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The One Question You Need to Ask About Your Entertainment Choices

photo: mollybob on flickr

photo: mollybob on flickr

What’s your favorite form of entertainment?

TV? Movies? Video games? Reading? (I know there are still some of you out there.)

These days, we have bazillions of entertainment choices. Thanks to the electronic revolution, many of these choices are available 24/7.

These choices leave us with questions:

What do I want to watch/play/read? When do I want to watch/play/read it? Who do I want to watch/play/read it with?

photo: Mark Vitazko on flickr

photo: Mark Vitazko on flickr

But there’s another question we need to ask ourselves, one that is far more important than Who, When, and What.

When it comes to our entertainment choices, there is one question that is primary. One question that allows all other questions to fall into perspective. One question that has the power to change our lives for the better.

When it comes to our entertainment choices, that one question is:

Is Sponge Bob Square Pants involved in any way? Because if he is, I’m in.

SpongeBob Samaritan NY

No? That’s not your primary question?

I guess it’s just me.

Okay, after the Sponge Bob question, there’s another question that’s crucial to ask. One that really does have the power to change your life for the better.

And that question is:

How does this show/movie/game/book make me feel?

photo: Emran Kassim, tamckile, ePi.Longo, and Michael Yim on flickr

photo: Emran Kassim, tamckile, ePi.Longo, and Michael Yim on flickr

I didn’t use to pay much attention to this question. If I did notice that a particular form of entertainment made me feel moody or depressed, I held myself to blame.

Not anymore.

The work of Abraham-Hicks has made me acutely aware of the power of emotions in spiritual practice. Our emotions, Abe says, are a finely-tuned barometer that shows us how aligned we are with the Divine in any given moment.

Feeling like crap?

Not aligned.

Feeling awesome?


Yes, it sounds simplistic. Yes, I was resistant to the idea at first. But I tried it out. And I agree with Abe.

One of the best examples of this is when we’re pissed off at someone. When we’re in this state of mind and heart, we’re not seeing the other person – or ourselves – with the eyes of love. Viewing the world with the eyes of love is how the Divine sees.

And when this is our view, we feel great.

photo: CalamariGirl on flickr

photo: CalamariGirl on flickr

Which brings me back to our entertainment choices.

I used to love the show Weeds. I watched season after season, enjoying the offbeat storylines, the clever dialogue, and Mary Louise Parker. And then, just recently, I rented the last season of Weeds on Netflix.

I still appreciated the storylines, the dialogue, and Mary Louise, but something had changed. I noticed that, when I was finished watching an episode, I didn’t feel good.

In the past, I acknowledged that the show was a little dark, but it didn’t bother me. In fact, I liked it.

But now, the dark edges were leaving a bad aftertaste.

photo: David Goehring on flickr

photo: David Goehring on flickr

Did the show change? Did I?

I have no idea. It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I started to notice the effect of the show on my emotional state.

Now, some of you might point out that I wasn’t seeing Weeds with the eyes of love. After all, if the Divine sees everything with love, then wasn’t my view of Weeds not in alignment with the Divine?

Oooooooh. Great question.

Ultimately, seeing everything with the eyes of love is what I aspire to do. But I’m not there yet. In the meantime, I’m a human being, with all the requisite contractions and illusions that go along with the job description.

Given this fact, why not surround myself with people, places and things that help me align with who I really am? No need to make it any harder than it already is, for God’s sake.

Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with Weeds, per se. Someone else might watch it and feel great. Nurse Jackie is another show that some might categorize as dark, and I love that show.

The important piece is my own particular reaction to Weeds.

It didn’t make me feel good. It didn’t strengthen my alignment with Love and Energy and Creativity.

photo: AJ Leon on flickr

photo: AJ Leon on flickr

There’s another question you might ask, another question that – unfortunately – has nothing to do with Sponge Bob Square Pants.

What about watching movies and shows that challenge us? What about the forms of entertainment that choose to shine a spotlight on areas of pain and suffering?

Here’s the thing: There are two ways to approach such subjects.

The first way is to shine the spotlight. Period. No suggestions for improvement are offered. This approach can leave the viewer feeling hopeless and depressed.

The second approach is to shine a spotlight and then provide suggestions for things the viewer can do to improve the situation. This approach can leave us mobilized to make the world a better place.

In other words, even though we’ve woken up to an issue that needs to change, we’re inspired to take action to improve it. And inspired action feels good.

In other words, our entertainment choices have the power to optimize our emotional well-being and inspire us to make the world a better place.

And it all starts with one question.

sponge bob last done

How do your entertainment options make you feel? Share your comments below!

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22 Responses to The One Question You Need to Ask About Your Entertainment Choices

  1. Antonia Albany December 3, 2013 at 6:23 am #

    Thanks for this timely piece, Z. I myself just had this epiphany about some reality programs I watched that foster conflict between people. Too much anger, hostility and general angst. I enjoyed cheering for a victor but hated the ease with which we so skillfully rage against each other. This is not the vision I want for my life, so I quit. Sure frees up lots of time!
    Happy Holidays,

    • Z Egloff December 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      Hi Antonia,

      Congratulations on your freedom from angst! Always a good thing. And the extra free time is a great benefit as well! Great that you were able to step back and make a change.

      Happy Holidays to you as well! :)


  2. Michael December 3, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Z (-D), I read your post on entertainment choices, and was both entertained and left feeling good – nice!

    I agree that when I pick up a book to read, as I often do, I choose books that leave me feeling inspired and energized (unless I’m reading in bed at night, in which case I don’t mind being left asleep and hopefully not snoring too loudly). When I get into a book or article and notice myself feeling agitated or bored, I simply put it down and move on to something else that makes me feel a little bit better. Honoring my emotional barometer keeps me feeling balanced and empowered- i do have a choice! Thanks for your thoughts and humor, ~Michael
    p.s.- I am definitely a big fan of Spongebob Squarepants (my friend Clancy )Brown is the voice of Mr Krabs

    • Z Egloff December 3, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

      Hi Michael,

      That’s great that you can put a book down when it makes you feel agitated or bored. I’ve had a tendency in the past to want to finish what I start, even if it’s not working for me. This has been true with books as well as movies. But with my new system, I’m much less likely to stick with something if it’s not making me feel energized and/or inspired.

      Say howdy to Mr Krabs for me!! :)


  3. m December 3, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    If you gea chance to GO to see a movie…Try Philomena…Judy Dench….
    See how positive she remains….and for how long she remains positive…great stroy and it’s true…or at least taken after a real life story.
    I don’t get anything for sharing this….but it is a movie that I would see again….and I would be a better peson for it.

    Not all my entertainment choices are this good….But like Hemingway waid….good and bad are determined by how you feel afterwards….
    XO M

    • Z Egloff December 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

      Hi M,

      Philomena is one of the movies that Melissa and I have been wanting to see. So I appreciate the additional nudge to get us to actually go see it. The previews look great – it looks like something I’d be glad I saw.

      And I’m glad that Hemingway has weighed in on this topic as well. :)


  4. Donna December 3, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    I got netflix recently and I am so addicted! This is after a few years of no television. I read a lot – suspense, mystery, etc., also spiritual material. I find myself watching all the seasons of Bones, Medium, and now i’m enthralled with X Files. Other than that I’ve been watching family movies and Abraham. Thank you so much for your insights and wonderful sense of humor and joy.
    Love and Blessings to you!

    • Z Egloff December 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      Hi Donna,

      I’m a fan of Netflix too. One of the things I love about it is that there are no commercials. Also, I can be intentional about what I watch, as opposed to just turning on the TV and watching whatever’s on. I also like getting the discs because there are often great commentaries and other info about the show/movie. As a nerd, I love additional info. Glad you’re enjoying what you’re watching! :)


  5. Becka December 3, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Wow, Z. I am so thankful to be hearing this right now. I took a bit of a detour and instead of thinking about media (just books for me, I’m a nerd like you) I thought about the people who I’m interacting with. Some people I keep telling myself I “should” feel a certain way around or be a certain way with. I see I’m telling myself a story that there’s something wrong with me because I’m not feeling good about being around them. Your post allowed me to see it from a different perspective and be gentle and accepting of myself as I am. Thank you for shining a light for me!

    • Z Egloff December 4, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

      Hi Becka!

      I like that you applied the ideas in this post to another medium entirely. What an awesome nerdly thing to do! I also love the results you got from this creative application! :)

      And I’m grateful that you were able to move to a place of accepting yourself Exactly As You Are!! Yay!! Nothing’s better than that.


  6. Ren December 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Great Post Z! I’m a student of the Abraham Hicks teachings too. Personally I have found that if I’m in a good feeling space to begin with, then anything I’m inspired to watch uplifts me. I also find that I’m less likely to blame a show/movie for my feelings because it really is all about my focus. It’s really easy for me to appreciate the co-creative energy & artistry in the media industry…the costumes…how an idea ends up as something magnificent on our screens. That said, I can go years without TV & then there are times that it serves as distraction & even inspiration. I like focusing on the positive aspects of it. I adore Doctor Who & Star Trek. I love Castle & Once Upon a Time! How nice it is that we live in a time where we can catch watch shows at our own pace via netflix & amazon. Freedom :)

    • Z Egloff December 4, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

      Hi Ren,

      Thanks for stopping by! Always nice to meet another Friend of Abe.

      I like that you focus on the freedom in all this. That’s one of the reasons I love Netflix so much – I’m free to watch whatever I want to, whenever I want to. I also like your reminder that we can always focus on what we like about something – and that modern entertainment options, no matter what the subject, are filled with creativity. These are great things to remember and give our attention to.

      Stop by again any time! :)


  7. Sherry December 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    I am a big fan of Abe. I use this philosphy for my life and it gets me through hard times and good times. It really works.

    I agree with you that since I’ve been more steeped in Abe, I steer away from some shows (well, I actually don’t watch TV any longer). I am more choosy about movies that I watch.

    Thanks, for another great article, Z!

    • Z Egloff December 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

      Hi Sherry,

      Yes, I hear you. Being steeped in Abe has made me more and more choosy about what I read/watch/listen to as well. The best part is that I just seem to keep getting happier and happier. I also like that you say that Abe’s philosophy helps with both good and bad times. That’s been true for me as well.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)


  8. Nita December 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    Greetings AND gratitudes Z. I appreciate and value your thoughtFULL efforts and energy. Do not have “television”. My first choice for entertainment comes with music. Dancing. I am one of those dorky gurls learning how to square dance. I also love country western 2-step and waltz. Now learning night club two step. There is a point during the dance when it feels like I got a shot of really great drug simply by moving my mind and body to music. When my girlfriend leads me into turns and spins…ka-Boing! A very-very happy high. I confess, it can feel addictive. Whatever IT is, I want more. So, I get my ‘fix’ like 3 or 4 nights a week on the dance floor. Hmmm, as I type this, I wonder about that addiction. Sheesh! I love IT so much that I took all the furniture out of one room so that we could practice dancing at home. uh-oh???

    Love and Thanks be, Z. You are Good.

    • Z Egloff December 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      Hi Nita,

      Fun to “see” you here! :)

      Ooooooh! Square dancing sounds fun. And Waltzing. And night club two step! One of the things that Melissa and I want to do when we’re finished with ministerial school is take some dance lessons. I love your descriptions. If dancing is addictive, it seems like in only the best way. Plus it’s such a great way to bond with your sweetheart. And with music. And with your body. And with the Divine. Delicious!!


  9. Karen December 3, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    Another huge fan of Abraham here, too. I’ve found this effect when listening to talk radio. Used to love to all the political talk, but now, after tuning into my emotions more as ‘indicators’ of how I am connecting with my higher self, I have noticed a direct correlation between how my day is going, to how much talk radio I listen to. All of a sudden, I noticed that not so good things were happening to me when I listened to a lot of the divisiveness on the air. Now that I don’t listen to it much, I notice that my life goes much more smoothly, and with more joy. I believe there is a direct relationship to listening ,or watching, things that do not resonate with the inner me. It is amazing how quickly things turn around when I choose to take in good, fun, positive things. Kind of the difference we might physically feel after eating a bag of chips, versus something a tad healthier. ;-). It’s OK to snack on salt and grease every once in a while, but a steady diet of it will make you sicker than….well, than a dried up Sponge- Bob. (Sorry, I’ve never watched the little guy, so I’m probably not using the best analogy here.) :-)
    Thanks for the conversation!

    • Z Egloff December 4, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

      Hi Karen,

      Yay! Another Abe fan. :)

      Your story about talk radio is such a great example of how input affects output. The best part is being able to pay attention and make changes accordingly. And that we all have the power to do this, every day.

      As for the dried-up Sponge Bob, it’s a great metaphor. It makes me hurt just to think of SBSP all shriveled up on the beach. No fun!


  10. Karen December 3, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Wonderful post, Z, and wonderful comments!

    I can’t believe you mentioned Sponge Bob! I couldn’t tolerate that cartoon when my daughter watched it years ago, & when my granddaughter began watching it this summer, I strongly suggested another choice. Then I began consistently watching it with Claire and absolutely love it now. I recently got her a Sponge Bob Lego set. We had such fun putting it together. Crabby patties, anyone?

    And I love the way you approached this topic of entertainment, Z, and your references to Abraham. It really is so important to partake in entertainment that leaves us feeling good — or at the very least, no worse! Mark and I stick almost exclusively to sports and comedies on TV. We get such a kick out of “Modern Family” and “The Middle” and several other sit-coms. And then we began following “Mad Men,” a very well-done drama, no question. But like you and “Weeds,” I’m noticing that I just don’t feel uplifted afterward. I do like the drama and suspense, but it’s just not worth messing up my vibration, even a little bit, I’ve concluded.

    “Mad Men,” adieu. Sponge Bob, Patrick, and Sandy, sit yourselves down and stay a spell.

    • Z Egloff December 4, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      Hi Karen,

      Of course you’re a fan of Sponge Bob! Great minds think alike! :)

      Actually, I have to confess that I haven’t watched that many Sponge Bob episodes. I just like his positive, zany attitude. And looking at him makes me happy.

      It’s funny that you mention “Mad Men.” Melissa and I watched it for a while and, like you, appreciated that it was a well-done drama. But we reached the same conclusion that you did. We noticed that we felt worse after the show than we did before it started. So, like you, we pulled the plug. It’s great to know that I don’t have to watch anything just because I “should,” or because it’s won a bunch of awards.

      Thanks, as always, for your comments. :)


  11. Jane Beach December 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    I love using a Book of the Month for my Sunday message – it brings out the teacher in me. There are so many really valuable books out there!

    Some TV is mildly interesting. I like watching TV shows about nature, animals, etc. because of the glory of how God shows up in such amazing forms!

    Not fond of reality shows – they seem to bring out the worst in people (do they get paid to be nasty to each other?) I struggle with lots of sit coms because of the need to put each other down, etc. They make me feel judgmental and kind of sad.

    I spend lots of time in the silence – that does it for me! It’s the real deal!

    • Z Egloff December 10, 2013 at 11:32 am #

      Hi Jane,

      Reality shows are not my thing either. We don’t have cable, so the only way we can watch TV is to rent movie or TV series without commercials. I like this because I’m consciously choosing what I’m watching.

      Thanks for reminding me how fun nature shows can be – Melissa has a nature series she’s been wanting to watch for a while. We’ll have to check it out! :)


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