Notes For Creators

creative soul surfing

The persistence of patterns: Gummed up version

I carry packets of gum with me at all times and always insist on chewing — or handing out — two gum chiclets at a time. They’re smallish.

My friend Russell insisted — more firmly — on receiving only one. He should have taken two — he seems to have a large-type head, which would imply a robust oral capacity, but noooo, he would take only one. You too would pity his poor mouth, all the extra work it had to do, pushing around that tiny speck of gum to try and cover all those big white teeth before the flavor turned to paste. This is how jaw problems develop. I was only trying to protect him.

So now, every time I get to the end of a packet, there’s one odd lonely piece of gum remaining instead of two. I grab an additional piece of gum from the next packet to make my pair and we’re off — this new packet, you can be sure of it, will also have one lone piece stranded at the end by itself.

This pattern has persisted for months!

I last saw Russell three months ago. I’ve gone through at least 10 to 12 packets of gum in the intervening time — and always, always there’s one unmatched piece at the end of each one. Curse you Russell Harris!

Not that I truly mind, of course. The end of each packet evinces a rueful smile and I get a fond moment thinking on a friend. And . . . I get a certain wonderment, in noticing the perpetuation of a pattern.

Bribing an eight-year old backfires

I tried to bribe an eight-year old to take only one piece to even out the flow, but my son would have none of that. He lifted four as retribution for that suggestion. It put me that much closer to the lone holdover at the end . . . .

People persist in patterns! It’s the most unique thing. A person can be long gone and you will notice patterns that refer back to their existence. We have a couch from our friend Paul, whose habit of sitting at one end and laying his head back indented the cushions and will for years remind us of his presence. Others have planted trees that long outlast them. Some have phrases we continue to utter ourselves . . .

Events persist in patterns. Like when you get clogged in traffic and finally break free into the free flow without coming upon the event that caused the congestion. The event — the accident, the breakdown — may have been long removed but the clogged pattern in that area persists.

I recall reading a study that indicated some traffic pattern changes remain subtly in urban areas for up to four hours after the removal of the cause. This was eons ago, maybe it’s longer now.

Life, patterns, persistence in time. It’s why we all must be aware of our patterns — and tweak them if we are to unsnarl blockage over time.

Patterns need not be perpetual. Sometimes it’s just a tweak — taking up walking each morning, leveling up for 15 minutes a day in some area, opening an envelope of time for daily reflection — that makes all the change you need for a new, better, healthier, more vibrant, zesty, alive pattern to emerge.

Other posts, cuz you know you want to

Share