Interesting fact: One of the only stocks to rise in value on
September 29th was Campbell's Soup. Whether people were snapping
up canned goods as a hedge against a possible depression, or whether
they just thought about taking refuge in a giant bowl of tomato
bisque, soup was a hot item.
The question from yesterday might better be, "Who didn't
think of comfort food at some point during the day? Macaroni and
double fudge ice cream
When you feel helpless or frightened, comfort foods can be the
first line of defense to come to mind. They bring back the days
of being taken care of by adults who seemed to know what they
were doing. Comfort food can re-create a sense of safety.
But comfort food is, of course, a "shadow" comfort,
as are alcohol and drugs. They block out reality for a short period
of time, but then we always come back to the moment. And in the
moment there's fear and uncertainty.
Unless there's not.
How much control do you believe you have over your thoughts?
Have you considered that it may not be necessary to bounce off
of every news report like a shot in a pinball game, hurtling from
one bumper to another? Our "monkey minds" don't have
to determine how we react in difficult times. We can say yes to
their directives, or we can say no.
I observed myself watching the financial news yesterday as I
turned from channel to channel, listening for any information
that would help me understand what was going on. When I realized
that the experts couldn't explain or predict anything with
certainty, I told myself to shut off the TV. I felt frustrated
and confused and then immediately thought of macaroni and cheese.
But, no. I realized then that I was allowing my emotions to be
determined by the shouting voices in my head, the ones warning
of imminent disaster and worse. Why should I permit that to happen?
If there wasn't something specific that I needed to do, why activate
the fight or flight response?
I knew that pasta wasn't the answer, either.
I remembered the column I had written a few years ago about using
trust as a life preserver. I wrote:
"Crises test our beliefs, and I believe that they occur
when they do as a way of showing us what we're made of; they make
us walk our talk and demonstrate how far we've come since the
last time our foundation was shaken. We'd much rather do without
them, of course, but handled correctly, they can lift us to the
next level of our growth
Sometimes the message is that we
should be doing things differently. Maybe we need to appreciate
certain things more. Or certain people. Maybe we're being told
that our timing isn't right. Maybe we have to learn the value
of patience, or honesty, or kindness, or self-love. Maybe we just
have to weather adversity with dignity and faith."
This still rings true for me. There are events I can control,
and events I can't, and the direction of the U.S. economy is certainly
one of the latter. But I can continue to make decisions about
my expenditures that are sensible and in the best interests of
my family and the environment. I can continue to remember that
I'm on the earth for reasons that transcend this crisis, that
have to do with bringing people together and helping them to see
the value of their own lives.
We do need to take comfort in what we can, and I hope that as
a result of this situation there will be more bipartisan political
effort in the future and a better application of the truism, "If
you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always
And in the meantime, there is always soup.