I needed this word today, germinated from Maggie Smith’s quote, posted by my Noom group coach:
Even when, especially when, Life feels cloudy, do your best to see yourself clearly. Try to articulate what inspires you versus what shuts you down, what excites you, what scares you. When you think about what you want and why you’re confronting who you are. Start there. Keep moving.
Some days turning on the inspiration switch is an act of my will. I grope for it. Other days, bounding out of bed, agenda in hand, life is full and rich, overflowing with things I want to do. But usually what I am seeking is that sense of connection and purpose that bubbles up from inside of me, not of my own doing, but from a wellspring beyond. Infusion of the highest kind that is the heartbeat of my life. Perhaps what I am confronting in myself is that overthinking thing, the bent towards depression, and the knowledge that everyday I can choose, must choose, to be inspired. Some days my battle weariness wins; other days I am alight with the fire of inspiration that pops with a word, a phrase, a thought. Or a thrilling view of creation that, from the majestic to the infinitesimal, is magnificent in its complex design.
Consider fractals. The mathematical concept still boggles my mind: a geometric way of measuring irregularities in nature, no matter the size, that find repetitive patterns throughout whether magnified or diminished. Think of a cauliflower. Here is what Wikipedia says about its fractal dimension:
Cauliflower has been noticed by mathematicians for its distinct fractal dimension, calculated to be roughly 2.8. One of the fractal properties of cauliflower is that every branch, or “module”, is similar to the entire cauliflower. Another quality, also present in other plant species, is that the angle between “modules,” as they become more distant from the center, is 360 degrees divided by the golden ratio. In mathematics, two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities. : (a + b) is to (a) as (a) is to (b).
The golden ratio appears in some patterns in nature, including the spiral arrangement of leaves and other plant parts.
All that to say, fractals are inspiring! They bring a glimpse of pattern to the seeming chaos of the world around us. Even in the infinitely grand or infinitely small, structure and pattern may be found. Volcanic explosions, cloud formations, sound waves, lava flows; everywhere, distinctive fractals exist. Tree branching, coastal lines, bifurcations of the circulatory system, patterns in paisley, cellular divisions; anything one might consider, really, in the natural world, including the function of the world-wide web. And even to mathematically demonstrating the existence of God.
When I consider the magnitude of worlds-within-worlds-within-worlds that we are and walk within, without seeing, I am inspired to learn more of the Master Creator behind it all. My eye beholds the backdrop of each day, the milieu in which I exist. My inspiration comes from the desire to connect beyond my milieu, to explore and understand from whence I’ve come, the incredible complexity and orderliness of this amazing world in which we find ourselves. It lifts me out of my personal chaos and brings order to my life. It urges me onward to live again, live more, live beyond. It helps give me the will to keep on.
For fascinating reading with beautiful illustrations, see Fractals: Patterns of Chaos by John Briggs, and The Colours of Infinity: The Beauty and Power of Fractals by Arthur C. Clarke.