When the big things are too much…

 Today I read a very interesting article which among other things explains why women tend to shop or eat when faced with crisis.


What started this research was an article in my Oprah magazine on how to manage a spending diet. I have a tendency when anyone mentions a fact (such as how hormonal secretions effect behavior differently in men and women) that is way outside the particular writer’s field to verify it with my own research.   That way I am not propagating a myth if I repeat the fact. One of the ironies of this modern age of information is how easily facts can be checked and how rarely they are. But that is for another blog, another time. What I really wanted to talk about today was my favorite theme, doing small things to cope with the big things that are beyond our grasp.

I am a faithful NPR listener and NYTimes, BBC, and Christian Science Monitor (now all web available) reader. When I am interested in a story, either because of its effect on me and my immediate world or because of its impact on the global picture I am also part of, I try to get the story from more than one source; whether it’s "Truth" or a stool to sit upon, three supports are the minimum requirement for stability. I also check in at times on the other sources whose use of inflammatory rhetoric allows me the chance to practice my Ghandi techniques such as FoxNews, The Arizona Republic, etc. It is always good to know how those most unlike you in process also view the events. All this to say, that there comes a point when the enormity of the events I cannot change shuts me down and I find myself facing my own powerlessness.

How I respond to this is apparently decided by my female hormones. (Because we secrete "nurture" more than "flee" or "fight", especially postmenopausally. ) Usually when this happens I eat or shop. These days however as I work to practice the belief that what I change or do on small scale eddies out to the big scale, but otherwise its not in my control, I do neither acts of consumption.

What I did today? I hung my clothes on a drying rack instead of using my dryer. I will carpool with two friends to our social gathering tonight. I will buy my books, groceries and necessaries locally. I rinsed and placed my empty containers in the recycling bin that I will drive to the pick up point tomorrow, and I made a list of all the things I was grateful for, letting my little hunter, gatherer heart relish how well taken care of I truly am by this universe.

I cannot stop the insanity that is this worlds, and especially western culture’s, own auto-immune insanity, nor can I mitigate the effect of my own all consuming appetites by sinking into helplessness and depression.  The news today is sad and horrifying as the pot of human intolerance, heated by Peak Oil being now a reality instead of theory, boils over onto the masses in the middle east. In other news, natural disasters accumulate, and crime against the labor force, the working poor and thereby human rights is committed in the name of budget balancing by those who make more in a month than most make in a year.

Its that whole raising the level of the ocean by peeing in it story all over again, so today I will remember to focus on the fact that I can warm my little circle and focus on what I CAN do. To help me I am re-reading "Coming to Our Senses" by Jon-Kabat Zinn. I missed so much in it the first time.

Here is my question dear readers, what little things do you do, can you suggest, to help us average Janes be part of the solution as we all come to our senses?