Tag Archives: chaos theory

30 Days of “A Year of Living Your Yoga” — Day 24: Butterfly Effect, Chaos Theory


Welcome to Day 24 of my blog series based on Judith Hansen-Lasater’s “A Year of Living Your Yoga.”

I will try to keep these posts to about 500 words.

Here is the quote:

November 13 — The ability to understand the cost of my choices before I make them is the beginning of wisdom. Whatever choice you make, the choice affects the world in ways you will never know. When you makes choices today, make them with love.

Yes. So wise. So true and it is the beginning of wisdom, but to me, it’s also the beginning of so much more.


thing 3 loved this butterfly so much; he wanted me to take its picture.

thing 3 loved this butterfly so much; he wanted me to take its picture.

Have you ever heard of the “butterfly effect” regarding “chaos theory”? It’s quite simply: the phenomenon whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere (wikipedia). It stems from a theory originated in 1980 which posits the notion that a butterfly fluttering in Rio de Janeiro could change the weather in Chicago (wikipedia).

I absolutely believe in the butterfly effect.

I’ve seen it started and I’ve also seen it stopped (regarding human interactions).

When I know that I have to have a difficult conversation with someone, I try to anticipate how my side will be appreciated. I try to think of many sides, many outcomes. Most of the time, I’m pretty accurate. Sometimes I couldn’t be more wrong. Indulge me for a moment regarding the bullying episode this past spring.  Our approach to this dilemma was bonded with honor and love (as much as was possible given the situation) but absolutely with respect.

We attempted to handle it in a way that would be rational. In fact, we handled it in a way that was suggested by three separate school counselors (including the bully’s own school counselor who reached out to my husband to intervene). It was a disaster. We really had no idea the situation would go as badly as it ultimately did. I mean, I could’ve never predicted that.

So it happened.

The choices the other family made were successively colossal in their failures. To me, they were steeped in fear, judgment and anger. It’s ironic, because we were the ones who were attacked. You’d think we were the ones who would be fearful, judgmental and angry. But we weren’t. We trusted.

Anyway, as much as it’s water under the bridge, it’s a really great illustration point for many of these quotes I’ve been dissecting.

The choices we make will absolutely affect the world in ways we will never know. (Beware the ego trap of also thinking you can influence any outcome too — this quote suggests you can, but c’mon… keep your head on straight.)

In practice:

Be nice to the man who pumps your gas. Smile at him and say thanks. Maybe that will keep him from getting angry at the next customer* who might then feel safer on the road after leaving the station.

Choose to take a breath before sharing what’s on your mind with your partner if it’s heavy. That breath can be the difference between a disagreement or a resolution.

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Offer assistance to the exhausted mother of three. Hold the door open for her, walk slowly around her so her children stay close to her so her mind can be at ease.

Say a silent blessing to the homeless man on the corner, remember how much your stomach hurt the last time you were really hungry. Buy him a sandwich… (My brother does this: he doesn’t give homeless people money, he asks them what they need: shoes, food, clothes… and then he gets it for them.)

Don’t yell at the driver who just cut you off. Maybe *she just found out her child fell down the steps and is on the way to the hospital. (See? It’s all related, even if it seems like it isn’t.)

Remember that you’re NOT the only person on this planet.

All of these conscious actions require is the simple act of slowing down, noticing, interpreting and executing.

Just slow down. What’s the rush? Be nice. Take a breath. Don’t react. Think first.

Thank you.


30 Days of Jung — Day 19: #Cosmos #Self #Psychology


I guess. This quote, I mean, I guess. I’m not even going to try to come up with something pithy or clever to whatever this quote

Welcome to Day 19 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.

If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s the “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.

Here is today’s:

“Whatever is rejected from the self, appears in the world as an event.”
― C.G. Jung

No. I mean, I guess, in the larger scheme I suppose anything is possible, but I sort of am stuck with this quote in the sense that it belongs most likely within the context of life and how it was being lived when Jung thought it.

And why does it have to be what is “rejected” always? Why can’t it be what is embraced? And then maybe it’s me? Maybe I’m just linking the negative with what he means by rejected…

Boston Marathon. I can’t help but think as I do, about American events when I think of “world” because that’s my most immediate world. But OK, let’s talk about Syria, that’s a world event? Or the Taliban attacking Karzai a few weeks ago; that’s a world event? And again: why does it have to be a bad thing / event?

So if I stay on that tack, the Boston Marathon, I will see that while two brothers did detonate a bomb at a popular American event killing three and injuring about 200 people, some irreparably, there is this tone of “eff you!” coming back from the running community and from Boston as a whole (unsurprisingly) and so while that bomb did some damage, the spirit of the survivors is one of … rejection. They are rejecting the terror.

Look, you have your model of rejection and I have mine.

Usually when I think of “rejected from the self” I think of “denial” as in a denial of anger or addiction or consciousness.

I suppose I could think of rejection of anger as in an embrace of love; rejection of addiction as an embrace of consciousness. I have to see that there’s an exchange, in order to maintain the cosmic order that Jung proposed yesterday and that I believe is always happening in order to make sense of when “bad” things happen.

For example: when a natural disaster strikes I believe that there is a good thing happening somewhere else and that that exact “good” thing might just be the absence of another natural disaster happening somewhere else. I tend to think we take peace for granted. The world is a mighty complex thing and it’s hard to decide which event gets more of our attention than another event, and in keeping with the quote, which is the world event (or maybe it’s all world events) that garner the “rejection” action.

All I know is that I’ve got my own tribe here to think about and do my best to raise as well as be good to myself as well as anyone else with whom I happen to cross paths.

The matter of something in the self being rejected and having that rejection manifest elsewhere in the world as an event has two sides to me and I prefer to see the better, more optimistic side. It’s not that I reject negativity, it’s that so much of it is apparent to me in the news and as I drive through small towns on my way to vacation that I don’t need to be reminded of it. It’s that I need to be reminded that world events can occur as the manifestation of an embrace of something too.

I feel as though this quote has something to do with chaos theory and that whole “a butterfly flaps its wings in Singapore and tiny drafts of air turn into atmospheric changes and eventually we have Katrina in New Orleans” concept that a perceived small thing in a tiny town can have a huge effect on a massive event and I couldn’t agree more. Let’s go back to the marathon — who knows: what if the older brother hadn’t bumped into a person who knew someone with radical ideas and then went to meet with that person… it’s all part of a larger thing. It makes me think of the other Jungian quote, which is something along the lines of, “until you live your life with consciousness everything that happens to you will be determined as your fate (I butchered it, but I wrote about it).”

Who’s to say the older brother was living consciously when he wasn’t involved in terrorism? I know — that’s whacked, but … it’s all a judgement call. Maybe (well, clearly to him) he thought the way he was living before meeting the radicals was unconscious. It’s really so hard to call. But there is conscious living and then there’s crazy “conscious” living. There is no need for manmade violence when the natural world has so much to share on its own.

I digress.

Revolving door. Even exchange. Sometimes something “not” happening is the same thing as something happening.

I think of the phrase, “even doing nothing is a choice.”

That’s all I got for this quote. I suspect that if Jung were alive today, exposed to the massive influx of information and the perceived smallness of our lives now (so many people seemingly competing for the same slice of sunlight of fame) thanks to that massive influx of information he’d have a different view. I really do wonder what he’d say about all this internet stuff.

Tomorrow is 4th of July for me and I’m about ready to declare some independence from these quotes. It’s been a great experience for me, but I’m about to be in the final 10 now and while I will pay just as much attention to the last 10 as I did to the first 10, I’m seeing the end of this very enlightening tunnel.

Thank you.

ps – I hated this quote.