy the day,

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1 comment:

  1. Oooooh...I knit & therefore I am(a witch) too! And I watch dvds whilst knitting as well. Beautiful photography & I love you bright knit samples/swatches.