I think in metaphors. Or symbols. On good days – puns. Lately I’ve been getting into cooking. Actual cooking, not reheating frozen veggie burgers. Quinoa, salmon, halibut, sautéed mushrooms, actually using the spices I have beyond salt. Not only have I felt better physically, but the response from my friends has been so overwhelmingly positive, I almost don’t believe them…almost.
It’s true, you are what you eat. And setting the conscious intention of preparing quality healthy food that I let into my body has made a big difference in how I feel physically. Which made me think about what I’m unconsciously letting in mentally or emotionally and how THAT is making me feel.
Everyone knows we live in an obscenely saturated media culture, which is compounded when we live in urban settings because we have to block so much of our environment out to survive the day. (This is no exaggeration. Can you imagine being open to all the energy of the people, cars, vendors and happenings while driving at the corner of Hollywood and Highland? Just that corner alone would paralyzed us and we’d die.) The effects of blocking out all this energetic information narrows the view point and without clarity or focus, I want to know what enters that precious frame and why?
The big city can be lonely. It’s lonely to live in any environment where you have to block so much of it out. When we’re lonely, we’re vulnerable. Perfect time for other people’s opinions or quick fixes tend to make their way into our purview – ie Social media and the expertise of those in ‘authority.’ That’s where discernment comes in.
Discernment: The ability to obtain sharp perceptions or to judge well.
Back to our food analogy for a moment: it’s easy for me to discern between fast food and a delicious meal I’m making at home. McDonald’s was my jam growing up, but it’s nowhere near my radar today. #winning. I want to develop that same sharp discernment when it comes to the opinions of others.
This past week, a colleague of mine told me that the industry never promised me a career, very soon I will be aged out of the majority of paying roles and I should try another career before working off the card. This was a response to a discussion we were having about the state of the commercial world and the growing non-union work. That statement was combination punch to the heart, gut and ovaries. Perfect opportunity for discernment –Is he an expert? Is he an expert on the trajectory of my personal career?* No. He’s an expert on his opinion. Therefore, I cannot let it in and override my intuition and desire. By the way, there is no one expert in this business. There is no one expert. That fact is equally frustrating and freeing.
So! Like fast food – avoid that thinking and opinion entirely. Fast food makes me feel awful. And defeatist attitudes induce the same nausea with a side of rage. I cannot allow either in my body. And neither should you.
It’s a delicate balance between inner instinct and environmental influence. It’s hard to hear things we don’t want to hear. Discernment is a way to determine if the uncomfortable is healthy growth (like learning to appreciate kale) or hogwash, bullshit and a waste of mental energy (candy crush)
I wish this article outlined how to do discern. I’m a beginner. It’s something that is cultivated over time. The best I can do is share my journey with it so far. In the sharing, I hope a collective resonance will unite us. At best, it’s food for thought. (It’s not a pun, but I’ll take a metaphor any day.