by: Jamie Rautenberg
Last year I prescribed myself a very important therapeutic exercise. As my body got sicker and my mind cloudier, I took to the written word to express the raw reality of my experience. What initially started out as a private blogspot to process my feelings turned into a public mission to shed light on this thing we call healing, in other words, the roots of The Daily Infusion.
One of the best decisions I ever made for my health & these roots to strengthen was canceling my cable.
Below I share an entry from that blogspot with the reasons why and the benefits I continue to receive to this day.
Friday, June 7, 2013
I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but somewhere between the season finale of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and the premiere of The Bachelorette, I started to fall out of love with television. At first, I thought it was because I couldn’t see my flat-screen clearly and needed to update my eyeglass prescription. But, when my new frames arrived, the sharpness of the image only emphasized how television’s once endearing quirks were beginning to grate on me. It’s hard to believe that the very ambition that brought me to New York City, the dream of working in television, is one that I can no longer connect with, as if it was someone else’s dream.
One of my first journal entries as a toddler was an episode of the 1980’s sitcom Punky Brewster. I actually transcribed the episode as I watched it. Well, I tried to get it all down, but my hand obviously couldn’t keep up with the dialogue because the second half of the episode is noticeably absent. But, I think you get the point that I was quite the Punky fanatic. Television was my escape, my comfort, and was home to all of my friends.
I got to hang out with Kevin, Winnie and Paul through their Wonder Years. Clarissa Explains it All with a confidence and wit that I envied as an adolescent. I navigated high school with Angela Chase in My So-Called Life, and went to college in New York with Felicity. I experienced long city nights that lead me to exciting people and places, and wrote about it while Carrie Bradshaw did the same. I was so invested in this world behind the tube that I aggressively sought out an internship working for Sex and the City, and proudly took Sarah Jessica Parker’s lunch orders for 6 months during the filming of the show’s final season.
I grew through struggles with so many characters, but, my mind really expanded with HBO’s precocious brainchild Six Feet Under. The brilliant irony of setting the show in a family-run funeral home is that, because it revolves around death and its imminent presence, it manages to highlight what is valuable in life. The characters were raw exposed nerves and each episode was rife with emotional conflict that everyone had to deal with in some way, shape or form. This wasn’t the Brady Bunch, the Fisher family was a clan of folks just trying to deal with the depths of their own craziness.
One thing I’ve learned as a working therapist, is that people want to relate. Yes, we want to be heard and validated, too. But, as humans we are designed to connect through our experiences. And, boy did I connect to the Fishers. I found lessons in their darkness that opened me up to myself. Through this exploration, I knew I had to change my direction. That’s when I decided to dedicate my life to providing support to those who needed it while they fought their darkness.
After this walloping epiphany, television began to lead me astray. Maybe it was the reality shows, but, suddenly, the journeys I watched became less poetic and more competitive. I bought into the escape just as much as the next person. I no longer watched to connect, I watched to forget. I forgot about the overwhelming stress of being a drug addiction counselor, dating frustrations, doing the laundry, exercising, eating well, depression, anxiety-all things that I had to deal with if I wanted to be a fully conscious person. But now, all I wanted at the end of the day was a glass of bubbly, and some brainless programming to go with it.
Then, good ‘ole Lyme disease came to the rescue.
With all the mounting medical costs, I made the executive decision to cancel our cable last month. No more distractions to derail my goal of complete and total wellness. Operation heal has commenced from the comfort of my bed, and I’m armed with my Kindle and MacBook. I’ve already found a host of new characters on YouTube who share valuable knowledge about diet and disease. At my disposal is an endless supply of TedTalks, documentaries, books, and informative videos made by strangers who all share the beautiful goal of helping each other grow.
I don’t deny that, like television, there’s a ton of crap on the internet offering an equal opportunity to distract ourselves. And, I’m not saying that there isn’t quality stuff still on the airwaves, either. But, for me, right now, watching Don Draper self-sabotage with women, booze, and cigarettes must wait until myself, and my body, can afford to watch him again. I went into emergency shut down mode, so I have to fuel back up with healing knowledge. Every day I turn on my computer and go to school. I attend classes of my choosing, and feel more empowered with every new concept I learn. Though my body may be at rest, my mind has finally kicked on again.