The wind that shakes us: why we need to struggle

“Pessimists complain about the wind. Optimists expect it to change. Realists adjust the sails.” ~ William Arthur Ward

I live in Wellington, New Zealand, the windiest city in the world. Located between the North and South Islands, this colorful little town is struck by the wind. The wind from the south is getting colder and the wind from the northwest seems to blow forever. My body is regularly beaten. But in all that ferocious, there is an answer to one of the great questions in life: how do we feel accustomed to the wind? Or how do we live with the difficult things that blow our way away?

This study can shed some light.

Biosphere 2 was a scientific experiment in the Arizona Desert in the 80’s and 90’s. The vast (and I’m huge) glass dome housed flora and fauna in a fully controlled environment. It was inhabited by all nature, including trees, wetlands, deserts and rainforests. Animals, plants, and people co-existed because scientists’ ideas of purified air, purified water, healthy soil, and filtered light were the perfect and optimal environment for life.

Everything prospered for a while.

However, after a while, the trees began to fall. When the tree reached a certain height, it fell to the ground.

This initially confused scientists. Until they find that their perfect environment is windless and stormy. There was no resistance to the tree. There was no adversity in the tree.

Scientists have concluded that wind is needed to strengthen the roots of the tree, which supports growth. The wind was a missing element. It is an essential element in making tall, solid and strong trees.

What can this scientific experiment teach us about real life?


Life without storms is like Biosphere 2. Indeed, it sounds idyllic. But that’s just recognition. And I fell into hooks, lines and sinkers.

I thought a perfect life would make me happy. And for a while I did. Good job, great husband, Robley’s house. But I knew deeply that something was missing. I always felt that my life was imperfect. I was anxious for something. I didn’t understand what. It puzzled me, just as it puzzled scientists.

Not knowing that, I also put the biosphere around my heart. If pain or resistance blew my way, my biosphere stopped it from penetrating. It’s until I’m diagnosed with blood cancer and things start to crack.

A few months after the diagnosis, I sat in the psychotherapist’s office, became nervous, put my hand under my thigh, and simply said, “I’m really scared of my cancer.”

The moment I thought it was a weakness turned out to be the very moment when my biosphere, my armor, began to crack.

My diagnosis, my adversity, was just an opportunity to get out of comfort and talk to someone I’m scared of. It shocked me enough to take me on the unexpected path of my inner quest.

Was it scary to open? of course! I wanted to stay in the biosphere. I really did. I kept looking for comfort in it, but I wasn’t satisfied, the wind sneaked in some way and just got stronger: I lost my loved one with cancer, my best friend backstabbed me, Postpartum body broke, wind became stronger, pain increased, all the while dripping on very small children. Like those felled trees, I fell to the ground.

When I couldn’t control the wind, I had to talk about horror away from the comfort of the biosphere and see the darkness, I was tall enough to find what I was looking for. rice field. I was longing for it. To know your fulfillment.

I knew that my old habit of perfecting and controlling my life to avoid, paralyze, and distract from pain was no longer working. Those strategies did not lead me to what I most wanted: perfection. I had to experience pain. Please sit in it. Rinse it and put it in me. I had to feel what it meant to be cancerous, lonely, hurt, lost a loved one, and broken. Only by experiencing it I realized that I could transcend it.

The release was on the other side of the pain. It existed outside my biosphere. One therapy session at a time, one book at a time, one podcast at a time, one meditation at a time, one difficult conversation at a time, slowly things started to crack. Every fragile inch, eventually (as it was a few years later) my biosphere collapsed to the ground.

Brené Brown calls life outside the biosphere “living in an arena.” “When we spend our lives waiting to be perfect or bulletproof before we enter the arena, we sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may ultimately be irreparable,” she said.

She also said, “I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave in my life. And when we choose to challenge boldly, we sign up to kick the donkey. We can choose courage or comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time. “

The courage to become vulnerable is a stepping stone from the biosphere.

If you are in adversity, such as being blocked, in the clinic, or away from your loved ones, your biosphere will probably also be unable to protect you from pain. COVID-19 broke open our collective armor and showed how much we couldn’t control. it’s difficult. Is painful. But it’s also an opportunity. When the outside world is collapsing, the only way is inward.

Looking back, I can see that pain and resistance only asked me for one thing. To see it. Looking inside, becoming vulnerable, talking about my feelings, unleashing darkness, crying, excavating, reading, listening, meditating, advancing consciousness, expanding consciousness is fine-tuning (or in my case) Was a stab).

And over time, I went beyond the safety of the biosphere and grew to unthinkable heights while in it. Without the wind, I would never have seen the height I could reach.

This process of unearthing all my fears and darkness ultimately leads to a place of power. Now I have the consciousness and power to choose when to act from fear and when to ignore it. The wind no longer dominates me. I’m at home in it — figuratively and literally.

Living in the middle of Middle-earth has certainly proved one thing: the wind is constant. More than we can avoid the change from day to night, we cannot avoid the difficulties. Difficulties continue to happen in our lives-more blockades, more illnesses, more wounds-and the only way to stay home in the wind is not to fight it, but with it Is to learn to live in.

Here in Wellington, he says: You can’t beat Wellington on a good day.. That’s true. Wellington is the most brilliant city on the planet when the sun is shining. The wind blows the spider’s web away, leaving dignity. The rugged coastline sparkles, the heartbeat of the city beats, and it enters the hearts of everyone who lives here. Around this time, strong winds are forgiven and we fall in love with our city again. and again. and again.

Without the wind, there would be nothing to forgive. You will never fall in love. Life will be on the flat line. Yes, there are no strong winds. But we also miss the awe. Life is both wind and sun, pain and beauty. By staying in the biosphere, we risk missing magic outside the biosphere.

I am very pleased to have made the first leap of fragile faith many years ago. Living outside the biosphere is not as scary as I imagined. I didn’t stay on the ground like a rotten logging tree. I have grown up.

I grew up in a place where the air was clear. I can breathe. Frustration, scars and pain do not last for long periods of time. A wave of emotions enters and then disappears. I observe it all without a sense of permanent entanglement. The horror is in the back seat. The pain is relieved. The beauty will increase. Love is everywhere in the wind.

Deepak Chopra said: “The best way to get rid of pain is to feel pain, and when you feel pain and go beyond it, you have a very strong love that wants to awaken itself. You will see. “

That is waiting for you outside the biosphere.

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