The Butterfly Effect

  • 70 – The Butterfly Effect

    Unveiling the butterfly effect in this podcast episode to dive deeper into your personal development and growth journey. What exactly is the butterfly effect? What role does the butterfly effect play in your life? This episode shares real examples of the butterfly effect and how it intertwines with universal laws and concepts such as karma.

    The signs of the butterfly effect

    Hi beautiful souls, today’s podcast is all about the butterfly effect. It’s seemingly following me everywhere and I felt called to speak about it after my most recent Instagram post and then one of the books I’ve been reading ended funnily enough with an epilogue titled ‘The Butterfly Effect.’ 

    The metaphor of the butterfly effect isn’t actually spiritual in nature, in fact it’s origin came from two sources according to the research I’ve done. In fact the butterfly effect has been adopted to various areas of life from relationships to marketing in businesses. 

    Edward Lorenz and the butterfly effect

    The most well known origin of the butterfly effect is that of mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz who asked the metaphorical question in the 1960’s of does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? 

    From that perspective came of how a single flap of a butterfly’s wings can be so instrumental in creating an impact, such as a tornado. This is rooted in chaos theory which from my understanding put simply is the study of surprises and the unpredictable. 

    A Sound of Thunder and the butterfly effect

    Another is 1950’s short story titled ‘A Sound of Thunder’ by Ray Bradbury which exemplifies the butterfly effect metaphorically and somewhat physically. It is set in 2055 where time travel is possible and wealthy adventurers have the opportunity to make use of this so they go back to the age of dinosaurs. One particular adventurer wanted to hunt dinosaurs and had been told the importance of sticking to the marked trail, one thing leads to another and he carelessly steps on a butterfly in pursuit of a dinosaur changing the course of history in the future. The adventurers return to 2055 where the world has been altered for the worse, language no longer makes sense, an evil dictator is in charge only to be confused and see the crushed butterfly under his boot. 

    The butterfly effect on social media: Instagram and Tiktok

    The butterfly effect is back in the spotlight recently making waves on social media with people sharing how the smallest of things have had the biggest influence in their lives such as myself simply deciding to start an anonymous Instagram page out of my passion for mental health has now led to me being a life coach full time for almost two and a half years coming up three soon, wild! 

    The butterfly effect in real life can play out in all sorts of ways such as missing a plane which ended up being in an accident, or in a change moment deciding to go to a dinner you didn’t want to go to where you end up meeting the love of your life. For example stubbing your toe so you can no longer go out on a Friday night and you’re bummed that you’re missing out on fun evening but then receiving an important call with news that you may have otherwise ignored or missed.

    The star thrower and the butterfly effect

    A really beautiful story that I came across recently resonated with the butterfly theory and how the it can truly be the little small things that make a huge difference. This story is called ‘The Star Thrower’ by Loren Eiseley an American anthropologist. 

    Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

    Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

    The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

    The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

    The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

    Story Source: Carol Jennings

    Spiritual meaning of butterflies

    Butterflies are generally a huge symbol spiritually in themselves they represent metamorphosis, change and transformation. They are a symbol representative of life: the soul, new beginnings, re birth, a sign from the other side that our loved ones are still with us (again beautifully something seemingly small and simple as butterfly can give great comfort, reassurance and meaning). Butterflies are known to be messengers from the spiritual realm. Butterflies are sign of progression and evolution: expansion, going through hardship making it to the other side: freer and lighter. 

    Harnessing the power of the butterfly effect: action

    Taking all of this in, how can you harness and make the most of the butterfly effect?

    We often focus on the big pivotal moments yet it often truly is the so called little things. This is part of one of the chapters in my book; The Great Unlearning: Awakening to living an Aligned and Authentic Life, Chapter 4: Massive Action or Is It? where I talk about as a society we’ve learnt: Go hard or go home. 

    Success is all about big, bold moments and quantum leaps that result in instant success. Acknowledging how these moments are instrumental and a part of the journey but in my own experience looking back at how I am where I am now, it isn’t only that! 

    The importance of simply just doing: consistent imperfect action. In fact I start the unlearning section of the chapter by writing: “Rome wasn’t built in one day, and neither are you or your dreams. An age-old saying attributed to Desmond Tutu goes, ‘There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.’ Every little bit counts because it all adds up.’

    When the little things aren't so little

    A quote that really brings this home is by Bruce Barton, “Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things. I am tempted to think there are no little things.”

    Know that your actions are important and make a significance to this world and you may not even realise it. A moment of kindness like a smile at someone has stopped someone from potentially harming themselves and believing in the goodness of humanity as an example or leaving a tip when you’re able to makes a difference to someone being able to pay rent or have a meal that week. 

    Know that something you do could inspire someone else in such a big way such as if you were a nurse caring dutifully for a patient, that could inspire a young woman whose Grandma is being cared for and inspire her to be a nurse in the future. You may never even know unless that person decided to share how you have inspired them.

    Alexander Flemming and the butterfly effect

    The butterfly effect puts you in a position of power and action, everything you do will have an impact whether directly impacting you or someone else or thing in this world. Everything is interconnected. 

    We can apply the Butterfly effect to a real example of something inconsequential something going wrong leading to something very right. Scottish researcher, Alexander Flemming in a lab had been experimenting with influenza. He went away for two weeks returning to see mold had formed on the plate he was using. This would change the world. Published reports have Fleming saying: “One sometimes finds what one is not looking for. When I woke up just after dawn on Sept. 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionise all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic, or bacteria killer. But I guess that was exactly what I did.”

    Feeling down and the butterfly effect

    To powerfully extend this I think of when you’re feeling down, you never realise how something so small such as getting out of bed, getting some sunlight or movement can really shift your state and how you are feeling.  In these states it’s often called for gratitude and I think about how the world could do with more appreciation, and how simply appreciation can have huge effects on our own mood and it’s expression; the people we appreciate. 

    Let things compound with the butterfly effect

    In a different state when going after your dreams, desires and manifestations it’s about taking a step towards it – that may indeed have the butterfly effect. If you want to be able to run a marathon, start by buying the pair of shoes and going for a walk. If you want to be a famous singer, carving out time to practice and working your way up to perform. If you want to be healthier, it may be incorporating more movement into your day, even 5 minutes whilst seemingly insignificant with the butterfly effect can compound and become more. 

    Karma, the law of cause and effect with the butterfly effect

    With this, there is also this sense of a responsibility to do our best in being conscious of what we do relating to karma! Everything leaves an impression and karma has us accountable whether in this lifetime or next, and it can also be a perspective of seeing your life as it is now too. 

    Karma can be quite an activating term with an emotional charge, there are so many facets, layers and understandings on it. I say this with great compassion and urge whilst there can be many perspectives that may explain circumstances and situations we find ourselves in whether it be ourselves or things out of our hand, completely beyond our control: we can’t ever know for sure why things happen in our lives, the important thing is to focus on the present and what we can do in our control and how we respond to that outside of it. 

    Cause and effect, karma can also intertwine from the perspective of the universal law of cause and effect along the lines of Newtown’s third law: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This highlights the importance of yes what we do but also who we are being.  

    What is your butterfly effect?

    I hope today’s episode has a butterfly effect in your life whether it’s hearing something that sparks and ignites something within you, that it contained a sign you were asking for or even by sharing this episode with someone it could help them! To end this episode I’d like for you to consider this question and journal prompt, “what is your butterfly effect?” Until next time beautiful soul, love and positivity. 

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