“A human being is part of a whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

~Albert Einstein

During a storm, the wind is blowing hard, the air is biting cold, and the rain is piercing and wet. Being in a storm feels uncomfortable, perhaps even overwhelming. What do you see when you’re standing in front of a junk-filled garage? You see a big mess. How about when you have an argument with a friend or family member? During the confrontation, you may experience anger and hurt feelings. But when you’re in the smack midst of what appears to us to be chaos, is it possible that something greater is there, something that could be discovered with some distance or a change in perspective?

From a distance a storm looks very different than it does up close:

How about that messy garage? Maybe it’s filled with boxes of old photographs, boogie boards, gardening tools, holiday decorations, and a car or two. But aren’t those tangible items stored in an apparently happenstance manner really symbols of love, tradition, joy, and prosperity, that when combined reveal a life well lived?

What about that issue with your friend or loved one? Do your differences provide you with an opportunity to find common ground and enjoy a new level of intimacy, or a point of departure to make room for healthier relationships and connections?

The rain? The boxes? The confrontations? What if those were fractals?

Fractal patterns are everywhere in nature, broccoli, snowflakes, flowers, coral, and ferns. Looking just at one part, you see that part. From a different perspective, you see the pattern. So how do perspectives and patterns influence our perception of our mess?

If you’re in the midst of a corn maze, you see walls of cornstalks. But from a distance, the pattern emerges and you can find which direction on the path you wish to follow – or find that you were already headed in the desired direction. It’s the same thing with traffic on the freeway. It isn’t always possible to see ahead to know if it is better to take a side road or maintain the present course; however, from that spot you can choose to curse at other drivers or turn up the radio and sing along.

Being caught in a storm, stuck in traffic, standing in front of a garage that needs organizing, or arguing with a loved one may be uncomfortable when you’re in the midst of it. Is there comfort in knowing that the mess itself is part of a great and glorious pattern, and that even the parts that aren’t the most beautiful or are the hardest to see might also be more than just part of the whole, but essential to it, like roots to the tree?

(Storm photographs courtesy of Google Images.)

19 comments on “Sunday Message: Fractals”

  1. I was wondering if you might be willing to mention my raffle/fundraiser. I would NOT ask if it wasn’t for a great cause. Plus, there are over 90 donated prizes to win totaling over $3000.00! And who doesn’t like to win??

    It’s really a win-win for everyone. People get to help me meet my fundraising goal AND potentionally win big.

    Yesterdat was the 6th anniversary of my Dad’s heart transplant. I am more determined than ever to give back in a big way.

    This is the comment I have been leaving on certain blogs in hopes that the word will get out about what I’m trying to do.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE clickover and enter my raffle!! You can truly win TONS OF PRIZES (totaling over $3000.00 – goft crds, Starbucks coffee maker, $600 in camping equipemtn, gorgeous jewelry).

    It’s for a great cause….


    6 years ago my Dad received a new heart.

    This is my way of giving back.

    Thank you for any help you can give,

  2. i love sundays at blogthismom.

    i like gary’s comment better than hallie’s.

    also? i need to go clean up my garage. last time i cleaned it up i found 3 pairs of jeans that didn’t used to fit. now they do.

  3. Gary is on the right track.

    And I’m wondering what Katy was doing when she left her jeans in the garage.

    And why Hallie doesn’t get spell-check.

    And whether or not I’ll be up all night pondering fractals, relationships, storms, and messy garages.

    XO I have missed you!

  4. As I read this post, I couldn’t help but think of a suitcase found in my dh’s aunt’s closet after she had passed away in 2004. The suitcase contained her sister’s clothing and personal effects, likely brought back from the hospital after her sister had died during heart surgery in the early 1960s. The experience was so traumatic that his aunt couldn’t dispose of the suitcase, nor could she deal with its contents. The best she could do was put it in a corner of a closet.

    The watercolour paintings of the 1960s deceased aunt have been framed and hang in our home. They have been posted on my blog ( ~ check under the vintage label).

  5. I took a whole page of notes on this one! Wow!

    “is it possible that something greater is there, something that could be discovered with some distance or a change in perspective?”

    This part made my mind dizzy — in a good way!

    I think I need help with getting some distance and a healthy change in my perspective.

    Love the Sunday Messages!

  6. I think I may have to back away from the computer now as I search for perspective. Maybe I need to walk out of my office entirely to find a different view. Now, that sounds like a good idea for the day.

    Great post.

  7. Oh, if I could think this way often… I feel good when I get there occasionally. 🙂

    Great post! It will keep me thinking for a while.

  8. I’m going to bookmark this page …

    I could have used this a couple of months ago. Then again I may not have absorbed it so well then.


  9. It’s obvious where Laura gets her MENSA smarts. I had to look up the word “fractal”. No shit.

    I like Gary’s comment too and I hope Kate scored big if she cleaned her garage again.

    Great post, btw. 🙂

Lurkers are welcome. Commenters are welcomer.