“Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.”
― Maya Angelou
Photo by Jeroen den Otter on Unsplash
I recently participated in an 8-day self-guided silent retreat in the rocky mountains. I made the decision to immerse in nature not only to find serenity; but to face the ugly, messy, and uncomfortable parts of myself that I have been avoiding. It felt terrifying to loosen the grips of control - my business, my comforts, and the people I rely on were inaccessible. When I started to feel resistance to this challenge, I am reminded of the University of Arizona's experiment called BioSphere 2: In 1991, eight people locked themselves inside an airtight three-acre greenhouse intending to prove they could survive and maintain a self-sustaining ecosystem of 3,800 plant and animals species for two years. The Biosphere was curated to mimic the earth's ecosystem under perfect conditions and prove we could colonize Mars. The experiment failed due to a lack of oxygen produced from the so-called 'perfect' ecosystem. The scientists found that even though trees grew faster and taller than naturally occurring trees, once they got to a certain height they would fall down and die. Why? The lack of wind in the biosphere could not provide enough external stress to harden the bark required to support the structure of the tree. It's a great reminder that even in perfect conditions we cannot control the outcome. We can however soften control, and embrace the grit and resiliency that comes from encountering discomfort.
Food for Thought? What is an uncomfortable truth I am avoiding? What is the worst-case scenario? What is the best-case scenario?