Spiralized experiences: what can the shape of a spiral offer us within our human experience?

In this mini-episode I capture several thoughts I’ve had over the past several years that have led me to absolutely revere spirals as metaphors in my personal and professional life. Available across all streaming platforms.


Welcome to the Playful podcast, where we discuss lifelong learning and leisure by lingering at the intersection of recreation, education, and occupation. I’m your host, Kim Barton. Welcome to the journey. I’m excited to play and learn along with you. So if you haven’t noticed, I’ve rebranded my podcast a little bit, and in one of my recent episodes I’ll be talking about why I’ve moved towards. The title Playful podcast and in this episode I’m shedding some light on the new design, which includes many as spirals. Spirals have become quite the meaningful metaphor in my life as well, both personally and professionally. And so in this little snippet, I just share a brief little bit of insight as to why I think they’re relevant to early learning and how we can think about spirals in a very generative way. So without further ado, here you go.

I think in Western society we have this idea that cycles and growth are somehow. Antonyms or opposite? But the fascinating thing about life is that it all happens in cycles. If you look at the structure of. Growth. It often actually happens in a spiralized fashion. And certainly in a nonlinear way. And so we’re not doing ourselves service. By thinking that the metaphor of a cycle or a spiral is always something that we’re caught in or that we’re. We’re regressing in. I think that. The most learning happens when we revisit experiences and when we act out the same patterns over and over again. The only way to find movement is to find ourselves in those moments, time and time again, and incrementally. Have the conditions to try something slightly different and different. Isn’t the opposite of a spiral either, because once again. Difference and change often happens by …like picture an unfurling leaf, or the cap of a wave, or a tornado or the horns on on. Animals, like the strongest structures in nature do include spirals and it’s also such a natural shape so. Can we change our perspective that experiencing a cycle is is somehow limiting or stunting us, when really I think it’s the exact opposite? The other thing. I want to mention is I think we have this. Connotation of spirals with like a downward spiral or being caught in the cycle. But I think spirals represent so many different things they represent. The value of of returning and revisiting, they represent that learning and growth is never complete. It’s actually infinite. It never ends. They represent the value of nonlinear wandering. And this this way of all things being in orbit. You know, wander away but also return. And then again just this this association with how we can understand the value of a shape that a spiral offers to both physically understand the world but also metaphorically understand. Some of the emotional and philosophical experiences we have.

Thanks so much for listening. You can find me on social media at playful pedagogies and as always, stay playful.

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