Fractals are complex patters that are self-similar across different scales. This natural phenomenon is exemplified by the structure of a tree, which mimics the micro scale of a leaf in the macro scale of the roots and branches. Fractal nature means that if something is true, then it is true at all levels of scale (cellular, individual, group, organization, and planet). In MatrixWorks we teach models that are fractal in nature.

Fractals remind us of the truth of the whole and parts. The hypothesis I’ve worked with is that the fractal equation of MatrixWorks is the simple equation of connection, chaos, and creative evolution. When applied to life and unfolding of group, we see patterns of health and life become more complex. To become a living system the group has to continuously go through this simple equation.


In my work and in the work of MatrixWorks, we see this phenomenon with self-similarity at different levels of scale (from the personal, to the relational, to the team, to the organization, to the world). Because they are associated with a living geometry, fractals help us in how we see the group. Finding the formulas and seeing what happens when you continually iterate/repeat that intervention in the group. Therefore, there is an abundance of threes that we track. When working with groups, we believe it is essential to track what we call the Three Threes. Because the Three Threes are constantly spiraling and shifting, it adds a degree of complexity to working with groups. It is not always easy to learn to track these components. Ultimately the complexity of tracking these stages, levels, and capacities forces our mind to shift (or perhaps we should say relax) to a broader, more inclusive, holistic view.

  • 3 stages of group life: Connection, chaos or conflict, creative evolution

    1. 3 levels of connection: Intra-personal connection, interpersonal connection, field connection (the more connection, the more health-Dan Siegel)

    2. 3 functions of a group: accomplish task, attend to relationships, nourish members

    3. 3 parts of the brain: reptilian, mammalian, neocortex

    4. 3 aspects of being: inner, outer, secret

In a living systems model there’s a pattern of thesis antithesis and synthesis is a dominant pattern in anything living, and more dynamic. This whole/part relationship, called “holons” by systems thinkers seems to be a key pattern of organization of the body. These holons express both autonomy and interdependence and are able to respond, protect, defend and support life, acting with an intelligence and creativity that is beyond the capacity of 6,400 computers all linked together! Now that’s creativity! Candice Pert, PhD., Neuroscientific Researcher and author of Molecules of Emotion says, “The mind is in every cell of the body… intelligence flows throughout the system, happening all over, all at once.” What this means for us is that we can look to the body as both a metaphor and reality for how living systems distribute intelligence throughout all parts of its system.

How would you take these teachings into your work with groups?



This is a preview excerpt from Mukara’s upcoming book, MatrixWorks: A Life Affirming Guide to Facilitation Mastery.