After experiencing the closest thing to absolute peace during my recent vacation in Mexico, I've been diligently attempting to recreate it via a steady de-cluttering of my apartment and my mind. I don't just mean sorting through closets and fileboxes and getting rid of papers that are 10+ years old, though I did that too--and it feels incredible. I also mean sorting through, and making conscious choices about, what my mind is consuming and processing on a daily basis.
I love you Rachel Maddow, but I can't watch you every day because I just get mad. The New York Times is my Holy Grail, but I can only read so many articles on the Syrian conflict before I start doubting the goodness of humanity, which does not put me in an optimal space to motivate my clients. Even beyond the news, it seems that much of what we allow our minds to ingest is at best unpleasant, and at worst completely deflating.
In response, I've been reading a political article here and there to ward off general ignorance, but in order to live the way I want to live, not to mention the way I encourage other people to live, I've also had to seek out some more inspirational options.
The sections on my NYTimes iPhone app are now reorganized to prioritize Arts, Theater, Books, Travel, and Fashion & Style. (I just stumbled upon a super interesting NYTimes article about finding peace during noisy airplane trips.) My DVR is set to record old Oprah episodes and shows about Iyanla Vanzant serving up some tough love. And I've been watching TED Talks online when I have an extra five to 10 minutes. If it makes me feel hopeful, it's good. If it makes me feel good about myself, it's good. If it makes me laugh, it's good. I will, however, still be religiously recording the latest episodes of Scandal, and that's just going to have to be ok because that show is EVERYTHING.
People come to me every day wanting to make a change. They want a more purposeful career, a more fulfilling romantic partnership, or a whole new outlook on life. I can give them some tools and hold them accountable to their goals, but at the end of the day, they have to be ready and willing to change their thinking.
Daily affirmations, meditations, and goals are all vital tools, but the first steps can be as simple as a few subtle changes to how you're spending your leisure time. (Out's 100 Most Eligible Bachelors is a great place to start.) I'm still adjusting to life without the daily influx of tragedy and government dysfunction, but my mind has admittedly been a lot more peaceful and positive these past couple of months. Rachel and Syria will be there if ever I need a quick fix. I'm just thinking it doesn't need to be every day.
John Kalinowski is an NYU-Certified Life Coach based in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @JohnKalinowski & visit his website: johnkalinowski.com.