Solutions from the Edge of Chaos © Martyn Carruthers 2002

Creative Chaos in Coaching & Therapy (part 2)

Your life reflects a complex phase space, with vast information enfolded around the organizing principle of your identity. You can change your identity to prosper in complexity and to survive chaos. You can benefit from our chaos coaching.

Continued from: Creative Chaos in Coaching and Therapy (1)

On the edge of chaos, when nothing makes sense and everything is possible, miracles can happen. But waiting for a miracle is rarely enough. Survival may require that you change your values and beliefs to support behavior appropriate to your changed environment.
Martyn Carruthers

“Becoming” –  fractal by Martyn Carruthers 2004


Chaos & Consciousness

Systems become chaotic as they approach their limits. Rocks in a desert erode into unpredictable shapes. Ethics become flexible under stress. Entropy prevails.

Form is emptiness, and the very emptiness is form; emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness; whatever is form, that is emptiness; whatever is emptiness, that is form. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness. Buddha – Diamond Sutra

According to the Buddhist Diamond Sutra, you can find chaos in order, and order in chaos, using your mind as an organizing principle. The organizing principle we focus on is integrity – a stable experience of connectedness, integration and purpose – an ongoing experience of self-as-system that is stable over time.

As people approach the experience of integrity (not just wordy descriptions), they often describe a series of non-ordinary realities (which we call ecstatic states) that seem to represent stages of undifferentiated consciousness. These experiences can be characterized as non-linear, self-generated and self-organizing.

(Some people liken these experiences to fractals – visualizations of mathematical equations that show apparent endless complexity with repetitive details.)

To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection. Henri Poincare


Soul of Soulwork . Psychobiology of Soul . Quantum Thinking

Transform in Chaos
  1. Recognize your goal or crisis
  2. Evaluate your current reality
  3. Define exactly what you want
  4. Experience your emotions
  5. Examine your limits
  6. Experience your identity
  7. Embrace paradox and confusion
  8. Experience complexity and chaos
  9. Let a renewed identity emerge
  10. Enjoy your renewed consciousness

Bifurcation (Moving fractal)

If you prefer not to suffer, we can help you change the “you” that chose inefficient, self-sabotage or masochistic behavior. (We often call this identity work as it helps people change their sense of identity).

Chaos is fundamental to life – and death. Sooner or later life will force you beyond your limits – and you either integrate and transform – or disintegrate and disappear. Each crisis includes opportunities to create an identity better adapted to your changed environment.

If you adapt, you may survive. If you adapt well, you may thrive. If you do not adapt, you may suffer and perhaps die. Within chaos, between sanity and insanity, and beyond sympathy, you can regenerate your identity, beliefs and behavior. Martyn Carruthers

We can help you experience a phase space that contains both chaos and order, in which you can redesign and rebuild your identity – a new you – in alignment with your chosen mission or purpose. (This is easier to demonstrate than to describe!)

Human Identity is a Process

Order is often renewed in chaos. Native Hawaiians told me that the volcano goddess, Pele, destroys old land to create new land. Governments are often created during crisis and revolution.

Nonlinear Dynamics

We are open systems in constant interaction with our environment. While closed systems can reach equilibrium, open systems allow unpredictable oscillation and times of instability. Open systems are organized by attractors, which provide limits or boundaries within systems. Human systems are organized by identities, values and beliefs.

If, in a complex system, an identity (organizing principle) becomes obsolete, the system may degenerate into chaos – unless or until another potential identity emerges. In human systems, different organizers will differently evaluate relationships, find different solutions and differently manage or control behaviors.

If you are afraid to change your beliefs, or if you identify with your beliefs, your beliefs are your limits. If you are comfortable only within your beliefs, you may fear whatever might move you beyond them. But your comfort is temporary. Sooner or later, life will push you into unknown territories.

We cannot defend you against complexity – rather we can help you prepare and develop. You can update your old self and gain a new sense of life. New identities can organize appropriate values, beliefs and relationships.

During your Soulwork, the world I knew seemed to vanish and reappear with diamond clarity, and I could see and feel that every breath links me to all the people I love … and I could experience those links … I could connect to humanity …


The I of the Cyclone

As tiny changes in initial conditions can lead to huge differences in effect, creating the seed of a new human identity is a significant event. We often start with a seed question, “What do you want?

Exploring your answers can lead, step by step, to your core desires … to your life goals … to your sense of mission. Then transformation can make sense. If you have a life goal or a mission worth fulfilling, you will find ways to take the next steps.

I created a few fractals to illustrate how attractors can organize complex information. Your human identity can organize a near-infinite number of potential behaviors, which will unfold following the patterns set by your values and verbalized as beliefs. Martyn

Your identity organizes your behavior within your environment. If your behavior or your environment reach a limit, you can regenerate your identity or you can suffer the consequences, which include disease, depression, anxiety or rage. The end of identity includes both physical death and a form of fragmentation sometimes called identity loss or psychosis.

We help people solve the consequences of clinging to old beliefs, which include:

  • Depression: You retreat from a lifestyle that lacks sense
  • Lost Identity: You lose access to an identity or sense of self
  • Compulsions & Obsessions: You attempt to distract yourself
  • Relationship Chaos: You develop destructive relationship habits
  • Relationship Bond: You identify with other people’s limiting beliefs
  • Identification: You identify with other people’s emotions or sense of life
  • Emotional Stress: You experience overwhelming anger, sadness or fear
  • Identity Conflict: You embody a conflict between two or more other persons
  • Age Regression: You demand that the world follow your childish expectations

We can guide you through and past these beliefs. As with super-saturated solutions, a seed crystal of your congruent desire can provide a nucleus for a new core identity – an organizing principle for your thoughts, beliefs and actions.

If you rebuild your identity while focused on a congruent life goal, your new identity will automatically focus your behavior on your chosen mission. See Quantum Thinking.

“At one point in our session, I experienced confusion and disorientation; my sense of “me” was like sugar dissolving in water. I was totally “here and now”, feeling connected to all people. I experienced an almost unbearable sense of potential in which everything, absolutely everything, was possible. I felt like I was assisting my own birth.” Boston

Fractal by Martyn Carruthers, 2004

Perceiving people as complex systems can complement classical,
pre-systemic notions of perceiving people as statistical data.


Altered States

As tiny differences in initial conditions can make huge differences in subsequent behavior, we help people focus on positive, congruent goals. Focusing on conflicting goals can produce more than one attractor (resulting in identity conflict). Focusing on somebody else’s goals can produce an attractor based on a role model (resulting in identification). Focusing on negative goals (E.g. “I don’t want ...”) may not form an attractor (resulting in identity loss).

This journey can lead you to a sense of connectedness and integration, to the Soul of Soulwork. You are not separate from the universe, you are part of all-that-is. You reflect the whole and you can feel connected with the whole. While many people describe these experiences as transcendental, this work is best done together, privately with few distractions, rather than online.

Make space for an identity that supports your chosen mission.

Our chaos coaching can help you manifest or rebuild a new core identity. After this timeless moment, you may perceive your old beliefs as strange ideas. You can create new ways to interact with your environment, in alignment with the seed of your new identity – your congruent purpose or mission. Patterns set by a changed identity spontaneously appear throughout your behavior.

Fractal by Martyn Carruthers, 2003

Chaotic References

Abraham & Gilgen. (1995). Chaos Theory in Psychology. Westport USA: Greenwood.
Barnsley (1988). Fractal modeling of real world images. Peitgen and Saupe (Eds.), Science of Fractal Images. New York: Spinger-Verlag.
Bütz (1992). The Fractal nature of the Development of the Self.
Psychological Reports, 71
Elka, Goldbeter and Goldbeter-Merinfeld (1987). Analysis of the dynamics of a family system in terms of bifurcations. Journal of Social and Biological Structures, 10.
Gampel (1991). Fractal selves, the fragility of relationships, and chaos theory. Presented at the Conference for the Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology
Goerner (1994). Chaos and the evolving ecological universe: A study in the science and human implications of a new world hypothesis. New York: Gordon & Breach.
Lewin (1951). Field Theory in Social Science. New York: Harper & Row.
Loye (1983). The Sphinx and the Rainbow: Brain, Mind and Future Vision. Shambala.
Mandell (1980). Toward a psychobiology of transcendence: God in the brain. Davidson and Davidson, The psychobiology of consciousness. New York: Plenum.
Prigogine and Stengers (1984). Order out of Chaos. New York: Bantam.
Rossi (1989). Archetypes as strange attractors.
Psychological Perspectives, 20
Schwalbe (1991). The Autogenesis of the Self. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior
Swinney (1991). Chaos Consciousness in Psychotherapy. Presented at Conference for the Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology, San Francisco


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