My regularly scheduled content will return next post. I am not letting go of the Horn of Africa disaster just yet.
I understand money is tight. An easy action any reader can do is to sign this petition asking world leaders to provide full funding to the U.N. to help Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya where over 12 million people are at risk of death from starvation and infectious diseases. These leaders fund wars; time to fund some health. (Use a throw-away e-mail address if you don’t feel like revealing your true self.) Go here to sign the petition and read more.
Thoughts of hunger have weighed heavily on my heart for months – not my hunger, but that which afflicts millions who have few or no resources to help themselves. Finally I was knocked into action by a web site with a post titled Your Yoga ain’t $#!& unless… The rest of the opening sentence says “… or your Judaism, your Christianity, your Buddhism, your Suffism, your Islam, your Paganism, your New-Agism, your humanism, your atheism… unless you do something about this. What appears to be the worst human catastrophe in our lifetimes is occurring now and we each have the ability to do something about it.” You can read about the 12 million people suffering from lack of food, clean water, and basic sanitation. The almost 30,000 children under the age of 5 who have died in the last weeks from malnutrition and associated diseases.
My spiritual and humanitarian beliefs are meaningless unless I act on them.
I chose to go donate the amount of dollars equal to the number of pounds that I have lost through UMCOR. 100% of my money goes directly to relief efforts. I have zero affiliation with this organization, but their standing in regard to charitable efficiency is excellent. (Also, I am not a Methodist and barely can identify as Christian because I think even Jesus would be embarrassed by many who co-opt the name these days.)
Do something, anything. Clean out your pantry and donate to you local food bank. Give money through a local organization to fight hunger in your home town. Donate to combat poverty here in America. (Don’t cop out by believing your taxes do this.) Fight the crisis in the Horn of Africa.
Help really hungry people. Suddenly appetite hones to a different perspective; bodily pain becomes a distant hum; I am blessed beyond riches.
Despite years living in Southeast Texas and spending many a Mardi Gras on Galveston Island, I was never a Fat Tuesday observer. Not that I don’t love pancakes or any excuse for hedonism as it relates to food… It’s just that my Protestant upbringing was devoid of liturgical observances, and thus, I missed out on the road from Epiphany to Shrove Tuesday to Ash Wednesday through Lent.
In fact, the entire Lenten season was a mystery to me until recently when I started connecting saying “no” to my appetite with the concepts of fasting and world hunger. Those of you who want to bail now because this sounds a bit too religious or spiritual, bear with me; there is a link between Lent and my journey to better health and increased social consciousness. This has to do with being attuned to what is important in my life, core even, and what it might take to get there. The somber season of Lent is an individual, non-showy pact with oneself that requires actions (giving to the poor, prayer, fasting) to heighten spiritual awareness. I have made a pact with myself to do many new things (see post on behavior change) – maybe the blog is a bit demonstrative, but I use it as a tool to help my family and close friends support me and if others gain from reading about my journey, even better. By focusing on health rather than on food, I have found more time to consider other areas of my life that I want to address – my need/want to help others, especially my family; my desire to reclaim a more spiritual aspect to my life; and exploring the meaning of food and wanting to help the hungry.
Does this mean that I’m running out to get “ashed”, work in a food bank, fast, and give money to homeless? No – but I’m trying to be more contemplative and seeking health that goes beyond eating well and exercising.