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Living in the heart of helicy: an inquiry into the meaning of compassion and unpredictability within Rogers' nursing science.


Rogers used the term "compassion "throughout her writings, however, there has been no inquiry into the meaning of compassion within a unitary perspective. In addition, while unpredictability is a core feature of helicy, there have been no inquires specifically into what it means to participate knowingly in a human-environmental mutual process characterized by unfolding patterns of unpredictability. The heart is both a symbol of compassion and a vortex of energy characterized by turbulence and unpredictability. The purpose of this paper is to explore the meaning of the metaphor "living in the heart of helicy" as a method to illuminate the meaning of compassion and unpredictability within Rogers' Science of Unitary Human Beings. To live in the heart of helicy is to participate compassionately and knowingly in unfolding patterns of unpredictability by: 1) cultivating creativity, 2) using butterfly power; 3) flowing with turbulence; 4) exploring integrality; 5) seeing the art and beauty of nursing; 6) living in pan dimensionality; and 7) participating with the whole.

Key Words Rogers' science of unitary human beings, helicy, compassion, unpredictability, metaphor, living in the heart


Metaphor is a way of conceiving one concept in terms of another, and a metaphor's primary function is understanding (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). A metaphor is a "figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison" (American Heritage Dictionary, 2000, p. 1104). Metaphors communicate meaning. A metaphor offers a richer and different understanding by transforming the meaning of a phenomenon through associating it with new images (Smith, 1992). The intentional use of metaphor expedites communication and understanding (Chinn, 1994) and allows for a depth and breadth of understanding and meaning through the finking of terms that describe the world-as-lived, all-at-once (Wendler, 1999). Thus, the intentional use of metaphor can be used as a creative tool for explicating, expanding, and deepening the understanding and meaning of concepts within theory.

In this inquiry, the metaphor "living in the heart of helicy" was intentionally created to illuminate the meaning of compassion and unpredictability within Rogers' science of unitary human beings. "Living in the heart of helicy" uniquely combines Rogers' idea of participating knowingly in mutual process (living), with compassion (heart), and unpredictability (helicy). The purpose of this paper is to explore the meaning of "living in the heart of helicy" as a approach to: a) uncover the role of compassion in Rogers' nursing science and practice; and b) deepen understanding of Rogers' principle of helicy by exploring ways to participate knowingly and compassionately amidst a universe characterized by unpredictability.

Heart as Metaphor

The heart is humankind's most enduring, important, evocative, and provocative symbol. The heart is not only a "muscular or otherwise contractile organ which, by its dilation and contraction keeps up the circulation of blood" but heart also refers commonly to the "seat of life; the vital part"; "seat of courage"; "a term for compassion"; the source of "enthusiasm, or energy; and the "inner most or central part of anything;" and "vital, essential, or efficacious part; essence" (Oxford English Dictionary, 1989, Vol. VII, pp. 60-61). Gail Goodwin (2001) recently examined the meaning of heart in literature, myth, religion, philosophy, medicine, the fine arts, and personal stories throughout the history of human civilization. Some of the meanings associated with the heart included the heart as: a life giving center; the well-spring of human emotions; the source of energy, strength, and courage; the center of the will; the seat of spirit; the seat of wisdom and understanding; the crucible of one's essence; and symbol of love and compassion.

While the term "heart" is perhaps most commonly understood as a symbol of compassion, the heart is a powerful vortex of energy characterized by turbulence and unpredictability (Briggs & Peat, 1989). Vortexes are swirling-whirling nonlinerar turbulent patterns of flowing energy. Complexity theory has shown that a "healthy" heart does not have a regular heartbeat, but rather exhibits a "strangeness" that involves endless chaotic variations, microjolts, and tiny fluctuations. This complex and unpredictable pattern gives the heart a range of behavior (degree of freedom) and flexibility that allows it adjust to changing conditions (Briggs & Peat, 1999).

Identifying Compassion as a Core Attribute in Rogerian Science

Rogers' Science of Unitary Human Beings is grounded in Rogers' views on humanism and embraced compassion as its core humanistic value. Compassion is a central value in the philosophy of humanitarianism. Wuthnow (1995, p. 66) explains, "more generally, humanitarianism combines a feeling of compassion or sympathy with a value that attaches importance to helping those toward whom one feels compassion." In Rogers' earliest writings, she identified nursing as a "humanistic" (Rogers, 1970, p. 87) and "humanitarian science" (Rogers, 1971, p. 220). Rogers' humanitarian values for nursing are also reflected in her repeated emphasis that the purpose of nursing practice is human betterment (Rogers, 1986; 1990x, 1992). Lamont (1957) explains that the central proposition in humanist philosophy are actions that contribute to the welfare of the community. Furthermore, Rogers frequently used the term "compassion" when describing the nature of nursing. Rogers' (1970, p. vii) classic definition of nursing as a "humanistic science dedicated to compassionate [italics added] concern for maintaining and promoting health, preventing illness, and caring for and rehabilitating the sick and disabled" includes reference to both humanism and compassion. Perhaps one of the most significant illustrations of Rogers use of the term compassion, as well as the heart metaphor, is a frequently reprinted statement about nursing published in The Education Violet, the New York University newspaper in 1966:
 Nursing's story is a magnificent epic of service to mankind. It is
 about people, how they are born, and live and die; in health and in
 sickness; in joy and in sorrow. Its mission is the translation of
 knowledge into human service. Nursing is compassionate
 [italics added] concern for human beings. It is the heart
 [italics added] that understands and the hand that sooths. It is the
 intellect that synthesizes many learnings into meaningful
 ministrations.... (Rogers, 19661 1994, p. 338)

Rogers continued to use the term compassion in later writings when she wrote "the future demands new visions, flexibility, curiosity, imagination, courage, risk-taking, compassion [italics added], and an excellent sense of humor" (Rogers, 1992, p. 32) and "the nature of the practice of nursing (the use of knowledge for human betterment) is rooted in what one knows and in the imagination, creativity, compassion [italics added], and skill one uses"(Rogers, 1990b, p. 112). Rogers' (1992, p. 34), in her last writings, also made reference to "unconditional love" as being worthy of exploring. Unconditional love is a manifestation of compassion. Zukav (1989) explains how "compassion is being moved to and by acts of the heart, to and by the energy of love" (p. 72).

Explorations of Concepts Related to Compassion

While there has been no inquiry into the meaning of compassion within Rogerian science, there have been a few Rogerian inquiries into concepts similar to compassion. Alligood's (1986) research on empathy as an empirical indicator of integrality comes closest to Rogers' notion of compassion, however, the term "empathy" has not been used by Rogers nor is empathy used in her descriptions of nursing or the Science of Unitary Human Beings. Furthermore, empathy does not have the same meaning as compassion. Empathy is the "identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives" (American Heritage Dictionary, 2000, p.586) while compassion is a "deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with a wish to relieve it" (American Heritage Dictionary, 2000, p. 376). The Oxford English Dictionary, Vol. V (1989) defines empathy as "the power of projecting one's personality into (and so fully comprehending) the object of contemplation" (p. 184). Thus, empathy is contemplative and focuses on feelings. Compassion is a deeper experience focusing on suffering and is more than contemplative by including at least the desire to do something to relieve the suffering of another.

Smith (1999) explored the meaning of caring within Rogerian science using a rigorous process of concept clarification. She acknowledged that Rogers maintained that caring does not reflect the uniqueness of the knowledge or practice of nursing. In fact, Rogers did not use the term "caring" in her descriptions of nursing or the Science of Unitary Human Beings. Through her analysis, Smith revealed five constitutive meanings of caring from a unitary perspective: a) manifesting intentions; 2) appreciating pattern; 3) attending to dynamic flow; 4) experiencing the infinite; and 5) inviting creative emergence. Smith noted that other Rogerian scholars have used the term "caring" when describing aspects of Rogerian practice. Notably, Barrett (1994) used the term "caring partnerships" and Malinski (1994) described health patterning as "providing knowledgeable caring to assist clients in actualizing potentials for well-being through knowing participation in change" (p. 105). While the focus on unitary conceptualizations of caring have contributed to expanding Rogerian Science, Rogers (1992) maintained that caring "is simply a way of using knowledge" (p.33). In other words, what makes caring unique in nursing is the knowledge specific to nursing that is used to guide caring actions (Butcher, in press).

More significantly, caring does not hold the same meaning as compassion. McCance, McKenna, and Boore's (1997) in-depth concept analysis revealed four critical attributes of caring: a) serious attention; b) concern; c) providing for, and d) getting to know the patient. The caring of one person of another may be a instance of compassion and may lead to the development of compassion, but compassion is a far fuller experience than caring (Fox, 1999). Etymologically, the term compassion means to feel or "experience with" (Reich, 1989). In other words, compassion means allowing oneself to experience with another what that person is experiencing by sharing in their experience and putting oneself in the place of another (Blum, 1980). A synthesis of 17 separate in-depth concept analyses on compassion using Wilson's method conduced by a class of honor students at Pacific Lutheran University (1998) revealed the following critical attributes of compassion: a) a deep concern for the suffering of another; b) the desire to relieve the suffering of another arising from a sense of shared humanity or shared life; c) imagining oneself in the situation of another whether or not one has had a similar experience; d) dependent upon a sense of interconnectedness of the persons involved such that they view each other as equals and e) is not simply a feeling or emotion, but motivates one toward action, sacrificing time and effort to alleviate the suffering of another. Because Rogers used the term compassion rather than caring when describing the nature of nursing, it is a worthy endeavor to explore the meaning of compassion within a unitary context.

Toward a Unitary Understanding of Compassion

The term compassion is receiving increasing attention in the Rogerian literature. In an ethical analysis of Rogers' life and work, Butcher (1999a) identified compassion as a core value in Rogerian science. More importantly, Butcher suggests that unitary pattern-based practice must include making ethical values intrinsic to Rogers' life and writing, including compassion, intentionally, or purposefully part of the nurses' way of being present with clients during the voluntary mutual knowing/appreciation and deliberate mutual patterning processes. Butcher (1999b) has also placed some emphasis on compassion within a unitary perspective in his description of the "artfulness" of unitary pattern-based practice as "compassionate skillfulness" (p. 52).

Matthew Fox's (1999) description of compassion is particularly useful in deepening and expanding the understanding of compassion in a way congruent with Rogers' Nursing Science. Fox (1999) identified nine attributes defining compassion (see Table 1).

Fox's conceptualization of compassion as a dynamic energy encompassing cosmic interconnectedness resonates with Rogers' notions of energy, pandimensionality, integrality, and knowing participation in change. Knowing participation in change is emphasized by Fox by including, passion, caring, justice making, and a search for understanding of the interconnectedness of all things as attributes of compassion. Fox views compassion as energy and defines it as creativity put to the service of justice and argues that we can achieve compassion for both humanity and the environment as we recognize the interconnectedness of all things. The emphasis on interconnectedness is consistent with Rogers' notion of integrality and the unitary nature of human and environmental fields. The root of the word compassion is from the words cum patior meaning to suffer with, to undergo with, and to share solidarity with (Fox, 1999). Empathy, on the other hand, does not specifically focus on one's painful experience suffering, but more generally on feelings. Compassion is not just knowing about the suffering and pain of another but "knowing that pain, entering into it, sharing it and tasting it in so far as that is possible" (Fox, 1999, p. 21). Compassion is passionate caring and "the way to learn passion and caring is by interaction with matter--a transformation of energy"(Fox, 1999, p. 21). As a cosmic or pandimensional energy, "compassion extends to the entire universe and all of creation" (Fox, 1999, p. 18). Furthermore, Fox states that "an experience of cosmic awareness is a basic ingredient for true compassion" (p. 18). Within Tibetan Buddhism, the compassionate wish termed Bodhicitta in Sanskrit means "the heart of our enlightened mind." In Rogerian terms, compassion is the heart of enlightened awareness. Compassion is the heart of enlightened activity and is the action of intentionally dedicating ourselves toward facilitating human betterment, soothing the dissonance of suffering, and embracing with loving kindness the oneness of all.

Fox's emphasis on justice creating is also consistent with Rogers. Rogers was a powerful social activist. She cried out against social inequities, inadequate housing, racial discrimination, and poor health care in underserved areas and populations (Butcher, 1999a). Rogers (1992) placed emphasis on respecting human rights and client decision making as "dimensions of the new science and art of nursing"(p. 34). According to Fox, compassion is a celebration of togetherness, in both rejoicing another's joy and grieving another's sorrow and pain. Compassion is about action, doing and relieving the pain of others. Compassion is not complete if it is not active (Fox, 1999; Rinpoche, 1993). Fox also explains how most religious traditions view works of mercy are actions taken to undo injustice. The Hebrew notion of zeddakah which means "righteousness" or "justice" but is often translated as "charity." Justice in the Bible is charity (Tresmontant, 1960). Thomas Aquinas made the point that "compassion is not pure feeling but implies electio or moral decision-making and doing (Ramirez, 1973). Works of mercy include: feeding, sheltering, setting free, giving drink, visiting, burying, educating, counseling, admonishing, bearing wrongs, forgiving, comforting, and praying. Fox (1999) explains these acts of mercy "come from the heart and go to the heart, they are not restricted to sentiment or heartfelt emotions, however powerful"(p. 8). Works of compassion, mercy or charity may also be viewed as energetic acts of love. Rogers (1992) pointed to the relevance of unconditional love as a noninvasive therapeutic modality in nursing practice along with the use of imagery, meditation, humor, upbeat moods color, sound, and attitudes of hope.

The Emergence of Unpredictability as Core Attribute of Helicy

The metaphor "living in the heart of helicy" also places emphasis on the nature of Rogers principle of helicy. Rogers (1970) originally defined helicy as a "function of continuous innovative change growing out of the mutual interaction of man and environment along a spiraling longitudinal axis bound in space-time" (p. 101). The principle of helicy encompassed the concepts of rhythmically, negentropic evolutionary emergence, and the unitary nature of the human-environment relationship. Much like a vortex, the helical or spiraling rhythms of life, depicted by Rogers as a Slinky[R], are "inextricably woven into the rhythms of the universe" (Rogers, 1970, p. 100). The helical Slinky[R] connotes the ever rhythmically evolving emergence of the human-environmental field toward increasing innovation. The definition of helicy was first revised in 1980 to:
 The nature and direction of human and environmental change is
 continuously innovative, probabilistic, and characterized by
 increasing diversity of human and environmental field pattern and
 organization emerging out of the continuous, mutual, simultaneous
 interaction between human and environmental fields and manifesting
 non-repeating rhythmicities (Rogers, 1980, p. 333).

There was essentially no change in meaning between the 1970 and 1980 definitions. Rather, the 1980 definition is a clarification of the original definition. The principle of complementarily, later renamed integrality, is explicitly incorporated into the 1980 definition of helicy to highlight the significance of mutual simultaneity to contradict the notion of causality. In 1986, Rogers simplified the definition of helicy by defining it as "the continuous, innovative, probabilistic increasing diversity of human and environmental field patterns characterized by nonrepeating rhythmicities"(Rogers, 1986, p. 6). The final and most significant revision and subsequent change in meaning of the principle of helicy occurred when Rogers (1990a) substituted the term "unpredictable" for probabilistic and simplified the definition further by dropping the phrase "characterized by nonrepeating rhythmicities." Rogers' (1990a) last definition of helicy is the "continuous innovative, unpredictable, increasing diversity of human and environmental field pattern" (p. 8). Rogers (1990a) quotes Mallove's (1989) "The Solar System in Chaos" and Peterson's (1989) "Digging into the Sand" to provide rationale as to why unpredictability "transcends probability" (p. 7).

While Rogers may have been initially influenced by the emergence of chaos theory as support for the notion of unpredictability, she later clarified that chaos theory was embedded in an old world view still based on mathematical assumptions about reduction, determinism and causality (Butcher, 1997). Peat (1991) stated "indeed, chaos theory is essentially a deterministic theory of nature and raises the question, can a deterministic theory truly capture the essence of nature's chaos?" (p. 197). However, chaos theory and Rogers' principle of helicy are similar since both emphasize the inherent unpredictable nature of change.

Support for the notion of acausal unpredictability may be found in new emerging and even more radical views of the nature of reality. For example, Cahill and Klinger, two Australian physicists at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, propose a new understanding of the universe based on the randomness inherent in quantum theory. They propose, "if you could lift a corner of the veil that shrouds reality, what you would see beneath is nothing but randomness" (Chown, 2000, p. 26). Space-time, and all that is, is no more than froth on a deep sea of randomness. Cahill states, "Far from being merely associated with quantum measurements, this randomness is the very heart of reality." Cahill goes on to say that this randomness generates everything ... "it even creates the sensation of the present" (Chown, 2000, p. 26).

Unpredictability is a manifestation of randomness and a reflection of the nature of reality. In Stephen Wolfram's (2002) recent book A New Kind of Science, he convincingly argues and demonstrates that even the simplest systems generate random and unpredictable behavior. As the principle of helicy indicates, change is unpredictable. By embracing the notion of helicy, one can envision the world as a flux of patterns, with sudden turns, surprising relationships, hidden order and hidden meaning, paradoxes, increasing diversity, and uncertainty. Understanding helicy opens radical new ways of thinking and experiencing reality and challenges us to query our assumptions about our illusion of control and predictability.

Embracing the Unpredictable Nature of Change

As a means to further understanding of the meaning of "living in the heart of helicy," seven insights evolving from an analysis of nature of unpredictability are discussed below. The seven insights were derived by reformulating Briggs and Peat's (1999) original "seven lessons on chaos" (See Table 2) in a way that is more consistent with Rogers' science of unitary human beings. Briggs and Peat (1999) have described how chaos theory is evolving from a scientific theory into a cultural metaphor. They suggest that instead of resisting life's uncertainties, we should embrace the possibilities that uncertainty offers. The seven insights are not intended as prescriptions, but rather as provocations and as enduring insights that serve to create a deeper understanding of nature of living in the unpredictable heart of helicy.

Cultivating Creativity

Within Rogerian science, the unpredictability inherent in helicy is a source of creativity. Change is creative. In a pandimensional, nonlinear universe, anything can happen. The ideas of creativity and helicy have always been linked. The very definition of helicy incorporates creativity because helical change is always "innovative" (Rogers, 1992, p. 8). The notions of accelerating change, increasing diversity, and nonlinearity all are manifestations of a creative human-environmental mutual process.

The poet Keats spoke about how creators and visionaries cultivate the ability to live in what he called "doubts and uncertain ties" long enough to permit something new to bloom (Briggs & Peat, 1999, p. 22). Krishnamurti (1948) also believed that a deep creative appreciation of life only comes when there is enormous uncertainty. In addition, numerous contemporary theories have described now unpredictability, randomness, and chaos are the source of creativity including Prigogine and Strengers' (1984) theory of dissipative structures, Bohm's (1980) generative order, Poincare's theories of chaos, and most recently, Wolfram's (2002) principle of computational equivalence. Furthermore, Chown (2000) explains that Cahill and Klinger believe that unpredictability and randomness are at the very heart of creation. As one enters the vital turbulence of life, everything is always new. Creativity includes the production of novelty. Thus, living in the heart of helicy fuels creativity.

Laura Sewall provides some insight into the creative process by explaining how imagination and creativity provide a bridge between ourselves and the world. Meaning is created by bridging or gluing ourselves with the things in the world through imagination (Sewall, 2000). Imagination brings the world into being. According to Sewall, to be visionary is to turn ourselves to the edges of known experience where experience becomes flavored with the unknown, where the imagination steps forward into the realm of possibility. The practice of the visionary is a perceptual act and there is an art to this. To quote Sewall ...
 It is the ability to free one's view from the conditioned and
 programmed worldview--an unpatterning of the assumed world--and
 then artfully stitching it back together through the power of a
 cultivated imagination. Cultivated in this sense means informed and
 shaped by the integrity and the wholeness displayed by the visible
 world, or imaginations created and filled by attending to the
 patterns of a world still intact (p. 23).

Researchers who have studied the creative process have found that creative people have a high tolerance for ambiguity, ambivalence, broad interests, attraction to complexity, intuition, sensitivity, and chaos (Briggs & Peat, 1999; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Oldham & Cummings, 1996). For over 30 years, an ethic of creativity and innovation has been promoted by nursing theorists (Gilmartin, 1999). Rogers (1992) defined the art of nursing as the creative and imaginative use of knowledge for the purpose of human betterment. Similarly, Levine (1973) described nursing as a poetical art, an art in which reason and imagination come together to create a new and unique human experience.

Nurses who cultivate creativity enhance the art of nursing. Rogers (1992) described the art of nursing as the creative use of knowledge in nursing practice. All nurses can enhance the use of creativity in practice by engaging in activities that cultivate creativity. Csikszentmihalyi (1996), in his study of creativity, suggests one can cultivate creativity by a) trying to be surprised by something every day; b) trying to surprise a person every day; c) following what strikes a spark of interest; d) increasing the complexity of those activities you enjoy; e) making time for reflection and relaxation; f) creating living and working environments that facilitate creativity; g) examining problems from multiple viewpoints; h) using divergent thinking to generate as many ideas as possible; and i) becoming involved in activities that are most enjoyable and meaningful to you.

Using Butterfly Power

Living with unpredictability means recognizing that subtle actions when caring for patients have the potential to create the most meaning and change. Embedded in the notion of helicy are the resonating nonrepeating rhythms of an acausal human-universe life process. The helical change manifests through the mutual process of human and environmental fields. Integrality describes the oneness, unity, and inseparable nature of helical human environmental fields. A universe of deep connectedness and infinite sensitivity means small changes through nonlinear and nonlocal connections in a pandimensional reality potentially give rise to major transformations. Butterfly power involves the recognition and use of subtle energies. Subtle actions and gentle movements resonate and can amplify through nonrepeating rhythmicities creating major transformations (Peat, 1991). For example, weather systems are so sensitive the flapping wings of a butterfly can change tomorrow's weather (Gleick, 1987; Peat, 1991). Edward Lorenz, who studied nonlinear changes in the weather, referred to this as the "butterfly effect." While a butterfly seemly has little power, in a universe of deep connectedness and infinite sensitivity, the fluttering wings of a butterfly can be felt on the other side of the world (Briggs, & Peat, 1989, p.69).

The power in the nurse's healing is often hidden in the subtle compassionate actions such as spending extra time with a patient or a family in crisis or the subtle effect of compassionate and calming words and the gentle touch of soothing hands. Numerous research studies demonstrate that communication, the words one uses, can have a profound effect on healing. At the same time, the vital subtle caring actions can appear to make nurse's contributions to health and healing invisible. Suzanne Cordon (1997) points out that historically "nursing may be the oldest art, but in the contemporary world, it is also the most invisible ... one of the most invisible arts, sciences, and certainly one of the most invisible parts of our health care system" (p. ix). Many nurses have experienced the feeling of being invisible. Nurses are invisible when decisions concerning health care are made without asking for nursing input. Nursing's experience of being invisible happens whether nurses are at the bedside, in educational settings, in the political arena, or in the media. For example, nursing's research contributions are not highlighted on CNN or the nightly news. However, butterfly power speaks to the influence nurses can have when efforts are unified.

The deep connectedness and infinite sensitivity of helicy means one individual, or one group can deeply transform the world. Acting collectively and as individuals, butterfly power provides the means by which nursing's voice and visibility can become commensurate with the size and importance of nursing in health care. In a pandimensional universe, one may not know the immediate outcome or if a specific action leads to a particular transformation, but one can act with intention compassion, and with awareness that the subtlest actions can potentiate major transformation. Through our collective efforts one can make the invisible subtlety of caring visible and educate the populace about the invaluable contribution nurses make to the health of society.

Flowing with Turbulence

Rogers (1970) described the helical life process as "likened to cadences--sometimes harmonic, sometimes cacophonous, sometimes dissonant; rising and falling; now fast, now slow--ever changing in a universal orchestration of dynamic wave patterns" (p. 101). Turbulence is a common human experience in our life process. Turbulence is a dissonant commotion in the human-environmental field process characterized by chaotic and unpredictable change (Butcher, 1993). During the life process, persons experience unpredictable, traumatic, tempestuous, and sometimes chaotic life events. Living in the heart of helicy is enhanced when one flows with the turbulent change inherent in the life process. Csikszentmihalyi (1990) describes flow as a process of total involvement in optimal experiences which are rich, meaningful, happy, and pleasurable. Flow is characterized by feelings of enjoyment, concentration, and deep involvement and has the potential to transform turbulent experiences into a sense of meaning and harmony. Creativity, peak performance, talent development, increased productivity, increased self-esteem, and stress reduction are all possible beneficial consequences of experiencing flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1993). Flow experiences also have the potential to transform turbulent experiences into opportunities of growth, self-actualization, creativity, and harmony.

In a reconceptualization of Csikszentmihalyi's theory of flow, Butcher (1993) defined it as "an intense harmonious involvement in the human-environmental field mutual process" (p. 190). Flowing with turbulence is a mutual creative expression of beauty and grace and is a way of enhancing perseverance through difficult times. Nurses can compassionately assist clients in flowing with turbulent change by cultivating purpose, forging resolve, and recovering harmony (Butcher, 1993; 2001). Cultivating purpose involves assisting clients in identifying goals and developing an action system. The action system is comprised of patterning strategies designed to promote harmony amid adversity and facilitate the actualization of potentials for well being. In moments of turbulence, clients may need to increase their awareness using creative suspension to facilitate comprehension of the situation's complexity. Guided imagery is useful in creative suspension by assisting clients to enter a timeless suspension directed toward visualizing the whole situation and facilitating the creation of new strategies and solutions. Forging resolve is assisting the client in becoming involved and immersed in their action system. Since chaotic and turbulent systems are infinitely sensitive, actions are "gentle" or subtle in nature and distributed over the entire system involved in the change process. Entering chaotic systems with a "big splash" or trying to force a change in a particular direction will likely lead to increased turbulence (Butcher, 1993; 2001). Forging resolve involves incorporating flow experiences into the change process. Flow experiences promote harmonious human/environmental field patterns. There are a wide range of flow experiences that can be incorporated into daily activities: art, music, exercise, reading, gardening, meditation, dancing, sports, sailing, swimming, carpentry, sewing, yoga or any activity which is a source of enjoyment, concentration, and deep involvement. The incorporating off low experiences into daily patterns facilitates recovering harmony. Recovering harmony is achieving a sense of courage, balance, calm, and resilience amid turbulent and threatening live events (Butcher, 1993, 2001).

Exploring Integrality

Edgar Mitchell (1996), the former astronaut and founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, calls exploration an "ineluctable impulse" (p. 213). To explore is to expand the horizons and imaginary boundaries. To fully appreciate the meaning of living in the heart of helicy, one needs an awareness and experience of the deep connectedness of the universe described by Rogers' principle of integrality. Exploring integrality opens one up to discovering the mysteries of oneness and the mysteries of unpredictable manifestations arising from a non-linear universe of "deep connectedness."

Integrality is defined as the "continuous mutual human field and environmental field process" (Rogers, 1992, p. 31). Integrality describes the oneness of human and environmental fields. Human and environmental fields co-evolve together in mutual process. The principle of helicy includes the integrality of human and environmental fields since both fields co-evolve together, continuously, innovatively, and unpredictably toward increasing diversity through mutual process.

Exploring integrality requires a deep awareness of the inseparability of persons with their universe. Interestingly, compassion and integrality are linked in that compassion is a "keen awareness of the interdependence of all living things" (Fox, 1999, p. 23). Exploring integrality is to live and act compassionately motivated by genuine love of all our relations and love for our shared interdependence. Exploring integrality is seeing beyond the illusion of our separateness and fragmentation by uncovering and experiencing ways in which all is interconnected to reveal hidden patterns of oneness. Csikszentmihalyi's (1990) description of flow experiences, Maslow's (1976) peak experiences, and the many descriptions of mystical experiences have long been ways humans explore and experience unity with the universe.

Exploring integrality increases one's awareness of non-local connections within a pandimensional universe and provides an understanding of paranormal events. Rogers (1980, 1986, 1992) postulated that a pandimensional reality, a nonlinear domain, provides a framework for understanding paranormal phenomena. In a nonlinear domain unconstrained by space and time, the integrality of infinite human and environmental energy fields provides an explanation of seemingly inexplicable events and processes. Rogers (1992) even asserted that within the Science of Unitary Human Beings, psychic phenomena become "normal" rather than "paranormal." Dean Radin, director of the Conscious Research Laboratory at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, suggests that an understanding of nonlocal connections along with the relationship between awareness and quantum effects provides a framework for understanding paranormal phenomena (Radin, 1997). "Deep interconnectedness" demonstrated by Bell's Theorem embraces the interconnectedness of everything unbounded by space and time. In addition, the work of Dossey (2001), Nadeau and Kafatos (1999), Sheldrake (1988), and Talbot (1991) explicates the role of nonlocality in evolution, physics, cosmology, consciousness, paranormal phenomena, healing, and prayer.

Similarly, Rogers' principle of integrality postulates a "deep interconnectedness" of infinite pandimensional human and environmental fields. Within a nonlinear-nonlocal context, paranormal events are our experience of the deep nonlocal interconnections that bind the universe together. In the dyadic model, existence and knowing are locally and nonlocally linked through deep connections of awareness, intentionality, and interpretation. Pandimensionality embraces the infinite nature of the universe in all its dimensions and includes processes of being more aware of naturally occurring changing energy patterns. Pandimensionality also includes intentionally participating in mutual process with a nonlinear-nonlocal potential of creating new energy patterns. Distance healing, the healing power of prayer, therapeutic touch, out of body experiences, phantom pain, precognition, deja vu, intuition, tacit knowing, mystical experiences, clairvoyance, and telepathic experiences are a few of the energy field manifestations patients and nurses experience that can be better understood as natural events in a pandimensional universe characterizied by nonlinear-nonlocal human-environmental field integrality prorogated by increased awareness and intentionality.

Seeing the Beauty and Art of Nursing

The beauty in all of nature is a manifestation of underlying non-linear dynamics. Natural fractal forms that are the manifestations of unfolding unpredictable non-linear processes, include the shape of clouds, mountains, coastlines, snowflakes, rocks, and the dendritic patterns of trees, rivers, and lungs (Briggs & Peat, 1999). All patterning is a manifestation of non-linear and unpredictable mutual human-environmental field mutual process. Viewing and appreciating the aesthetics inherent in all of nature leads to a deeper understanding of the transformational potential of art and beauty.

Nursing has long been recognized as an art. Nightingale (1868) wrote "Nursing is an art, and if it is to be made an art, it requires as extensive a devotion, as hard a preparation, as any painter's or sculptor's work"(p. 362). Stewart (1929) stated that the essence of nursing, as in any fine art, was in the creative imagination. Rogers (1992) defined the art of nursing as the creative use of nursing science for human betterment. Images of art and beauty are embedded throughout Rogers' writings. Rogers use of the kaleidoscope and symphony metaphors reveals a form of artistry in Rogerian Science.

Art is a special beauty. Beauty is "a delightful quality associated with harmony of form or color, excellence of craftsman ship, truthfulness, originality, or other property" (American Heritage Dictionary, 2000, p. 158). A relevant question to ask here is how does one appreciate and create beauty? In the film "American Beauty" (Cohen, Jinks [Producers] & Mendes [Director], 1999) Ricky teaches us about beauty. In the film Ricky states:
 It was one of those days a minute away from snowing. And there was
 this electricity in the air. You can almost hear it, right? And this
 bag was just dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play
 with it. For fifteen minutes. That's the day I realized that there
 was this entire life beyond things, this incredible benevolent force
 wanting me to know there is no reason to be afraid, ever ... The
 video is a poor excuse, but it helps me remember. I need to
 remember. There is so much beauty in the world I feel I can't take
 it ... and my heart is going to cave in" (Dreamworks, 1999).

One theme in this film is about how spiritual redemption begins with the experience of beauty and how beauty is found in unexpected places. Increasing awareness of the inherent beauty in the universe changes our relationship to the world and our ways of participating in the life process. Ricky videotapes to remember, capture the beauty, and to understand the mystery behind life.

Gadamer (1986) believes seeing the beauty in the world is an experience of connection and continuity with the every day world thereby creating a transformational potential. Ricky is a catalyst for transformation and lives for beauty. He is a prophet of beauty and escapes into the bliss of beauty to escape from a militaristic, pathological father who explodes and seeks to destroy what is beautiful. Beauty has driven out the fear in Ricky's world. Ricky sees God looking back at him through beauty in the faces of death and homelessness.

Nursing is a special beauty. "All true works of healing are works of beauty; beauty heals" (Watson, 1999, p. 193). Watson (1999) describes caring as an act of beauty "whereby the one-caring connects with and reflects the beauty of the soul to the one-cared-for, one to the other" (p. 194). Rogerian based nursing practice, the art of nursing, is a way in which nurses can create a special beauty. Beauty emerges in Rogerian practice from appreciating the unpredictable kaleidoscope patterns and symphonic patterns that emerge from the human-environmental energy field mutual process. Beauty is created in Rogerian practice by establishing a meaningful connection with clients, making meaning of a client's situation, participating knowingly in a client's change process, artfully engaging in voluntary mutual patterning strategies (Butcher, 1999b). In addition, creating beauty in Rogerian nursing practice involves the use of noninvasive healing arts to promote knowing participation in change, synchrony in human-environmental field patterning, and pattern transformation. Visual arts, drawing, painting, sculpting, story-telling, imagery, meditation, music, dance, theater, design, and architecture are just a few of the arts and acts of beauty nurses may use to promote healing, human betterment, and transformation through knowing participation in change (Chinn & Watson, 1994; Gaut & Boykin, 1994; Watson, 1999).

Living in Pandimensionality

The last insight was about living within a new space created by appreciating and creating beauty in the multiverse. This next insight, living in pandimensionality is also about space, but more about time. Rogers' (1970) first definition of helicy included notions of space and time: Helicy is a "function of continuous innovative change growing out of the mutual interaction of man and environment along a spiraling longitudinal axis bound in space-time"(p. 101). Today, one would say bound in pandimensionality rather than bound in space-time. Helicy and pandimensionality are linked in the same way that all the postulates are integral to understanding each of the principles. The innovativeness and unpredictability of helicy are functions of pandimensional reality or "nonlinear domain without spatial or temporal attributes" (Rogers, 1992, p. 30). While pandimensionality is a condition of our existence, often we are not aware of pandimensionality's nature in everyday aspects of our lives.

What is it to live in pandimensionality? Certainly mystical experiences, flow experiences, peak experiences, and paranormal experiences such as deja vu, clairvoyance, distance healing, prayer, precognition, distance viewing, and telepathy are glimpses of pandimensionality. Awareness is the perception of energy field patterns and intentionality is an active process of desiring or intending action. Intention manifests as the volitional propagation of energy. Action is a process of movement or transformation of energy. Pandimensional events, therefore, may be understood as natural events involving intentionality and increased awareness of a multiverse with deep nonlinearnonlocal human-environmental field integrality (Butcher, 1998).

Experiences of pandimensionality can be accelerated. Murphy (1992) describes in detail evidence of research supporting his claims of how humans are evolving toward higher abilities for what he calls "extraordinary functioning" (p. 40). Murphy discusses over 100 of these abilities including opening books to the exact passage you are looking for; feeling people in a house even though you cannot see them; hearing melodies that seem to reflect your physical condition; feeling what someone else is thinking; experiencing immense energy; changing the environment by mental intention like feeling you have invisible hands that touch another person after which that person responds as if they have been touched; apprehending events and situations before they happen; shedding pain by willing it away; seeing new beauty and possibilities for growth in someone of long acquaintance; and sensing extraordinary lightness while moving or at rest, or a sense of elevation from the ground.

Interestingly, Murphy (1992) also describes the potential of extraordinary love or compassion as an emerging "metanormal" human attribute (pp. 54-59). Examples of extraordinary love include experiencing of love that: a) allows one to feel a friend's suffering, deep intentions, or personal conflicts; b) removes all sense of personal boundaries as if you and the other are a single person; and c) elevates a person's self-esteem and well-being even through the love comes from another person who is at a distance. Similar to Rogers'(1988) manifestations of patterning, Murphy (1992) views extraordinary abilities as evolutionary emergent and further suggests extraordinary abilities can be developed. Extraordinary abilities are also all manifestations of a pandimensional reality ... and are indicators of what it would mean to more fully live in pandimensionality.

Julian Barbour (1999) asserts that one of the implications of quantum cosmology is that time does not exist. There is only timelessness. Living in timelessness is not only a manifestation of increasing frequency patterning (Rogers, 1988) but also is an experience of a pandimensional reality. Barbour argues and explains how there is only timelessness, which consists of an infinite number of Nows, not linked in any way to one another. Each now is a separate world unto itself. All Nows that ever were or will be are simultaneously happening. The appearance of linear time only arises because one concentrates intensely on each now. Only motion and change give the appearance that time is linear. Given this model of the multiverse, what would it mean if one lived without experiencing time as linear ... but lived in timelessness? Barbour (1999) states that this "many instances" interpretation places a new understanding on causality. "The ability of each Now to 'resonate' with other Nows is what counts.... Our existence is determined by the way we relate to (or resonate) with everything else that can be"(Barbour, 1999, p. 325). Thus, living in the heart of helicy means shifting our awareness from the illusion of linear time and space toward a deeper awareness of pandimensionality, living with a sense of timelessness, increasing our awareness of nonlocal-nonlinear events, and nurturing our emerging extraordinary abilities.

Participating with "the" Whole

Finally, living in the heart of helicy means participating with the whole. Whether using butterfly power, flowing with turbulence, exploring integrality, or living in pandimensionality, each insight about living in the heart of helicy is based on the inseparable and irreducible nature of human-environmental fields engaged in mutual process. Briggs & Peat (1999) explain that participating with the whole is freeing ourselves from the habit of thinking that we are just disconnected fragments. In nursing practice, participating with the whole involves: a) moving from an emphasis on the isolated self, from the consciousness of what one knows individually, to the consciousness of what one knows together; b) moving from the old focus on individual heroic competition against the world to co-evolution, collaboration, and reverence; c) moving from seeing nature as a collection of isolated objects to experiencing that one is an essential aspect of nature's pattern; d) involves the realization that the observer is integral to what he or she is observing; e) moving from an exclusive emphasis on logic, analysis, and objectivity to the ability to think aesthetically which includes analysis but recognizes its limits; and f) requires synthesis and unitary thinking. Unitary knowing requires recognizing events are: not linear or cyclical, but share mutual simultaneous shaping; all phenomena are connected but are distinguishable by pattern; and the continuous dynamic nature of pattern requires a focus on the experiences, processes, and meaning of change. In nursing practice, participating with the whole means moving from obsessive focus on control and prediction to a sensitivity toward unpredictability, emergence, and change, and using our subtle actions to become participators in and facilitators of rather than managers of change.


Rogers' Science of Unitary Human Beings offers more than a science that explicates nursing's unique knowledge base con sonant with the most contemporary theories describing a universe of wholeness. Rogerian nursing science offers a way of living and practicing nursing. To fully embrace Rogerian science is to understand and participate in the universe in ways consistent with the Science of Unitary Human Beings. Compassion is a core value in Rogers' vision of nursing. Fully practicing Rogerian science includes living the values intrinsic to the theorist and her work. Thus, to live in the heart of helicy is to participate knowingly and compassionately in unfolding patterns of unpredictability.

In summary, to live in the heart of helicy is to compassionately participate knowingly in the vortex of continuous change. To live in the heart of helicy is to flow compassionately in turbulent vortices. To participate knowingly in unpredictable change is to participate with awareness and intentionality, freely making choices while being involved in both one's own change process and in the change process of clients, and to do so compassionately. Within a Rogerian Science perspective, compassion is a pandimensional energetic manifestation that provides a way to fully participate knowingly and meaningfully in the human-environmental mutual field process that passionately celebrates the oneness of all by making nursing acts of concern, justice making, and unconditional love visible. In nursing practice, the actualization of the client's potentials that occur during the compassionate knowing participation in change process are not ascribed to particular causes, but rather the transformation of potentials to actualities unfolds acausally and unpredictably. To live in the heart of helicy is to embrace unpredictability by compassionately cultivating creativity, using butterfly power, flowing with turbulence, exploring integrality, seeing the beauty and art of nursing, living in pandimensionality, and participating with the whole.


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Howard Karl Butcher, RN; PhD, APRN, BC

Assistant Professor and John A. Hartford Foundation

Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Scholar

The University of Iowa College of Nursing

324 NB

Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1121

(W) 319-335-7039

(H) 319-354-9752

(Fax) 319-335-9990

Received May, 2002

Accepted August, 2002
Table 1.

Matthew Fox's Attributes of Compassion

Compassion is not pity but celebration

Compassion is not sentiment but making justice and
doing acts of mercy

Compassion is not private, egocentric, or narcissistic
but public

Compassion is not about ascetic detachments or
abstract contemplation but is passionate caring

Compassion is not anti-intellectual but seeks to
understand the interconnectedness of all things

Compassion is not mere personalism but is cosmic in
its scope and energies

Compassion is not religion but a way of life

Compassion is not a moral commandment but a flow
and overflow of the fullest human and divine energies

Compassion is not altruism but self-love and other-love
as one

Table 2.

Seven Life Lessons of Chaos and Seven Insights on Livin in the Heart
of Helic

Briggs & Peat's Seven Life Seven Insights on Living in
Lessons of Chaos the Heart of Helicy

Being creative Cultivating creativity

Using butterfly power Using butterfly power

Going with the flow Flowing with turbulence

Exploring what's between Exploring integrality

Seeing the art of the world Seeing the beauty and art
 of nursing

Living within time Living in pandimensionality

Rejoining the whole Participating with the
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Title Annotation:Martha Rogers
Author:Butcher, Howard Karl
Publication:Visions: The Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science
Article Type:Essay
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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Next Article:Hope, power and perception of self in individuals recovering from schizophrenia: a Rogerian perspective.

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