Possibilities

a universe of possibilities

 

We can’t escape or avoid the world of judgement and measurement.  This is certainly good, in a sense, because it shows us reality. It identifies who we are and where we are. It keeps the dim lights separated from the bright lights. It allows for some of us to make French fries, while others get to perform the tedious task of brain surgery. I hear it’s tough to make really good French fries, especially without saturated fats.

Ben and Rosamund Zander identified something magical in the Art of Possibilities.

They showed me a way out.  A new way of thinking about my life, both where I have been and where I have a desire to go.  They outlined a new way of doing things. A fresh way of thinking. 

It is not a new way. It has been around for a very long time. It is open and accessible to anyone and everyone. It is free and certainly worth embracing. In short, it is the path we struggle to take, because it leads to a universe of possibilities.

The world of measurement is comfortable.  It is comfortable precisely because it is scarce and can be counted.  It is real, unavoidable, and often for these reason, very burdensome, but the splendid universe of possibilities, is not.

The universe of possibilities rests and will forever rest in our imagination, until we make it real.  Until we crawl, walk, run, and sprint towards what’s possible.  The universe of possibilities is missed by so many, because too often we are undecided, we weight our options, weighing, feel guilty, feel shame, regret, never giving life a second, or fifteenth chance. 

We refuse to give the possibility of what could be a real chance.

But the universe of countless possibilities is not a burden.  It is also not some positive, abstract, drunk, fleeting thought of fancy.  A magical land of lollipops and rainbow unicorns.  The people most invested in world of measurement, of judgement and gossip, are the ones that try to convince you otherwise.

The universe of possibilities is undefined.  It is unique to every single person.  It simply asks why not? 

It doesn’t negate or deny the reality you currently find yourself in. It will not help you pay your rent. Fix your broken marriage, or regenerate your poor, black, smoker’s lung.

It can’t give you back time.  It doesn’t make fraudulent promises.  Not does it whisper seductive jingles or offer you sure, tried, and tested short cuts.

The universe of possibilities only offers hope.  Hope that if you have faith in yourself.  If you have faith in what has not yet been written or preordained.  If you believe in freedom.  If you have love for yourself, forgiveness in your heart, and a soul open to reconciliation, the world of possibilities shows you the things that you can do, despite the things that you certainly can’t do.

It shows you that while it is important to struggle to do, it is immeasurable and infinitely more important to be.

This is a vast topic.  There are so many little nuances that need to be touched on and threaded out over time, but I made a promise to myself and to you to keep this short.

In the meantime. Keep dreaming. Strive to be better. Improve your score, your wealth, and your circle of influence.

Keep dreaming.  Keep your faith.  Keep hoping.

It is all possible. 

Two women looked out of their prison window and gazed at the world outside their reality.  One saw the stars and got lost in the infinite distance of space and possibility.  The other one saw the bars on the window, counted them, and resigned herself to remain a prisoner of her own making.

 


the world of judgement

 

In their inspirational book the Art of Possibility, Ben and Rosamund Zander speak about the world of measurement. A world we all know too well. A world that judges us and in turn is judged by us. The results are often crippling. We hide from the life we wish to live, but I wouldn’t be writing this if there was no hope. Indeed, there is an infinite universe of possibilities. 

We judge not because we are mean, but because as children, we were somewhat helpless and needed to identify, with some gusto and efficiency, the things that would help us or hurt us.  There were indeed many dangers lurking on various corners and staircases, when we were young, and our ability to measure and judge served us well by increasing our safety and preserving our security.

The problem is, as you and I grow up, less and less dangers present themselves, at least here in the free world.  As we become adults, we became capable of handling many situations, and are prepared to handle many things.  We are no longer afraid of campfire ghost stories, our school bullies, or our countless nightmares.  We became confident in navigating our way through the brave new world, but our childhood habits of judgement and measurement, are never quite abandoned, and so we continue to employ them in our service.

The world of measurement and judgement limits us.  It sentences us to repeat our past mistakes.  It forces us to do the same things, and reap the same rewards.

We become our own nightmare, our own worst critic. 

Our hearts are filled with doubts and our minds are often full of regrets. 

Full of I told you so.  I knew this would happen.  What was I thinking?  Nothing good ever happens to me.  Full of thoughts that you’re not worthy.  That you don’t deserve this. 

But who do you think you are?

Who gave you right to judge yourself?

When we attack ourselves, those closest to us are rendered helpless.  They are more than willing to spring into action when a stranger raises his fist against us, or a keyboard warrior spews garbage in our direction on Facebook.  They are rendered helpless however, when we run away and judge ourselves useless.

They become helpless to help us.  They are unable to show us who they see.   

And we are blind to their attempts anyway.

They hold part of the truth of who we are, and we need to listen and hear them out.

It’s not easy to silence the world of judgement.  It is a habit that comes easy and springs up in everything we do.  Regardless of how hard it may be, we have no choice but to fight against it.

Beautiful women hide from the world, because they have come to compare themselves to a Photoshop illusion.  They cringe and cannot accept a genuine compliment.  They are unhappy with their weight.  They are unhappy with growing older.  They are unhappy but they persist in measuring themselves against others, of judging themselves against their younger self.

It is a war they cannot win.

Young people try so hard to achieve in top marks school, and some end up depressed, burdened with ulcers, or opioid addictions.

They are so quick to struggle and fight against the world.  To tell you how unfair the whole system is, and in the same breath they accept and embrace the world of measurement.

The world of measurement says that our resources are limited.  There is not enough for everybody.  We have to hide and protect our stuff.  As Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman so beautifully puts it, “its fuck your buddy, cheat on your wife, and send your mother a mother’s day card on mother’s day”.

We measure and judge ourselves to death.

We have created a culture of death.  A ladder which keeps us from meeting and getting to know each other.  A world of doing that keeps us away from being.

You need a universe of possibility.

A place where anything is possible.  A magical land where dreams take flight.

You need hope.

You need tomorrow.

 


don't lose heart

 

Don’t lose heart.

Don’t give up, because you just can’t feel forward.

The mistakes or the mess that you find yourself in will feel different in the future.  Some of it you’ll forget.  Some you’ll laugh at.  Some, is probably destined to become a turning point, an opportunity, a real difference.  But right now, right here, while you’re on the verge of tears, remember that you can’t feel any of it in the distant future.  You can’t feel forward. 

You can’t see your triumphs.  You can’t glance at your regrets.  You cannot take comfort in your accomplishments.  You need something real to keep going.

But, don’t lose heart.

Perhaps you need a day to do nothing.  To think about nothing.  To feel nothing.  To accomplish absolutely nothing. 

Nothing.

Sometimes the things we plug into, the work we get involved with, multiply and wrap themselves around us, choking us, like the messy electrical cords hiding beneath our desk.  After some time, it becomes very difficult to distinguish which snake belongs to which head, and so sometimes, it is warranted, just to unplug everything.  To slow down.  To take a series of deep breaths, so the world stops spinning.  To figure out the next few steps.  A moment of clarity before we continue our journey.

So, don’t lose heart.

Perhaps you don’t need to stop, you just need a little pause.  A deep breath.  A moment to meditate on the possibility of everything that you’re doing.  A moment to think back and embrace the meaning of everything you’ve been through.

Take some time and breathe.

But don’t lose heart.

Perhaps you need to make a list that are yet undone, but call to you like a wolf in the darkness. 

You have good intentions, your tank is full of untapped motivation, but you feel like you’re spinning your wheels in the complicated mud of life. 

You feel stuck.  Going nowhere.  Working too hard, with no results. 

Make a plan.  Write it all down.  Be grateful and believe in abundance.  Break it into manageable and countable pieces.  Get up and do them.  Don’t ask why.

And don’t lose heart.

Perhaps you need a little bit of KITA.  A stern and firm kick in the ass. 

You find yourself here despite yourself.  You dream.  You plan.  You execute.  You taste success, but then something happens.  You slow down, for no good reason.  You get distracted by life.  You get derailed by various human tragedies seem to encircle your life.  You get complacent.  You get lazy.  You get tired.  You get disoriented.

So, steady your ass for an generous ass kicking, but whatever you do, don’t lose heart.

Don’t quit.

Don’t give up.

Don’t beat yourself up.

It serves no purpose.  It does very little.  It doesn’t make life any easier.

Life is tough and all those billions of commercials we have heard throughout our lives, that make promises to make things easier for us, are nothing more than a desperate lie. 

Trust yourself.

Love yourself.

Embrace those close to you.

Go make new friends.

Tell your dreams to strangers, so in their eyes you will see them for the very first time.

You’ll get your mojo back. 

You’ll inspire them. 

In turn, they’ll inspire you. 

You’ll inspire each other.

Tell them not to lose heart, and don’t lose heart yourself.

Remember, that the greatest shortcut, is the long road.  The road you decide never to leave until your reach your destination.

 


you see what you want to see

 

Seeing things for what they are, is a tricky business.  I relearned this week that the human mind, before it hears or accepts any new information, grapples with it first and decides where it will put it.

You decide your response before you listen. 

You don’t respond, you seek a reason to move on.

This means that depending on your mood, your well-being, your prejudices and biases, you will hear and hear again, and not understand.  Which explains why some people cannot see the terror they are inflicting on others, not that this excuses them in any way, shape, or form.

We see what we want to see.

We see what we have been preconditioned to see.  What we accepted to be the truth.

Case in point. 

Up here in Canada, it’s hockey season.  My son has once again decided, or was somewhat encouraged, to lace up his skates yet again.  He plays in a House League, and it is a noticeable difference from the Rep hockey experience.  He is a beautiful eight years old boy and we are trying to shield him from any possible concussions, or unrealistic expectations of winning at all cost. 

House league is perfect for us.  There is less pressure, a bit less nutty parents, and just about less of everything for that matter. 

If our goal for him was to become a professional Hockey player, House League would be a mistake, but we are willing to take that risk.  Choosing instead to expose him to art and music, or perhaps to a memorable, happy, carefree childhood.

The last game he played, our team won 7-1. 

It was clear from the very beginning that this would be an uneven contest.  Our parents cheered their kids, right to the very end.  They cheered loudly.  The clapped loudly.  They cheered on the first goal, with the same enthusiasm and tenacity, as they did the seventh.

And that was the problem.

A parent from the other team became livid and insatiably angry.  They ranted and raved.  Thrashed and cried.  Told anyone that would listen about the insolent sportsmanship they were witnessing.  They complained to the league convener.  They tried everything they could, to right a wrong, and I would too, if I saw what they saw.

But I didn’t.

What they didn’t see or know is that five of the seven goals had been scored by kids who have never, ever scored before.  Their parents, and grandparents were overcome with excitement, because it was something truly special to behold, and may not come around again. 

I wonder how angry the parent would have been, if they knew the other side.

We see what we want to see.

When you dig for gold, you will either get discouraged by all the dirt you’ve fought through, or you will stay faithful and hopeful, that you have a good sense to believe that there is gold to be mined.

You should definitely always look for the gold.

Don’t get absorbed and buried by the dirt.

At the end of your life, your friends and family, will certainly do that part for you.   But in the meantime, there is no reason to live the life you don’t want to live.  There is no reason to become who you dream of being.

But perhaps there is. 

That reason is you.

In the final analysis, it is you who decides what you see. 

You will either see the rain that provides life to everything, or the relentless moisture that fucks up your new hairdo and spoils your wedding day. 

You can either embrace the people that love and respect you, or bitch and moan about the people, who truly cannot stand you, even when you’re far away.

You can see your failures as a new beginning, or you can see them as another proof of your wretchedness.

You see, you see what you want to see.

You do what you want to do.

So search your heart and ask yourself why? 

Don’t take the next step.  Decide and know why you are taking the next step. 

You don’t have to know where you are going, as long as you know where and who you no longer wish to be.

You must walk somewhere, so you might as well, step forward, with some courage, purpose, and a smile.

Happiness is not a state of doing, it is state of being.

So, begin to see things you might typically ignore.

Take the time to listen.

Slow down.

You were born with wonderful talent, so focus on the good you do. 

Focus on where you want to be. 

The rest is just a sea of endless possibilities.