Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis
You might remember the experiment performed in the Arizona desert in the 1990s, where a closed environment called the Biosphere was built to test the viability of ecosystems. Scientists were sealed inside the enclosure to measure survivability. Behind this highly public exercise was useful research that helped further ecological understanding. In this utopian eco-system, all the variables were controlled to reproduce a perfect living environment. At first, plant life enjoyed vigorous growth and health. The trees grew rapidly as planned, but at a certain height, some of them began to fall over. They soon learned the lack of wind was the missing element for the trees to survive. They had no way of producing sustainable wind in the enclosed system. To build a deep root system, the trees needed something to resist. Have you ever thought that having obstacles to overcome creates strength in your life? Just like the trees, our strength is below the surface.
I love working with Seniors because they have deep roots. You don’t make it to this age without overcoming plenty of obstacles. Humans don’t live in a closed system that protects them from the elements of life, nor should they. A significant portion of our work in life is overcoming difficulties. In today’s world, it seems that when complications arise, many feel a great injustice has occurred, and they are looking for someone or something to blame. Dr. Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves.” So we are blown about by the winds of life and put our roots down deep and wide. I see this strength every day in Elders. They have not escaped the challenges of life, but they have become strong individuals. They are great role models for our generation.