Deepening Roots

Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in Relationships

 roots in water

With a high wind event in Pasadena, California and the surrounding region a few years ago, there was an amazing amount of debris and destruction. The most prolific evidence of the power of these winds could be seen around town in the piles of leaves, scattered branches and toppled trees that lined the streets. It was humbling to see 100 year old oak trees and 4 story pine trees lie prone on streets or toppled up against structures.
It was reported that one of the contributing factors to the falling of these large trees was the impact of artificial watering on gardens and landscapes. This prevented some trees from deeply rooting themselves into the ground and instead created shallow root systems. Even though they were healthy and functioning trees during most conditions, when the extreme winds whipped through the area, these trees didn’t have the ability to remain erect. This makes me think of the parallels between humans and their environment.
We know that some people are more resilient than others. Most of us function well under typical conditions, but when extremes happen some of us have the ability to “bounce back” or return to their normalcy more effectively than others. We know there are some key factors that promote greater resiliency. Knowing these may help us put energy into systems and relationships that increase our chances for recovery when bad things happen.
Short List of Resilience Factors (with Implicated Human Adaptive Systems)
• Positive attachment bonds with caregivers (attachment; family)
• Positive relationships with other nurturing and competent adults (attachment)
• Intellectual skills (integrated cognitive systems of a human brain in good working order)
• Self-regulation skills (self-control systems and related executive functions of the human brain)
• Positive self-perceptions; self-efficacy (mastery motivation system)
• Faith, hope, and a sense of meaning in life (meaning-making systems of belief)
• Friends or romantic partners who are supportive and prosocial (attachment)
• Bonds to effective schools and other prosocial organizations (sociocultural systems)
• Communities with positive services and supports for families and children (sociocultural)
• Cultures that provide positive standards, rituals, relationships, and supports (sociocultural)
(Taken from Ordinary Magic: Lessons From Research on Resilience in Human Development Ann S. Masten, Education Canada Vol. 49 (3) Canadian Education Association (www.cea-ace.ca) 2010)
Some questions that I reflect upon are:
How deep are my roots in my family?
How deep are my roots in my friendships?
How deep are my roots within myself?
How deep are my roots in my spirituality?
How deep are my roots in my community?
(This is an edited repost from a former blog.)
Natasha Morisawa is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice. She has deepened many of her roots in the San Gabriel Valley.
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