Reflections on Summer Heat


When I was in Safed, Israel, this summer, the temperature hit over 100 degrees. Luckily there in the north of Israel, the thermometer drops at least 20 points at night, offering some relief.

I was scared of that heat before I arrived. So we took cautions such as taking my four grandsons to a shaded pool and starting our swim in the late afternoon. We stayed in the shade and avoided being in full sun all day long. It was different than being in Florida in the summer. There it is humid and suffocating. In Israel, I felt parched all the time and seared like a piece of meat.

It’s amazing what you can get used to, but it was still exhausting to deal with that constant heat. It takes so much energy to not feel the heat as an enemy and to not be angry at it and your body.

The heat made me think of all the people who live in this new normal – the people with no electricity and no air-conditioners, the people who are actually dying in this climate catastrophe.

One day during my visit when we needed to get a new tire, I noticed how fast the conversation went from civil to hostile. I think the heat was part of it because it tries our patience.

How do we cope with heat of all kinds? What does our body need? What kind of mental clarity is needed to not get overheated emotionally?

It makes me think of the body’s messaging system. When we are overheated, it’s a sign of inflammation. Inflammation affects all the cells of our body and challenges our inner ecology. Inflammation affects all our organs but especially the liver, which needs to process waste. We are constantly having to accommodate physically and emotionally. I am thinking of all the diseases that are showing up because of this lack of balance.

We cannot filter when we are burning up trying to survive. Our planet is inflamed. How we can we act on its behalf? What do we need to know about the simple ecosystem of our bodies’ requirements?

Looking around at our Earth, I wonder if the Earth is trying to rebalance with the extreme heat that is causing massive burning forests and snowfall that went late into spring. The swelling oceans and winds are causing hurricanes, flooding, and catastrophes like those described in the Bible.

It’s something to consider as we go forward. How do we cope with this overheating? What nourishes us? How do we refresh ourselves? What do we need to water us? Is the heat a deeper metaphor of our burning out as a people who cannot hold our boundaries and our greed? And what about those of us who feel so compromised by the powerlessness around our political situation? How do we stay in balance knowing this is the way things are now?

How can we help one another in this overheated situation? What do we need to attend to as we face this new normal? I ask you to think about what your body is inviting you to understand, so the inflammation does not create a more acute disease.

What can we do for our communities? What can we do for one another? How do we want to participate in this new story we are creating every day?

As I write I think of what I am doing to get nourished. This essay and the next one are naming the problem. I have some suggestions about some of the solutions, but we can address solutions only when we fully accept the problems.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this.


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