Don’t Just Do Something…
“Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you,
Everywhere you go, always take the weather…”
– Crowded House
Have you noticed that as soon as the weather changes, humans try to shield themselves from it?
Initially everyone is out, car windows are wide open. A week or two later, every car that goes by has the windows rolled up. Restaurant outdoor patios, after the initial period of elation, sit empty as we choose ”inside please” to dine in the artificially cooled air. Dining areas inside are often far too cool, hence we bring a sweater. The other day I was sitting on the beach and a neighbor glided by me on the water, standing on her paddle board, her slight body glistening with sweat. She looked up at me and shouted “It’s so hot!” It never crossed her mind to jump in the water. Surely the water is too cold or too hot or too mucky or too something!
By mid-July the stores are carrying Fall products- dormitory and school supplies have replaced the charcoal, goggles, insect repellant and inflatable water toys. Pumpkin loaves replace the strawberry-rhubarb turnovers. We are being manipulated into the next season. The retail stores know if they don’t get their Fall junk out on the shelves, you’ll buy it somewhere else. In the heart of the summer.
The part of the brain responsible for temperature regulation is called the hypothalamus. This anatomically small part of the brain produces powerful hormones that regulate major bodily functions like temperature, hunger, thirst, sleep and libido. Its primary function is to maintain homeostasis. Although our physical bodies are exposed to extreme conditions, our hypothalamus will maintain balance. For example, when conditions are hot, the hypothalamus will instruct the body to sweat, which cools us off. If conditions are cool, our body will shiver, in an effort to warm up. It is an exquisitely sensitive area that is constantly in the state of flux. It receives signals from the environment and with an intricate feedback loop controls the balance our bodies need to survive and thrive.
There is a problem when we don’t trust our own bodies. Our nervous system is designed to handle temperature shifts, if we would only sit, wait, and allow it to adjust. But there is a problem; this involves having to tolerate discomfort. Discomfort makes us desperate to find a solution to stop it as quickly as we can. Our inability to handle discomfort morphs into an inability to be present. It causes us to flip a switch, have a drink, take a pill, stay indoors- anything to take us out of the present moment. This intolerance actually weakens our defenses, making it even harder to adapt as we age. This need to control the outside to keep our bodies in a neutral state further separates us from nature.
All of this causes people to focus on the one thing we have no control over; the weather. If we find ourselves complaining about the weather we need to look inside and figure out what is really going on.