Strange Attractors & Resolutions To Start the New Year

Well, here we are 2018.

It’s a calendar measure embedded within the chronos system of measuring time. It’s a cultural invitation to celebration. Except where it is not, which is many places. It’s not just fireworks going off at the stroke of 12. It’s bombs too. It’s not just parties. It’s people in survival too, hoping to stay warm through the night. I won’t resolve these paradoxes here. I’ve just always had an eye to seeing them, as clearly as my kid has had an eye on paying attention to his “Elf on the Shelf.”

No doubt there have been many new years resolutions set. I heard on a radio program earlier this week that the top resolution set is about exercising and losing weight. Well, let’s hope for fulfillment for all of us in the needs that we give a bit of extra attention too, be they soul-searching or to improve the decor.

It was Meg Wheatley who first introduced me to the concept of a strange attractor. An example, and the one used on the cover of her first book in 1992, Leadership and The New Science, is above. It’s often explained as a mathematical concept to help describe a dynamic and changing concept. Ah, the beauty of math, right. What’s not to fall in love with when it is so much more than simple linear equations. In “strange attractors” with numerous iterations, images like the above arise in a seemingly “order for free” kind of way.

That’s rather cool.

So, here’s my January 1st offering of a spin on resolutions. Resolutions act as strange attractors. They set an identity and purpose. They set an intent, and sometimes, dream. Beyond how many pounds one might drop to reshape a waistline, strange attractors also cohere some of the more mystical and less seen into an organizing pattern. For people. For groups. For teams. Yup, for nations also.

Organizing patterns (well beyond resolutions) are always in play. Sometimes it is fear, and we unwittingly make our decisions, plans, and perceptions based on what we are trying to be so ever careful of. Sometimes organizing patters are sprouted from flow, and with extended grace and apparent providence, we infuse our decisions, plans, and perceptions with imagination.

Strange. Attractors.

Welcome 2018.

And whatever awareness accompanies us, dynamically and strangely, into what I hope are some beautiful, and just-right-timed, patterns and beautiful experiments that make a difference.