For 300 years we have imagined our world as a machine. Machines break down and wear out. They are replaced by newer models. Perhaps this image is the source for our negative thoughts about aging. We accept the view of a downhill world. We see ourselves as losing productivity and becoming useless. We feel threatened and fearful of change. In a downhill world, change exhausts our valuable energy and brings about decline.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics profoundly affects the way we look at ourselves and our world. Simply stated, it says that closed systems have a tendency to run down and wear out. It applies to machines, for example. A closed system gives off energy that cannot be retrieved. It reaches a point where it can produce nothing more. It has done its work. If you see yourself and your world going steadily downhill, you are living by this law. But you are not a machine.
You know how to grow and evolve in the midst of change.
An open or living system has the capacity to respond to new information by reorganizing itself. New energy is constantly coming in and old worn-out energy leaving. At times a self-organizing system may reach a bifurcation point—a scientific term for a crossroads. It may keep the same form or evolve into a new one. But it never changes in random ways. It changes to preserve itself and deal better with the present. You are a dynamic living being. You can adapt to new information with wisdom and resilience. You can create a life that goes on, fuller than before.
You become more adaptive and resilient through openness to the world.
An ecosystem is a self-organizing system in nature. As it develops and matures, the system becomes more stable and complex. It benefits from the diversity of its members. It keeps its own identity while contributing to other members and the environment. Through these open exchanges, it becomes more adaptive and resilient. An ecosystem shows you how change happens in living systems. You see the importance of a clear sense of identity. You learn the value of openness to a diverse world. You discover a path to more freedom and possibility.
Having a life vision guides you in making wise choices.
Information is essential to all life. With nothing new, you lose productivity and the capacity for change. With too much input, you feel overwhelmed and confused. Living systems show you the keys to meaningful information. From a clear sense of who you are and what you desire from life, you create a life vision. Your life vision acts as a lens to interpret new information. It guides you in making wise choices. It helps you stay focused on what matters the most to you.
You grow and transform when you recognize the need and have the desire to do so. Each moment is full of possibilities until you make a choice. Your life vision serves as a filter for your choices and a catalyst for change. It allows you to remain independent, yet open and involved with an interconnected world. You have the freedom to choose a future path consistent with your vision. You are the creator of a more productive and happier life.
Mary Beth Ford, Ed. D., is the author of Wisdom from the Gardens: Life Lessons and creator of The Garden Wisdom Teleseminar. She specializes in the area of life balance, which she describes as balance between outer world and inner self. She offers products for living with balance and joy at The Garden Wisdom Store online. To learn more, visit her website at http://www.wisdomfromthegardens.com and hear an inspiring video message from Mary Beth.