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  • Writer's picturewendybrd

The Ecosystem of the Self by Wendy Peterman PhD

Lately, I have been thinking about systems. I love systems. Their elegance. Their complexity. Their gorgeous expressions of creativity. Take the microscopic system of the human cell, full of proteins and organelles, all wrapped in a flexible bag of cholesterol. A tiny system with its own processes, using energy and chemicals to crank out hormones and electrical signals to help us with every little breath, movement, and thought we produce. Millions of minuscule entities combine to make our organs, which form larger systems of circulation, nerves, muscles, and bones. We take in nutrients from other equally complex systems of cells, living equally complex lives in the greater ecosystems of our world.

As human organisms, we participate in an infinite number of systems. Family systems. Work systems. Social systems. Financial systems. Political and religious systems. Do we even know all the systems of which we are a cell? What would it be like if we started to notice the "ecosystems" in which we play a part? What is our role in them? Are we playing it to our best ability?

For example, an ecosystem that is important to me is my family. My role is daughter, sister, mother. Historically, these roles might have taken on characters like "peace-maker," "victim," "fierce protector," or "tragic heroine." If I look at these characters, who no doubt helped us survive at various times, I wonder, "Are they the healthiest cells for the system? Could I ingest better food, thoughts, and information that would make me a more functional cell in my ecosystems?"

I'm sure I can. Every change no matter how minor can send a clearer signal, build a stronger muscle, or produce a more creative response. Every action taken with clearer intention, deeper insight, or greater energy has an impact on my local ecosystem. This becomes alignment, integrity, courage, and strength. I can begin to see these things mirrored back in others, and we begin to form our own system of authenticity. What could the greater effect be? What light could be shined into dark corners with this kind of intentional awareness? Let's lean in and find out.

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