What is life? Any puppy can show you

Are you alive? How can you tell?

Frederic Martini, the author of my Anatomy and Physiology textbook, says that, “though the world around us contains an enormous diversity of living organisms that vary widely in appearance and lifestyle … biologists have found that all living things share certain basic characteristics.” These include:

  • Responsiveness
  • Growth and Differentiation
  • Movement – either internal or external
  • Metabolism and excretion
  • Reproduction

IMG_6920The new puppy at my house has me thinking about all these. He barks and wags and perks his ears. (responsiveness, check) He is bigger by half it seems than when we picked him out just a few short weeks ago. (Growth, check) He leaps, circles, bounds, patters, runs, flops, pants – well you know, he’s a puppy. (Movement, check) He eats, poops and pees. (Metabolism/excretion, check)

 

IMG_6603

Now reproduction. He’s not old enough to produce more little Buddys. But the playfulness and joy he displays is reproduced in everyone around him, so I’m gonna give him a check mark for that one, too. No one would challenge my contention that Buddy is alive: fully alive.

What about me? Responding, growing, moving, energizing? If not, then I don’t want to be reproducing, because I would be perpetuating non-alive. If so, then I do want to be passing all I know and all I do onto future generations. They are not exact replicas, but they can be the beneficiaries of what I have created and lived thus far.

Knowing that, I must be all about responding, growing, moving, energizing and reproducing. (RGMER) In fact, it’s my responsibility to be sure I am attending to each, in each area of my life. In my relationships, my work, my faith, my person, I must choose life over the dead wood that isn’t alive. That I must replace with the freshness of life, and now I have a check list. If something fails the test, it needs a check up.

What about my neighborhood? Is it Alive? RGMER?

What about my community? My school? My town? My state? My country? My world? Is there RGMER, in each?

When we were called into life and gifted for this lifetime, we were created with the capacity to interact in and with our world and charged with the responsibility to attend to them in a healthy way. We were meant to choose life. Are we? Are we fully alive? Let’s see.

  • Responsiveness/Irritability (How do you respond to the immediate changes in their environment?)
  • Growth and Differentiation (Day by day, are you maintaining and maturing to honor your and support healthy growth?)
  • Movement (Do you move from one spot, both internally and externally, or are you so fixed in place that nothing can move you?)
  • Metabolism and excretion (Are you breaking down and building up better, eliminating what needs discarding, in order to provide a healthy environment for the life in you?)
  • Reproduction (Are you preparing your replacement in this world to be better equipped for this life and the next?)

Life actually doesn’t defy definition. Biologists know life when they see it. So do I.

Thanks Buddy!IMG_6918 IMG_6912

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About wlebolt

Wendy is a health and fitness professional and coach who specializes in helping young athletes dig deep to reach high. Her business, Fit2Finish, LLC, serves the Washington DC metropolitan area.

Posted on October 9, 2014, in Body, Cool Science, In Action, Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Barbara Hoopes

    Ohhhh, you got a puppy!! Springer Spaniel, right? I know how hard that is, given what you’ve just been through. But it’s certainly a sign of embracing the future, and hope. Good for you! Welcome, Buddy!

  2. He’s a Britanny, Barbara. But yes, Spaniel through and through. Don’t tell anyone :), but we are also getting a min-Golden retriever, too. We are of the firm opinion that you can’t play with a dog like a dog can play with a dog. Buddy is funny. Definitely imprinting on my husband Scot – litter-mates for sure. 🙂

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