Day 3 without cable and the revelations keep on coming. I am used to sitting in front of the tv twice a day, when I wind down from the day’s work by checking email and FB in the recliner. I usually have the cable listings guide running muted on the screen. Occasionally I’ll look up and see a show that catches my eye and I’ll watch a few minutes of it, but it usually sends me Googling something, then I go back to mute and scrolling on my phone. Today’s revelation was that it was not the SHOWS I was used to WATCHING on cable that were self-soothing, since I rarely watch anything for long. The familiar behavior that was self soothing was READING the cable listings, seeing the FAMILIAR NAMES in FAMILIAR SEQUENCE twice as I sat to relax. They really scrolled silently in the background, kind of like a mantra, whether I was paying attention to them or not.
I kept the cable guide on the screen because (1) it was also my clock and caller id and (2) I liked knowing what the possibilities were, whether I chose to participate or not. As much as I like change, I can also be a creature of habit. I am soothed by repetitive words and ritual behaviors. Each evening I wind down by doing yoga, showering then meditation. I stretch and breathe and have about 6 minutes of silent prayers I say to myself as I settle into posture and mindset to meditate. Those 6 minutes of repeated chants and mantras are familiar names to me, which I say in familiar sequence twice a day as I sit for meditation.
I thought, that was kind of how I had been using the cable guide. Twice a day I’d sit in silence watching the familiar names scroll in familiar sequence, as my thoughts settled down from work. It brought a sense of order to my day. It was the repetition of the familiar words that I found soothing. It wasn’t often that I was looking for any particular show. It was the act of reading something familiar that didn’t require much thought.
That was another thing, without having the show listings scrolling in front of my face to choose from, I’d have to know what interested me enough to want to turn the tv on in the first place. I went to an online tv guide to check the listings for the times I’m usually in front of the tv. I wrote down the names of the shows I’d periodically click in on. I’ll keep the list with the remote control in case I need to look at something familiar while I’m transitioning.
I’ve also slept longer and more soundly. As I observe the thoughts that come and go before me in meditation, I see clearly that by having the cable guide scroll in front of me, subconsciously the cells of my body are On Alert, since I am in Seeking mode. As though subconsciously I don’t want to go to bed because any minute now there might be a big giant choice of really cool stuff I want to watch, which I’ll miss if I go to bed. Disconnecting from cable made me more likely to go to bed.
I like learning new things about myself. Like how I got a dopamine rush after not seeing the blue cable listing guide for several days and just now finding the image to include with the blog gave me the rush. LOL Our minds are powerful things!
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