How many times have you heard someone talk about how everything in their life is perfect except for this one teeny tiny thing.  Of course, it isn’t so teeny or tiny and as they are talking about it you can get a sense that it’s just the tip of a floating ice burg.  If you listen long enough, you know, not just to one telling or one incident, but really listen over time, what you see is that one tiny thing becomes one kind of tiny thing and then it becomes an example of not so tiny things, like a repeated pattern you find in a carpet if you stare at it long enough.

Fractal-Mobius-Dragon-IFS-10This is what I like to call a fractal problem.  The person focuses on one particular issue, one event, one frustration or regret and ignores the fact that it’s not unique.  Looking down at the specifics they are able to keep from seeing the bigger picture and how those create the big picture. Like a fractal where the big picture is made of many smaller bits and all those bits are actually the same picture, only in miniature, we rarely have a unique problem with one person or one institution.  We tend to have a lesson to learn or a habit we cycle through and it shows up in all of our relationships from micro to macro.  The stakes change but the pattern doesn’t.  Have self esteem issues in relationships? You’ll see them in everything else from friends to talking with the bank. Have the need to control things, it will show up all over the place, not necessarily in draconian rules of behavior, but perhaps in magical thinking that says things will go horribly wrong without doing this one thing or one ceremony, that things can only be done this one way as the “best” way and you can prove it, etc.  Perfectionism combines and two and etc, etc.

We all live fractal lives where our perceptions of ourselves and of how the world works affects everything we are and what we do. This isn’t a bad thing depending on the pattern we’re producing.  If we are producing something beautiful and healthy in the world and in ourselves its reflected in all aspects.  If we’re struggling or imbalanced or working through issues, that will show up all over as well.  Which is why there’s seemingly never a way to get rid of that teeny tiny issue that’s constantly plaguing us. If we look up we’ll see the pattern unfold and our world will be forever changed.