the purpose of fractals
A fractal is a never-ending pattern. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-simiilar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop. —Emergent Strategy, by adrienne maree brown, p.51
The purpose of fractals, of the small repeating patterns in our experiences, gestures, truths, moments that happen between us and inside us is to generate meaning.
These seemingly in-between spaces, mundane, habitual, overlooked, or out of our control are where we actually live. Where we forge the meaning in, and quality of, our lives.
In the moment by moment cultivation of our relationships, emergence of experiences and the journeys to our accomplishments and life milestones, fractals is to hold it together, provide structure, connection, direction.
We get pushed to hurry up already. Get to that next major marker. What’s new and exciting? (in the midst of all the noise, how loud, how big does your thing need to be to matter?) When really, what is the rush, or the point actually, when—
Small is good, small is all. (The large is a reflection of the small). —Emergent Strategy, by adrienne maree brown, p.41
I’m not trying to say that it’s only the little things that count. It’s that fractals comprise the large in a way that is powerful, that can be where great change, peace and value can be generated.
…what we practice at the small scale sets the pattern for the whole system. —Emergent Strategy, by adrienne maree brown, p.53
And while at times it may seem like it’s the big things, the headlines that are demanding, even fixating our attention, how that takes place in our lives, our bodies, our work, our families, is also comprised of fractals, of repeating patterns, sustained by us.
Whatever you’re doing, you’re training in something. —I think I’m quoting or paraphrasing Pema Chödrön or Sakyong Mipham circa 2009? (my reading, not their writing)
Physically, mentally, emotionally — neurologically, we’re doing reps, carving grooves, marking paths. Your attention is already there. And, at the top of the year, where many have decided on a list of goals, resolutions, projects, values — maybe boiled it all down to a word, a core theme for the year, I’d like to reflect on direction.
To consider the fractal-makeup of the journey, the work, the living we’re called to this year, this season, this week. When we zoom in, get that personal, does it all hold together?
No pressure to know things about where you’re headed or how you’ll get there. Totally cool if you do, if you have a plan in place.
Either way, we’ll just talk, about whatever you’re ready to talk about. Often, getting together like this can be surprisingly relaxing to ideas that are bracing against being seen or tested — whether you realized it or not.
I’ve only recently noticed the gap between what I say are my values and what I do, how I hold myself, hold space for others. It’s subtle (at this resolution) the difference, but what if I zoomed in? Not just to see if the difference is nontrivial (and definitely not to stand in judgment — I’ve done quite enough of that), but to understand the gap, maybe choose differently going forward — even-just-slightly change things. If it’s a pattern, a feedback loop, a habit, a belief system, a typical response, an expectation of a same-old, an unexamined risk assessment, a routine and I tweaked just so, how large of an impact might that have going forward at scale?
That’s what I’m hoping to explore in this discussion about fractals and purpose.
There’s nothing to prepare. I’ll share the discussion prompts over the weekend when you register (for those who just like to know what to expect).
What do you think? Is this sounding like your kind of conversation space?
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