Split Screen

These days I feel like I am in some kind of weird split screen zone. On one side of the screen are the crazy, upsetting and nerve-wracking events taking place in human public sphere. On the other side are the beautiful autumn days unfurling serenely in the more-than-human landscape. 

Autumn jewels. Photo by J. Browdy, 2020.

As we count down the days to the Nov. 3 election and the turmoil that will undoubtedly follow that watershed day, I am inevitably drawn to focusing my attention on the natural world, where I can find tranquility that nourishes and soothes my soul. 

Is this a cop-out? Should I be spending my every waking hour following the US election, the COVID-19 spikes, the latest outrages of the Trump administration? Should I be focusing on the wildfires and hurricanes happening on the other side of the continent, instead of the peaceful sunrise taking place before my eyes?

Here’s the thing. Each of us is an individual expression of the same psychic landscape. It’s like there is a psychic mycelium to which we are all connected; an energetic matrix, which acts as a substrate for our embodied experience. 

Just as we are herd creatures in our physical experience, susceptible to peer influence and persuasion, we are also herd creatures when it comes to our collective consciousness. 

The more people there are in distress, the more that distress will continue to spread and grow. 

So when I focus on the tranquil side of my mental split screen, I am not copping out.  By calming myself, I am actually serving the collective, trying to send a positive, beneficial vibration out into the world. 

I am not always successful at this, as my social media feed will attest. Sometimes I share upsetting news just because I need some commiseration—I need to feel I am not alone in my outrage, distress and anxiety. 

When I do this, though, I am aware that I am being self-indulgent. It’s not like people need my social media feed as a source of news. We are all swimming in an information sea all the time, no one needs me to be the town crier. 

As we move through this intense Full Moon/Halloween/US election and spiral down into the darkest days of the year, let’s all try to at least give equal attention to both sides of the split screen. 

Soak up all the positive vibrations you can find, whether in the natural world or in the human community, and then do your best to share that positivity with others. 

It doesn’t mean you are being a Pollyanna; it doesn’t mean you don’t care about all the horrors going down in the world. 

It means that you are doing your best not to add to them. 

Autumn sunrise. Photo by J. Browdy, 2020.

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13 Comments

  1. Penny Gill

     /  October 28, 2020

    wise beyond measure, dear Jennifer…and such a difficult balance to maintain. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D.

       /  October 28, 2020

      Thank you Penny! You are such an inspiration for me!

      Reply
  2. Right on, but it’s funny, I have been contemplating a blog post that reflects kind of the reverse perspective.. As a soul coach and intuitive artist I am part of a culture that seems to avoid politics and worldly matters with a kind of mandate to “keep the vibe high” and only send “love & light.” Well, that’s not really my nature, it is a challenge for me. And I have come to the realization that as much as I want to send good vibes out to the world, and I do come from a very loving heart, and I do that by sharing beautiful landscapes and my art like you do, I have also come to a point where I am no longer afraid to mess up my “brand” in the sort of wellness landscape (if I even have one…) by making my politics known and speaking out…embracing the emerging raging granny in me. So, we’re just coming in from different angles, it’s one of those both/and things I guess. We are spirit, we are human, and we have to embrace the all of it. One particular line that resonates though is that people do not really need me as their news source…they are, as you say, in a sea of information already. And yet, some things I just have to shout, “Don’t you SEE what’s going on??” Haha. It’s a struggle! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D.

       /  October 28, 2020

      I love the “emerging raging granny”! She’s in me too! I’m just more aware than I used to be, in my early “writing to right the world” days, of how detrimental it can be to send rage out into the world. It’s such a tightrope balancing act…to protest all the negatives while not allowing our own clear lights–of positive vision of what could be–to be swamped.

      Reply
  3. You have captured my feelings about this time so perfectly. We all need the reminder to nourish, calm, and center ourselves. And create art! In my meditation group this morning, someone mentioned the concept of “joy as resistance,” which seems so apt.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D.

       /  October 28, 2020

      Yes! We can’t allow the outside narrative, which can be so dark, to swamp our own creative lights!

      Reply
  4. Dana Vandesteene

     /  October 29, 2020

    Thank you. The negativity has almost run me down, flattened me face down in the dirt. I appreciate your gentle nudge, a reminder of things I know but have allowed to be overshadowed. I am often bereft. OR just hopeless and in disbelief. My herstoric good cheer nowhere to be found! Our earth needs us to stand up, shake this off and SHINE. Today is a new day and I’m sending BEAMS of positivity, appreciation, love and hopefulness out there.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D.

       /  October 29, 2020

      Yes, I truly believe this is what the Earth needs from us–a fierce joy that continues to rise and shine even when things looks so dark. Beaming back at you, Dana!

      Reply
  5. charlie derr

     /  October 29, 2020

    The other half of the planet (southern hemisphere) is not approaching darkness, but rather light. Another way to view the “split screen”.

    Reply
    • Mother Gaia providing us an example of balance.

      Reply
      • Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D.

         /  October 29, 2020

        Yes, the “harmony of the spheres” is all around us, holding us in a snug embrace of seasonal cycles and steadily wheeling stars and planets overhead. I steady myself against Venus high in the east these mornings, glad she is there to beam us some love.

  6. anni crofut

     /  October 29, 2020

    Such a delicate balancing act, needing constant calibration if we want to be active members of society. Like tides coming in and out, we step back to nourish ourselves with nature, silence, poetry, music, animals, meditation…and then we go out into the world with all of its divisiveness and try to bring some of our inner equilibrium with us. So challenging right now to trust in this ebb and flow…

    Reply
    • Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D.

       /  October 29, 2020

      I think that word “trust” is an important one. There is such a lot of mistrust and distrust around us now; tuning in and finding that inner balance can be especially hard. The tides, literally, have been helping me during these hard times. In and out, in and out, a steadiness I can trust. And the sun, rising, setting….these natural rhythms offer us such solace, if we pay attention.

      Reply

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