Harmony & Velcro

Harmony & Velcro

“Take it that you have died today, and your life's story is ended; and henceforward regard what future time may be given you as uncovenanted surplus, and live it out in harmony with nature.”
- Marcus Aurelius

Velcro was invented in 1948 by Swiss engineer George de Mestral. Yes, the miracle material that made it possible for children to close their sneakers without knowing how to tie a knot was happened upon when he went for a walk in the woods and wondered what he could learn from burrs. These seed cases clung in a highly effective manner to his dogs and trousers, making them very difficult to clean off. Nature made them prickly for protection and sticky to spread seeds. De Mestral eventually realized he could apply the same function to a synthetic version for industrial use. After years of researching nature’s brilliance, he successfully reproduced this natural function by utilizing two strips of fabric, one side with thousands of minuscule hooks and the other side with thousands of minuscule loops. The name Velcro came from a combination of two French words, velours and crochet—in English, velvet and hooks—and it was formally patented in 1955.

Velcro is quite possibly the most famous example of biomimicry. This field of research and innovation is explained as “the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes.” Or, simply put, the copying of nature’s brilliance to find solutions to our problems. When you understand biomimicry, it’s very much a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that? moment. It’s just so obvious. Nature has existed and thrived much longer than we have, so what hubris do we have, thinking our solutions will be more effective than those already in place? Why should we know how to capture the sun’s energy better than a leaf? Or fly better than a bird? Or invent better than the world that invented us? According to Janine Benyus, co-founder of the Biomimicry Guild, “…we live in a competent universe, that we are part of a brilliant planet, and that we are surrounded by genius” and, finally, “people are beginning to remember that organisms, other organisms, the rest of the natural world are doing things very similar to what we need to do. But they in fact are doing them in a way that have allowed them to live gracefully on this planet for billions of years.”

Before humans started messing around with the system, nature existed in harmony for millions of years. A beautiful symphony of seasonal change, birth and death, creation and destruction, had existed, synchronized, coordinated, and self-sustaining for nearly an eternity. Every organism got what it needed, the summer always showed up pretty much exactly when it was supposed to, and everything sort of just worked, fixed itself, or disappeared. This same harmony that drives the physical world applies to the intangible emotional world. We too must achieve harmony, between all the elements of our lives, the internal self and the external world.

A harmonious state of being is defined as a proactive state in which your internal needs are aligned with your actions and the surrounding energy of the world. The only way this occurs is if the proactive alignment of what’s most important to you, your priorities, are aligned with what you do every day, your position. Sometimes, like an earthquake or tornado in the physical world, when we least expect it, energy moves in unexpected directions, maybe even a direction we may not feel is positive. There’s an interruption to our plan, and our harmony, like the loss of a job, a re-location, or sales plummeting, and then the question becomes, what do we do?

The natural reaction when something happens that’s unplanned is to panic or “fight the energy.” But that’s exactly the type of action you don’t want to take because it’s in exact opposition to the harmony we’re aiming to achieve. So what can we do instead of fighting the energy? There’s only one answer: accept it. Pause, take a deep breath, and trust that everything that happens is in your best interests. This is really important. The key to achieving harmony and eventually to manifesting your magic is to allow the surrounding energy to take you to where you need to be at that moment in time. You must trust the energy. Instead of fighting where the world is taking you, make efforts to understand why; look inside yourself to see the bigger picture. Maybe you’re supposed to move on from that job. Or shut down that line of business. Or not buy that house. It’s critical that we accept that we aren’t always in control. We’re part of an energy system that’s much larger than ourselves, and sometimes we can’t understand the positive results of things we perceive to be negative. We might not be able to understand how this situation is bringing us closer to our ideal reality.

I know, I know; accepting a lack of control is counterintuitive and difficult, but when you realize that fighting the surrounding energy only creates chaos both personally and professionally, you’ll understand that existing in harmony with nature is the only acceptable solution. Or, as the great Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said, “When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.” Marcus Aurelius was, in his time, the most powerful man in the world; I promise you, his problems where greater than yours. If he can do it, so can you.

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