"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are"

This quotation from Theodore Roosevelt is one I often call to mind when under pressure, especially from big issues.  It's very practical, and I find being practical helpful when I'm overwhelmed - either by too much or too little.

In relation to the 'too much' scenario it brings me back to myself when the world at large seems alien and out of control.  It helps me focus instead on what my situation is, what my most immediate needs are and on what I am doing to stay sane and calm and active in my own small way.

In relation to the 'too little' scenario, my concern is usually to do with too little control, too little money, or a paucity of stamina.

Note repetition of the control theme in each case.  Loss of personal power is known to be a major stress factor, which may impact more on thoughtful people like me who tend to see themselves as outsiders.

I do tend to panic about the big issues which affect us now and look set to increase incrementally in the near future: global warming, climate disaster, food shortages, economic and political turmoil... It seems that how we respond to these challenges now is going to define what happens on this planet for a very long time to come.

So, what can I do here, with what I have?
On the face of it it may seem like not much, but when placed together regular practical actions can and do add up.  This helps me feel that I am contributing to the general good in my own way: I can grow things, including some of the vegetables we eat, which is constructive and calming; I can bottle locally produced fruit and tomatoes and bake using New Zealand grown flour, which rewards local growers and saves carbon miles; I can buy things second hand, which saves waste, and I can walk rather than using the car as much as possible; I show respect to my fellow creatures, both human and otherwise...  These are some of the things I do and have control over. Talking about them and sharing some of my skills and insights in order to help others is another way I contribute.  

What happens on a grand scale I can't control, but that is made up of all our little contributions be they active or passive, so I encourage readers to step out of the modern tide of superficial non-sense, fear and clutter which is so depressing and wasteful, and to consciously exert what influence you can.

Other ways individuals can contribute are through joining peace or environmental groups, charitable and humanitarian organisations, doing volunteer work and so on. 
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
(This article was originally posted in my At Home Chronicle, and has been adapted for its place here.)

To go to the next article click on this link:
Finding the way forward ~ while standing (on) our own ground

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