Just before we left for vacation during the last week of March, I deleted my news app from my phone. It was one of several ways I disconnected and one of the ways I’ve not yet reconnected – in fact, until I saw the charge for my monthly subscription, it’s been easy to forget that I’ve been sans headline alerts.

That’s not to say I’m disconnected from the news. I get it in the form of the various nonprofits we support and their prolific emails; I hear bits and bobs from other people processing what they’ve been reading. And still, it’s not as engaged as I prefer to be.

Philosophically, at least.

Next to me is a novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, that I’ve been wanting to read since I first heard Ocean Vuong interviewed on the podcast On Being.

It is beautifully written, no doubt, and there is violence and emotional devastation on nearly every page.

I’ve continued to read night after night, and have also debated, each night, whether I might just let it go or at least set it aside until my nervous system isn’t being challenged in so many other ways.  

Navigating the world can be a tricky business for our sensitive and easily-confused nervous systems.

It’s easy to lose to discernment in our complex worlds, lives, minds.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of needing to know all the things or needing to avoid all the things.

And yet our bandwidth is like a helium balloon exposed to temperature changes. It shrinks and sinks to the floor and then a little warmth comes in and there it is, puffed up and bobbing near the ceiling again.

Attending to ourselves means noticing these inner shifts and honoring them through discernment which might look like…

…reading the news one week and not the next…

…saving the heartbreaking novel for a later date…

…noticing our daily efforts based on our bandwidth instead of our most energetic day ever…

…sometimes taking a brisk walk in response to an energy dip and sometimes laying down for a nap…

…treating ourselves as the ever-changing complexities that we are.

I’ll download the news app again.

I’ll pick the novel back up again.

But perhaps, probably, not today.

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