Humans are an incredible species capable of unimaginable feats and possess an innate ability to adapt. Darwin proclaimed in his famous Theory of Evolution, “that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual's ability to compete, survive, and reproduce.” However as technology, modern conveniences, smart phones, computers, wealth, cars, genetics and advanced medicine have reshaped our world so has it thrown a monkey wrench in the modern validity of Darwin’s 157 year old discovery. No I am not about to make a case for “Creationism” as I entrust Darwin’s science based explanation of life as opposed to blind faith proposed by Creationism. Yet the bases of Darwinism is being uprooted and questioned as our race experiences exponential growth in technology, science, and medicine. Recent “revolutionary technology” is quickly old news; the pace at which innovation is flung out of Silicon Valley is staggering. Remember dial up internet and how revolutionary it was to connect to the World Wide Web, enamoured as the screen loaded ¼ page at a time. Now we pull our hair out if a Google search extends past a few seconds and in return gives us millions of results. We adapt and conform to our environment, either good or bad.
No doubt technology has made our lives easier, more efficient, safer, and has drastically improved the amount of knowledge available world-wide. By no means would I want to go back to the stone age, relying on the Mammoth for my tribes food (or would I?). The Mind’s plasticity displays it’s true colors when faced with a challenging situation, adversity, survival, loss, success and shrouds itself when we are bailed out during a testing time or when fear clouds this world of opportunity. I’ve seen it in my own life, my family, and my friends. For some reason our species (and especially as we age), have given up on challenging ourselves in new and unique ways, opting to get bailed out by fear and failure. As a child the mind has no bias, nor judgement for the new world which stimulates and molds their young brains. Creativity and non-judgemental personal expression, exercises our most complex and precious organ stationed at the epicenter of our being. As a society laced in fear and overly obsessed with safety (especially in the Western World) we must remind and remember the days of our youth when fear did not put a tight veil over our eyes. You still possess the same brain, heart, lungs, liver, blood, and central nervous system you once did as a child. Your youth is still in you but first you must get rid of old stagnant thoughts and perceptions which, if not held in check, will confine your mind to a dismal fear, controlling fate.
Never has is felt so good to challenge yourself and in doing so be uncomfortable in your own skin. From the natural world to human behavioral science, one must first be cut down before growth can happen. Why does that crazy neighbor cut the grass weekly, when it could be groomed bi-monthly? First off he may just be OCD (and truly crazy!) but secondly, and much more importantly, is to stimulate growth. When placed in a stressful situation the mind thrives in it’s ability to problem solve or think critically. However instead of stimulating our brains, a portion of our society has turned to drugs (alcohol, pharmaceuticals, recreational, caffeine, stimulants, depressants), mundane television, fake news, consumerism/materialism and social media, to ease their suffering. In reality the brain is calling out for new stimulus because the modern, material world has sucked the life out of it. Why do the work - when it is “easier” to take a pill. No reward comes in simple tasks but those which challenge your plastic mind. The grass is relentlessly and continually cut down, but yet comes back thicker and more resilient each time. Who would have known, the secret to life is a simple and continual mowing of your own proverbial lawn.
Recently we were joined by my parents for some quality time together here in New Zealand with my sister Rachel being the catalyst for their trip across the globe. Well actually it is fair to point out the main culprit was the newest addition to the family, Meg, who was born on March 3, 2017! After the birth my parents joined Rachelle and I in Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook area of New Zealand. With mindfulness (having learned from our past mistakes) we pulled from recent experiences to put together a four day itinerary, including numerous hikes, backyard stargazing, hot springs soaking, and a buffet to really kick it over the top. Not only did my parents mow their respected proverbial lawns but laid down a solid layer of fertilizer. When faced with an uncomfortable situation they relished at the challenge as opposed to turning the other way. My mom and dad had an outstanding glow after completeing a steep, challenging hike to the observatory, then going for a spontaneous swim in chilly Lake Tekapo (preceded by a soak in the nearby hot springs), and finally driving 2 hours to discover a backyard observatory in Geraldine, only to return home after midnight! It was quite a day of comforts, challenges, dis-comforts, exhaustion, and learning, while the plasticity of all our brains molded to this new stimulus. The following day was spent at Mount Cook as we hiked to the terminal end of the Hooker Glacier and back, a 4-5 hour stroll. My parents did great after a number of long days and we all felt a magical energy among us.
As we get older we must continue to cut the grass shorter, and shorter so our roots will develop deeper into our splendid earth, and our strength and resilience will flourish to it’s true potential. Without constant maintenance, our own personal lawns grow out of control and weeds begin to engulf our lives. Let us all personally keep a golf course quality fairway, obtained through nurture and constant maintenance (minus the nasty chemicals). For the real stand outs you will need to purchase a new hand-push lawn mover, a mower to cut the putting greens.