Thursday, February 7, 2013

What did I learn today?

Tonight I wrote my first bio lab report. I should qualify that. Tonight I half-assed my first bio lab report and wrote a miserable first draft in the course of about ninety minutes. Let me once again mention how much I hate science. T- 4 months until I say goodbye to the natural sciences forever. #Englishmajor

So the lab was about homeostasis. Homeostasis is essentially maintaining the same internal state even in the face of changing outside environments. So we studied the way water of different salinities affected crabs and worms (I know, fun right? Tomorrow we dissect minks. I'd rather read Infinite Jest in one sitting). So the conclusion of the lab was that worms are osmoconformers - meaning they adjust to the salinity in the water - whereas crabs are osmoregulators - they are able to keep the same internal environment regardless of salinity.

And the whole damn thing just felt like a metaphor to me.

I know I've written about this before, but one of the things that I've spent a lot of the last year thinking about and working towards is grounding myself. To me, being grounded means that life is lived as a series of action not reactions. It's maintaining the same internal sense of being regardless of all the things out of my control. And I think it's important because when life is a series of reactions, I'm not in control, my environment is. In essence, it's being the osmoconformer, being the worm.

The thing about being the regulator is that it's hard. The crab has it's whole hard shell going on that allows it to be in control. I guess I haven't quite worked out that part of the metaphor yet, other than that it takes active work to be the regulator. But you know what? I've gotten better at it. These days, I think I'm more of a crab than a worm. Which feels good.

I don't know if there's a secret to grounding oneself. It's highly possible that the secret is simply some therapy here and there. But I'm pretty sure it takes a little bit more than that. For me, the most important thing has been developing my own list of anchor values. They're the overall governing principles and values that I hold to. And it took me about a year to really feel like I had a list and I was committed to it. But I've found so much power in that list of values, because I already know where I stand. When I've already decided - really decided - that compassion or integrity or faith is something I will work my hardest to live by, well then it makes things that much easier. And yes, I fail. I fail every single day. But I don't think it's about being able to drink the Felix Felicis potion and have one day of perfect anchor value living. I think it's about living a grounded life.

Start I where I am, use what I have, and do what I can. And that's enough.

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