Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
-L. Frank Baum
We live in a noisy world. There’s physical noise— the hum of electronics, traffic outside, the television in the background. And there’s the noise of technology— so much information being taken in, a sense of being connected and “on” every waking moment, especially for people like me who work online and through the wonder of email and smartphones never really step away from the office.
I have tinnitus. Loud, abrasive noise causes me physical pain, and I lack the ability to effectively filter out background noise. If we are at a bar, all I can do is watch and smile and nod and try to make sense of what you are saying. I catch a bit here and there and it’s a lot of work to follow what’s being said. Eventually, I become overwhelmed and tune out.
I think that’s analogous to how many of us process informational noise. We try to keep up, but eventually our patience wanes and our attention fragments and we lack the ability to fully concentrate. Add the situational burdens of everything we need to do in the holiday season and we become like the walking dead, moving from thing to thing without being fully aware or emotionally engaged.
That’s a terrible way to spend a beautiful time intended for friends and family. But it sucks at other times of the year too.
Creating white space means to give yourself some room to breathe. To clear out the clutter so you can release the tension you’re unconsciously holding, step back and achieve some perspective. To be able to clearly hear your own guiding voice. It’s restive. It’s rejuvenating. And at this time of year, it’s necessary to keep your dang sanity.
*Aside: quite by coincidence, I opened an email from Danielle LaPorte about the white space in her blog design today. Doesn’t it do your soul good to see it? Doesn’t it make you realize how cluttered the rest of the online world is by comparison?*
Where am I going with this? I have a suggestion for a new tool to help you create white space in your life.
GaiamTV is an online treasure trove of videos dedicated to helping you make sense of and honor your life’s journey. Tonight, and ideally every night, when you would normally watch some TV (but not during New Girl; I wholly approve of New Girl), take 30 minutes and check out some of what GaiamTV has to offer.
There are yoga videos and meditation videos, which you’d probably expect, both of which are wonderful for centering and creating white space in your day. (I recommend Rodney Yee for those new to yoga; I’m personally excited about the Yoga for Athletic Integration/ Recovery: basically warmups & cooldowns I can do before & after winter runs.) There are also a host of other fitness videos— dance, cardio, core and more— including the series that kickstarted my own weight loss, Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred.
But that’s just the beginning.
I originally went through and made a playlist of everything I want to watch on GaiamTV with the intention of cutting and pasting here, but there’s far too many to list. So here are a couple of highlights:
- Movies about our food system & effects on health: Fresh, King Corn, Killer at Large, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
- Documentaries about nature, particularly deep sea: Aliens of the Deep, The Coral Reefs Are Dying, Ocean Crystals
- Shows about the mysteries of the mind and body: Chasing Sleep
- Studies on the pursuit of happiness: Happy, Happy For No Reason
- Biographical content: Coco Chanel, The Looking Glass of Lewis Carroll
- Examinations of religion and spiritual beliefs: The Hidden Story of Jesus, Feng Shui Life
- Some random things like Jack Canfield and Laurel & Hardy (YAY!)
They also have kids’ videos, a nice safe alternative to what’s available on Netflix.
In much the same way that I don’t believe that “any reading is good reading,” I don’t think any TV is relaxing TV. GaiamTV is a more challenging way to spend 30 or 60 minutes than sitting down with Honey Boo Boo, on the surface. But I believe that the content stretches you and therefore makes you more limber. It takes you out of your noise— elevates you— and creates that white space that we need and crave, but don’t realize we’ve missed so much until it’s there.
They say you never regret a good workout. Think of GaiamTV as a workout for your mind and spirit.
You can try GaiamTV for 10 days yourself for free; it’s $9.95 a month after that. Tonight on Twitter I’ll be running a chat with @GaiamTV (I’ll be behind the @FitFluential handle) about how we can stay active and well during the holidays, and three people will win 3 months of GaiamTV. (Two others will win a Gaiam Eco-Body Balance Ball kit!) If you’re intrigued by the video offerings, looking for ways to stay active through the busy months, or intrigued by the concept of white space please do join us 🙂
Disclosure: I work for FitFluential and GaiamTV is a client. All opinions and meanderings are my own.