Pattern Interrupt

Photo Credit: ccesargarcia1 via Compfight cc

I’ve been thinking a lot about the word Humanity since I penned a piece with the bold title.

So, I looked it up. Not on the fancy, super speedy and convenient Wiki but old school style in Webster’s Dictionary.

I wanted to step outside the cardboard, cookie cutter box and used my peripheral vision, feel see the word on paper, understand the definition, and ruminate.

I wanted to trust the old world order and use my common sense. Analytical, rational thinking. Humanity cannot be explained away with one word, noun, adjective, or even a complete sentence.

It’s meaning is grandiose and way bigger than any definition.

Heart, emotion, fear, hate, hope, faith, love, peace, violence, rage, you know all that stuff that makes us humane beyond the Science.

I have been experiencing double vision you see, short term memory loss and while my mind is a blackjack, stacked poker joker playing me the fool, it is hardwired to be hyper aware, over emotional and hyper vigilant at the present moment.

Heightened humanity sounds silly, lunatic and frivolous. This is the deck of cards I’m playing with and like my father, I will always bet against the sure winner, rooting for the dark horse instead. The odd man on the corner you wouldn’t even see, walk right past furiously typing away on your Smartphone stupid phone the million pressing events and worries that absolutely must be completed, because well you’re busy. Too busy to stop, and see the man standing outside Dunkin Donuts coffee cup in hand, never asking for a thing while holding the door open, eyes permanently fixed on the sidewalk and swallowed pride.

How long before you notice, look up and out. Do you, do I? Not always, but sometimes. Sometimes I slow down the velocity to discover a man, a simple, humble man no different than me.

A broken man, a drug addict, and a drifter with a family somewhere out there that loves him. I would only learn this after many quarters tossed in his cup, many morning coffee runs, many hellos and how are yous? Years passed until one day I stopped, running, and actually gave a damn about someone other than me. The day I was down on my luck and couldn’t offer him a quarter, I finally understood the shame from his side.

He looked at me, my good friend and said, “that’s okay, do you want mine?”

Humanity. Funny old trickster word, gets you in the gut and caught in the throat sometimes.

There are no winners or losers in the game of life; the price of greed, ego and ignorance is just too high. The noun and the adjective, Humanitarian goes against the grind and reason. Reason says we are one way or another. Society dictates we have to conform, fall in line, hate the killers, bullies, thieves, rapists, absentee mothers, adulteress fathers, and the crazies. The list of evil is long, convoluted and festering. It knows only pain, anguish, shreds dignity and mocks our belief system at the core.

I bet at one time or another some of the gazillion thoughts cruising through the brain will most surely be ugly. Maybe not to the darkest, goriest extremes but hey we’re only human.

 “We have 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot of thoughts. That’s a thought every 1.2 seconds.”

And that is conflux, planetary spins and conundrum. We are dark, and we are light in varying degrees and molecular levels. One cannot shine, bounce and reflect without the other. I seek out the light, infatuated with the dark and stuck traveling between the two on an invisible moral slider scale.

I discovered the more the word humanity churned and flip flopped in my free-floating brain, the more I became aware of the pattern interrupt.

A momentary awakening to the utter lunacy of the patterns we’ve adopted.

 ‘And, though it has taken years to wear those patterns into existence, in a heartbeat, we become unusually open to the notion that we can choose to respond differently. To create a new pattern.’

I suddenly witnessed proactive, positive examples of life happening all around me. I was a voyeur, privy to simple acts of human kindness, people stepping way outside their comfort zones no matter the cost and asking the most basic question, who is this person in front of me, and how could they help?

Where do they fit on the dark and light spectrum? How did they veer so far to the left or the right. The human condition and humane experience are millions and millions of light years behind and in front of us.

“We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself.” – coined the infamous, Carl Sagan.

Astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences, and the ultimate truth seeker in the heavens.

If we are dark and light matter dust gone before digested, one is left to ponder was it real? Was my blip of time real? Was one minutia, one singular life more important than say, another?

No, I highly doubt that. I’m no better, brighter, smarter than the next speck of dust floating through the air from a dirty, molded carpet, or an effortless dandelion.

Me? I’m going to gravitate towards the light best I can. Every single day with the hope, faith, worry, fear and frustration of every 1.2-second breath.

Did I matter? Was I good, enough? Did I fight evil, hate, anxiety, judgmental thinking and learned bad behaviors like a goddamn divergent? Did I look around, pivoting 360 degrees and beyond? Did I ask the question, why? Did I challenge the answers?

What happened to curiosity, why is that particular someone homeless, crazy, a murderer, villain, prostitute or thief?

Or saint?

Where and at precisely what second did they turn away from the light. Did I not see them? Was I too self-involved, egotistical, impatient, afraid, ignorant, and blinded by my own current state of double vision. Or, was I too disengaged with my Smartphone?

The dark matter exists, same as the light. One cannot be without the other. It’s a simple question of optics.

‘Once the visual information leaves the eye, basic physics ends and neurocognition takes over.’

 Dark and light will forever be duking it out. I’m cool with that. I’m not cool with that. I get it. I grapple. I get on with it.

The mystery, and the magic happens when we choose to seek out the light tangled and twisted together with evil, moral fibers of kindness, benevolence, and sympathy extended to all human beings.

Humanitarianism is one big, long word that is forever unraveling and evolving. The man-made concept, historically, and the universally common denominator that makes us behave less like animals and more humane. No distinction can be made on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, race, caste, age, religion, ability, or nationality.

A 24-carat, blinding diamond solitaire and sparkling, black lava rock are no different, not really. They are only separated by a price.

A rock is a rock is a rock, composed of grains of minerals, which, in turn, are homogeneous solids formed from a chemical compound that is arranged in an orderly manner.

Maybe, plain and simple, I think too much. Maybe, I’m no better or different than a rock when I choose to look the other away. Maybe, I just don’t know.

Pattern Interrupt: In NLP, this “pattern interrupt” experience is created as a therapeutic mechanism. Applied to commercial settings, it’s a powerful tool to disarm peoples’ kneejerk defense mechanisms and programmed responses and open them to considering a new product, solution, approach or idea.”


Jacqueline Cioffa

Jacqueline Cioffa was an international model for 17 years and celebrity makeup artist. She is a dog lover, crystal collector and Stone Crab enthusiast. Her work has been featured in “Brainstorms, the Anthology” and numerous literary magazines. Living with manic depression, Jacqueline is an advocate for mental health awareness. She's a storyteller, observer, essayist, potty mouth and film lover who's traveled the world. Her poignant, literary fiction debut THE VAST LANDSCAPE gives new meaning to intense, raw and heartfelt. Fans of the emotional, soul stirring first novel will not be able to put GEORGIA PINE the exciting sequel down. “The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life.” The Vast Landscape by Jacqueline Cioffa

9 thoughts on “Pattern Interrupt

  1. Jackie CioffaJackie Cioffa


    Your kindness and encouragement always renders me speechless. Thank you, and I assure you your ‘discombobulated’ works just fine and excels. Empathy, creativity, talent, intuitiveness and grace are the finest attributes. You have them in spades.
    As for my pattern interrupts, every so often the stars align and I type fast before the moment is a fleeting memory. <3

    Wishing you love and light…thank you, your caring words are not lost on me.
    xx Jackie

  2. Kimmie

    WOW! Jackie, I wish it were that my discombobulated brain would allow me to comment intelligently, and in a way that does this piece justice, but alas…WOW is the best Iv’e got this evening… and this…this gets ALL-the-WOWs.

    I can tell you that my discombobulation didn’t stop me from reading and taking in EVERY word…albeit slowly…and that, (as always) I am in awe of your talent!

    Kimmie x

    P.S…You matter…and you’re more than good enough!

  3. Jackie CioffaJackie Cioffa

    Thank you, Robert for taking the time to read and leaving such a thought provoking comment.
    Of course I had to copy and paste “Cortical-Thalamic Pause” into Wiki, and learn about it. Fascinating, we are robots of some sort, going about our lives mindlessly and without pause.
    I forget to give myself permission to stop, and interrupt the ingrained ways of thinking and acting.

    Thanks to Nicole for the lovely comment suggestion, and support. She is a wonderful example of human kindness and mindfulness.

    All the best,

  4. Robert Wertzler

    I’m noticing the little box below the comment field that says, “Confirm you are not a robot.” How very appropriate that is to this subject. It can be so easy to roboticly go about our routines. It really is possible to safely drive a car for several familiar miles and not actually see and remember any of it, for example, following a pattern. Interrupt the pattern, stop the mental app, and suddenly, amazingly, there is a world with real humans in it. The NLP idea of the Pattern Interruption reminds me of that in General Semantics of the Cortical-Thalamic Pause – much the same effect. Thanks, Jackie. BTW, It was Nicole who suggested posting comments directly on the blogs, not just FB and G+. Thanks to you too.

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