Riders On The Storm – Repeating Pattern Repeating

I’ve been immersing myself in patterns on repeat lately, like a record stuck in a groove or maybe a quantum time loop. Patterns in music, the economy, astrology, even in solar physics, and most painfully, in my personal relationships. I can feel the storm clouds gathering and an energy crackling in the air.

A Bomb That’s Ready to Blow

Seeing Oppenheimer a few weeks ago has added to my sense of the ominous and really brought home the old adage, “History repeats itself.” This is one pattern none of us want to see repeated.

Since I wasn’t around back then, I’m experiencing déjà vu from a different era and am watching 1981/2 come alive again.

Here I am, in my bedroom writing, music on, no one around. I should have stayed here, where it is safe, instead of venturing out into the world once again. But, as if it’s inevitable, I repeat my patterns.

Back then, I didn’t understand why my parents were so stressed – that the economy was tanking, inflation was increasing faster than Dad’s pay ever did, and there was a global oil crisis. All I knew was that I couldn’t get hired at Mickey D’s and had to save up for months to buy the Clash’s double album, London Calling. An ode to the economics in the UK at the time, although I didn’t know that then.

And doesn’t then feel like now?

Pareidolia May Destroy Ya

Human beings are designed to see patterns. Especially faces.

I remember waiting for the school bus when I was five years old and staring at the chain link fence surrounding the field. I spotted a lion’s face in the fence. A male lion with a full mane…over and over…wherever I looked, there he was. Turn your head slightly and you can see the lion in any grid pattern, like the square tiles on a floor, or on an arbor or a quilt. Word of warning, though: once seen, he cannot be unseen.

“Seeing faces in inanimate objects is a common type of pareidolia, the tendency to assign meaning to patterns. Neuroscientists have been trying to understand how and why our brains imagine faces that aren’t really there.”- Forbes

Besides faces, I find repeating patterns fascinating. Whether it’s in the veins in a leaf, a William Morris textile, or the lines of a beautiful building like the Duomo, (this is from the Blog: Along Dusty Roads). It’s in these patterns I think God does his finest work.

It’s the Economy, Stupid

Anyone that has a job, buys food, owns a house, or even has a bank account would do well to pay attention to financial or economic patterns.

I’ve written before of Ray Dahlio’s 500 year cycles. (100 Seconds to Midnight: How to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) His book is called The Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed or Fail. Spoiler alert: we’re reaching the end of a cycle. Fasten your seatbelts! Here’s a synopsis from Christopher Wink: https://christopherwink.com/2022/08/13/why-empires-fail-ray-dalio/

We’re also reaching the “Fourth Turning,” according to William Strauss and Neil Howe from their 1995 book of the same name. They talk about patterns of cycles that are about the length of a lifespan – roughly 80 years.  Here, Neil explains the cycle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Yfb2zQjKWE

Going back to 1875, we’ve got ye olde Benner cycle. It also predicts a downturn in the markets. Samuel Benner devised his predictive cycle pattern for financial markets and, as you can see, it’s weirdly close:

The Benner Cycle


Numbers themselves have fascinating patterns, although they are mostly a mystery to me. Fibonacci spirals and geometric patterns – tessellations, fractals, and Mandelbrot Sets – I was blown away when I learned about fractals.  It’s a small piece that contains an image of the whole. Leonardo da Vinci noted that trees are fractals as each branch looks like a mini tree. You can see fractals in a fern or in a shell as well. For a mathematical demonstration, check out this Dragon Curve: https://mathworld.wolfram.com/DragonCurve.html

Apparently, God said that we were all “made in His image.” What if he was talking about fractals? What if each of us contains the whole in us? All you have to do is look close enough to be able to see it.


Home of the Brave

Music has so many patterns: repeating patterns in a chorus, a theme, or the reprises we love so much. In a longer piece of classical music, when the music comes back around and reintroduces a theme, I feel like everything in the world is right where it should be, even when that could be revolution and war. Like Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. (Best YouTube comment: “I don’t always listen to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture but when I do, so do my neighbours.”)

In a piece way ahead of us all, Laurie Anderson wrote a song in 1986 using nothing but 0’s and 1’s – which is how a computer comes up with everything. In the end of Sharkey’s Night, through her eerie vocoder, she says, “Listen to my heart beat…”

This is a pattern familiar and comforting to every one of us. Our Mother’s heartbeat is the first pattern we are ever exposed to. Zero and one. Zero and one. Nothing and something. Nothing and all there is.

AI is Not Short for Allan

Patterns comfort us because they are familiar and predictable. So predictable that computers are able to replicate them easily.

If you think you’re unpredictable, watch your cat. As soon as you think about getting up to get another cup of coffee, you’ll see your cat stretch beside you and jump off the couch. They can tell by the way you glanced in your cup, or put your pen down, or uncrossed your legs – all of the above? – that you’ll be up shortly.

If your cat can predict your patterns so easily, imagine what AI will be able to do in a few short, machine-learning years? Will The Terminator become a documentary? Many of the world’s leading experts think so.

Patterns in the Sky

Watching any astrologer on YouTube this month will raise the hair on the back of your neck. Astrology is all about the patterns of the planets in the sky. This was all our ancestors had to go on – well, these and omens and portends.

Two full moons – the second is known as a “Blue Moon” – yes, that blue moon, where you’ll be caught standing alone. With Venus in retrograde until September 4th, it’s for the best. There’s a new moon and no less than SIX planets in retrograde by the end of the month.

Even the numerologists are on board: According to numerologist.com: “it is the year of preparing and laying solid foundations for the future; therefore, you must take your spiritual and physical journey seriously.”

Maximum Overdrive

If you consider all this “pseudo-science”, maybe you should listen to what the solar physicists are saying. One of the world’s best, Scott McIntosh, is predicting an unprecedented solar flare season much earlier than expected in 2023.

What is a solar flare?

“Every 11 years or so, the sun’s magnetic field gets tangled up like a ball of tightly wound rubber bands until it eventually snaps and completely flips — turning the north pole into the south pole and vice versa. In the lead-up to this gargantuan reversal, the sun amps up its activity: belching out fiery blobs of plasma, growing dark planet-size spots and emitting streams of powerful radiation.

This period of increased activity, known as solar maximum, is also a potentially perilous time for Earth, which gets bombarded by solar storms that can disrupt communications, damage power infrastructure, harm some living creatures (including astronauts) and send satellites plummeting toward the planet.” – Solar maximum could hit us harder and sooner than we thought. How dangerous will the sun’s chaotic peak be? | Live Science

The Sky is Falling!

The Carrington Event, in 1859, demonstrates what a solar flare can do. Richard Carrington observed a solar flare near London that lasted five minutes. It caused telegraph lines to supercharge with energy, affecting over half the lines in the US, among other things.

If we experienced a “Carrington Event” today, the results could be catastrophic:

“… a 2013 study from British insurance giant Lloyd’s of London estimated that electrical outages from a Carrington-level event might lead to…global blackouts up to years long… because such an event could simultaneously damage multiple extra-high-voltage transformers that are difficult to replace. This could in turn result in major disruptions to financial markets, banking, telecommunications, business transactions, emergency and hospital services, the pumping of water and fuel and food transport.” – The Carrington Event: The largest recorded solar storm in history | Live Science

You read that right: YEARS long.

Within Without You

Most of the external patterns are appealing to me because they are easier to spot – and to deal with. I can actually DO something like can several jars of salsa or fill up a few water jugs and feel a bit better about everything.

They also help me to put my own small problems into perspective. Taking the macro view is a great way to minimize my micro problems. Things like the relationship pattern that I have, once again, managed to repeat. Is it because my life is a giant Mandelbrot Set and this is just the way it will always be? Ever repeating, getting smaller and less intense, smaller and less intense, smaller…and less intense….

What if my pattern has been “corrupted” by trauma or more specifically, my adaptation to it? (I highly recommend When the Body Says “No”by Gabor Maté – it could save your life.)

 If this is the case, then it is imperative that I break free of the destructive coping mechanisms I’ve been using to get by since I was a little kid.

I want to point out here that nearly all of us have childhood trauma of some kind. At least those of us raised in a “modern” society. It’s the way we deal with our trauma that can be destructive. In my case: hiding my “true” self, never asking for help, being as easy-going as possible, not putting my own needs forward, and alternating between wanting to be loved by everyone and resentment for not being appreciated.

Appreciated! How can anyone appreciate me when I won’t even show them who I am?!

Who Are You?

Rarely have I let anyone see me when I’m being real. Well, anyone but you, I guess.

When I got separated from my partner of 32 years, I didn’t tell anyone. After a few weeks my best friend called me – she’d found out from his side. She was blindsided.

My family was shocked. I hadn’t told anyone of how unhappy I’d been or how things had deteriorated in our relationship. Of course, I wrote it all down. But how could I tell anyone?

Me Not Me

I’ve had nine years to practice being me in relationships. This has not gone well. Despite my repeated attempts, It’s groundhog day again.

I now have a guy dropping flowers off at my house and thinking I’m the answer to his prayers. (Another adage to live by: “Be careful what you wish for.”) He said to me, after our three dates, “You have such a great personality! So easy to please!”

My heart fell at this.

It’s no use. He does not see me – he sees who he wants to see. I most definitely did not share enough of my thoughts or feelings with him.

Like my disappointment that he has no appreciation for music – something I am passionate about. Or my wariness that he hasn’t asked me about my writing – such an integral part of who I am! Should I have shared how strange it seems to me that he hasn’t talked about the realities of learning to live alone after being with someone for so long – the main thing I thought we had in common?  There is also the sorrow I feel that he cannot acknowledge how painful the mandates were for me – continue to be, as our conversation proved. His attitude, like so many his age, is that I’ve “learned my lesson” and will have to be “better” next time.

Of course, I have asked him many gentle questions about his lived experience.

Who wouldn’t love to have “me” as a listening and sympathizing friend who shares funny stories and who tries to be helpful? A friend who does not insist on special treatment or seem to need anything from you at all. I am the perfect date, yeah? The perfect daughter, the perfect employee, the perfect Mother, the perfect wife….

Until I’m not.

Not Fade Away

No way can I keep up the pretense for long anymore. I have a side of me that no one can possibly love. Demanding, opinionated, difficult to impress. Yet I long to be known and loved despite these less than stellar traits. I just won’t share them until I feel safe.

And so my relationship pattern persists: I hide my horror at your earthy stories or my disappointment over the state of your house or how stupid I think you are for the decisions you’ve made (come on guys! She may look like Barbie but she ain’t no doll!).

But like the air sign I am, I will soon be impossible to pin down. Impossible to hold onto. Maria got nothin’ on me.

Red Sky in Morning

If my subtle warnings to back off are not heeded, you’ll get to see and experience what it feels like to be hit by a tornado. It was a blue, sunny day – not a cloud in the sky – how can this be? Just like a tornado, all the debris and detritus I’ve gathered will be flung at you. 250 miles an hour, a truth blasted full strength all at once in a flattening whirlwind.

What relationship could survive this? None. Let there be no mistaking my feelings. Total destruction.

Then I will spend the next few days – or weeks, months, and sometimes years – wandering  alone among the wreckage, crying over the ruination and the loss. Trying to live with the loneliness of living without your understanding and the sure knowledge that it was my fault. Yet again.

Apocalyptic Warnings

My phone pings with another message and I can feel the clouds gathering, blue sky notwithstanding.

I will ignore it and instead go out and water my garden. Then I’ll come in and listen to music, write, and contemplate the patterns of financial and economic devastation in the world at large. This will take several days. I’ll examine fascinating patterns, finally getting caught up in a quantumlike loop, reaching the limit of my mind.

Then I’ll begin thinking about entanglement. Soon I’ll realize I am swept up in a pattern repeating in yet another failed attempt at relationship. I will watch in dread as I see myself move through the phase where I can’t keep up the pretense of being who they want me to be.

The end is inevitable – or is it? The question is: can any of us ever escape these repeating patterns? How can the collective possibly change larger, destructive patterns if one single person cannot manage to change hers?

If this really is a time loop pattern we’re in, I guess all we can do is to keep trying.

So I’m going to watch for portends, batten down the hatches, and prepare for the coming storm. Even the one I might end up bringing on myself.


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