By Beth Keil
Between 1991 and 1993 the Biosphere 2 experiment took place in Oracle, Arizona. Its purpose was to replicate an environment that would provide information for extraterrestrial space colonization such as on Mars. It was to be a completely self-sustaining environment. In the effort of providing food for the Biosphereans (the name for those living there) fruit trees were grown. In this enclosed environment the trees didn’t fair very well. Etiolation, when there isn’t enough sunlight and stems are weak and foliage is pale, occurred. Because there wasn’t any wind in the Biosphere, reaction wood didn’t form. Reaction wood develops when a tree is exposed to mechanical stressors such as wind and heavy snow. It strengthens a tree’s branches so it can support the weight of maturing fruit. As a result fruit dropped from the trees before it was ripe enough to eat.
The effect the biosphere had on the development of trees is one way to took at the impact stress can have on our lives. Without stressors, we can’t grow strong. Stressors cause growth leading to strength. Some would say that’s why fire tempers steel, making it stronger. So what if we looked at our lives with a different perspective and instead of trying to eliminate all the stress, we learn how to let it move us?
There are different levels of stress and only an individual can determine the level. There is stress that’s motivating. Having a deadline for submitting these articles is such a stress. It motivates me to plan time to write and most of the time this works. But this isn’t one of those moments. Today is the 28th and I should have had it submitted already. I could give reasons why it isn’t completed but the bottom line is I’m late. I’m at the fork in the road, so to speak. I could sit here and let the stress of what I need to do today collide with I NEED to send out this article today. I could dwell on what time it is right now (8:19 a.m.), when I have appointments through out the day, and needing to have the article proofread before submitting it. As I dwell on all that, I’m aware my heart is going a bit faster and my mind is ready to race. I know myself that given a little more stress, I’ll become overwhelmed. This is known as dis-stress. Distress can be like a hurricane, blowing so hard the fruit is pulled from the tree. Lots of drama but not with the results I need and want.
If I have no stress at all regarding the writing of this piece, I know me, I’ll put more things ahead of it and it will be 8:19 p.m. before I look at it again. If I were to do that, distress will be in my future.
Instead, I’m going to use the level of stress I need to complete my work. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I want it just right. Achieving my goal, like having ripened fruit, is within my reach.
Now I’m done.