Creative Writing,  Life Lessons

Inspired by Fibonacci’s Golden Spiral

Watercolour by Jessica Outram
Watercolour by Jessica Outram

From Sunshine to Spirals

Metaphors are good teachers. For nearly fifteen years I learned from the metaphor “sunshine in a jar” by exploring it in my writing and thinking. When I started work on The Writing Spiral, another metaphor landed on my page with lessons to share.


My Crush on Fibonacci

When I began my research into spirals last spring I started with obvious choices like DNA and nautili shells. Then the list grew. I learned about Fibonacci and the golden spiral—a simple looking curved line that moves and expands in logical proportions. I started seeing spirals everywhere.

From fingerprints to sunflowers to whirlpools, spirals surround us. Last week a friend (and art teacher) was visiting. Toward the end of the afternoon we spoke about Fibonacci. She teaches Fibonacci in her art classes. I learned that the golden spiral’s proportions are even in our bodies, the distance from my hand to my elbow, my knee to my foot. It’s in architecture too, known as Phi–an angle made up of numbers in the Fibonacci sequence. Most of the greatest structures in the world use phi.

I can finally see the poetry in Math and Science. It is all connected. We are all connected—humanity and nature.


Spiral Quest

If spirals are in so many things that we can see, then spirals must also shape things we cannot see. I believe our collective mission is to learn. So how do our life’s lessons move like a spiral?

I’ve read in psychology books that we repeat patterns in our lives, often repeating the same mistakes. But what if the lessons only appeared the same? What if the lessons repeating in our lives are following a similar shape, but we are different each time? Changed—even a little.

I want to use the spiral metaphor as a framework for thinking about life. What can spirals teach us about relationships? Self? Purpose?

What can we learn from spirals about love, courage, respect, spirituality, and creativity?

To begin this work of making connections, I made a collage using the Fibonacci spiral as a template–much harder than I imagined!

By Jessica Outram
By Jessica Outram

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