suburban adventures in bu-curious mothering

Tag: television

try this


As I mentioned last week, my son recently came down with strep and I spent the weekend at home alone with him.  When I wasn’t taking care of him or de-cluttering my home, I was watching Homeland…  12 hours of Homeland to be exact.  I started at 7pm each night saying after each conclusion, “Just one more episode.  This is the last for sure,”  Yup.  2am snuck up on me quickly.  Both nights.

As you can imagine, Brody and Carrie guest-starred in most of my dreams that weekend.  All that TV made me feel pretty kooky.  On Sunday night I was lying in bed and couldn’t press the mental pause button on an intense torture scene, so I started experimenting with different meditations I’d learned – hoping to change the channel.  Nothing was working.

So I tried something new and began to systematically focus on each part of my body, in hopes to connect back to the here and now.  I started with my skin, allowing small sections of my outer shell to tingle, my focus moving from limb to limb, head to toe.

Then I thought about my bones, my organs.  I mentally peeled my skin back and concentrated so hard that I could see and feel, really feel, my bones.  I felt my blood pulse through my heart.  I focused on my kidneys, liver, stomach, connecting intimately with each organ and acknowledging the work they perform for me each day.  They weren’t just a jumbled mess of mysterious globs taking up space under my skin.  I offered gratitude to them.

Last stop on the organ train was my brain.  I used everything I had to penetrate it.  I dug through my third eye and imagined the two big lobes of grey macaroni-like substance, filling the top portion of my skull completely, pulsing with blood and ideas and power, creating pressure on the underside of my scalp.  Though the brain is contained, its thoughts are limitless.  With that acknowledgment, the pressure dissipated as the energy pulsing under my skull released into the world.

The intense and intentional connection to my body fostered the now moment and allowed me to let go of the previous 6 hours of television programming.

Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh….  zzzzzzzzzzz…….

It’s funny, while sitting here writing, I’m conjuring those sensations all over again.  It’s very grounding.  Nothing else can be happening when we’re channeling all of our focus into our bodies.  All the bullshit disappears.  It’s liberating.

Next time you’re trapped in an episode of Homeland, or more likely an episode of your life, try turning your attention inward, literally.  Tell me what happens.  Or please share what you do to clean your clock.

From mine to yours,


p.s.  Please share this meditation experiment with friends and family you think might find it helpful.  Or with anyone watching Homeland.  🙂

“and now instead of him watching TV we all sit around and watch him”

the blog title and pic above are of shel silverstein’s famous  jimmy jet.  the following quote by robert thurman is in ed and deb shapiro’s book BE THE CHANGE, how meditation can transform you and the world.

“Meditation is a neutral and very powerful tool.  The choice is what are we going to meditate on?  Most people let themselves be guided by a culture that this trying to make them buy things or make them afraid through the news.  When we watch television and we see a commercial, it is like a guided meditation on dissatisfaction.  We have to guide our meditation in a positive direction.  We do this when we meditate on freedom, on penetrating to the deep nature of reality.  In other words, if we meditate on being egotistical, we will become more egotistical, but if we meditate on being selfless, we will become more caring and altruistic.  When we experience ourselves as totally integrated with everyone, we are naturally going to be compassionate and kind to them.”

i never really thought of tube time as meditation, but after reading these words i can see how this is so true.  so often, we sit in front of the television and vegetate.  vegetating is meditating, right?  so whatever is streaming into our consciousness is going to marinate for as long as we sit on the couch with the tube on.  and then it becomes a part of us.  this could be scary.  powerful.  advertisers are changing who we are on a cellular level through commercials.  seriously.  this is true.  and this is CRAZY.  it’s like brainwashing.  no wonder why every kid i see has a friggin pillow pet.  that commercial must run a hundred times a day.  they almost have no choice but to put the thing on their christmas lists.

i just had a conversation with my daughter’s montessori teacher yesterday about how different children are these days – how much bolder they are with adults.  how quick they are to inflict an abrasive comment on their teachers.  there is little doubt, for me, that the kids learn this snarky behavior from TV.  the way children act on “family” sitcoms is atrocious.  the characters are rude to their parents, they are rude to their neighbors, they are rude to other children’s parents.  (i’m thinking of shows specifically on disney and nick – “icarly” and “good luck charlie” such.)  whether we choose to believe it or not, the fact is, our children are modeling their own behavior after these characters.  they think that these actors are cool.  and they think that the behavior of these characters is…  wait for it…  NORMAL.  yes, that’s right.  scary.

and then, of course, is the programming that is pouring into that wide open channel in our adult brains while meditating in front of the TV.  through most news media and dramatic programming we are being programmed to fear.  notice how the tense of the verb changes.  we are no longer actively making a decision about how our brains are functioning; the television producers are making decisions for us.  we ARE BEING programmed.  not to get all big brother on you, but, well, it’s sort of like big brother.  right?

early last year, i banned all real housewives and most news programming from my house.  this was a big decision for me.  i reaaaallllllyyyyy loved my housewives.  BUT.  while watching the new york housewives reunion on bravo, my husband walked into the room and sat down on the couch.  the women on TV were verbally slaying  each other and hubby goes, “oh, v, my jaw is getting tight just listening to this.”  and then i scanned my own body.  my chest was tight and i had a big lump in my throat.  i turned it off and walked away for good.  and then i noticed the physical reactions i had while watching other programming, specifically local news.  i’d get tight and squeeze-y.  i encourage readers to do a physical scan while you watch TV.  it’s madness.  so now i limit my TV intake to programming that lifts me up or educates me.

my kids love TV.  i usually let them watch PBS, animal planet (they love “river monsters”) and some nick jr.  but as of today i’m pulling in the reins.  (oh, god, please give me the strength to do this.)  if they are going to do something as powerful as meditate on an idea for 30 minutes, it’s sure as shit not going to be what some money-focused CEO at disney wants for my kids.

meditation is a powerful tool.  maybe THE MOST powerful tool.  make a mindful decision about how you use it.  start by turning the channel.

from mine to yours,


(this entry is reposted with edits from my blog “everything old is new age again“, may 18, 2012.)