What a busy week! So many surprises have come into the sphere of my life over the last week that have brought challenge, excitement, changes in my routine and schedule, and led me to exploring a new dance in life. It all got me thinking about possibilities. And how we come to close ourselves off from them.
I have an interesting relationship with possibilities. For a long time I always focused my attention on problems. I'm trained as a conflict resolution practitioner and even before my training, my mind was a problem solving pro. It's one of my most tried and true skills. And while it can be useful, valuable, and has served me well many times, it also gets me into knots.
As they say, when you focus on problems, all you get are more problems. When you focus only on the problem, the field of perception of reality is both skewed and narrow. Over time, I recognized that this was not a helpful strategy in my own life and started working earnestly to focus on a broader stage of awareness. Beyond the problem. This stage felt bigger, more expansive, more free. Enter in the surprising recognition that the stage of reality is far greater than even that.
Here's what happened, recently while having a conversation with my own coach it became clear that I had a story. Damn you stories. You're always lurking in my mind despite my best efforts! I didn't just have a story, I had a solid story. A story of solid truths. You know those stories that you etch in cement? The ones you write on the pavement before it dries, so it takes quite the jack hammer to undo? Yeah. One of those stories. This story was about reality in a part of my life that included several goals I'm working towards in the future.
Here's the problem with my story. My solid story was not focused on the problem. Nice. At least the stage was bigger. BUT....but...it did have a limited range of possible outcomes. It was standing on a narrow stage of possibilities that in fact did not include the entire vastness of what is possible. Both known and unknown. (One of the many reasons I got "I don't know" in Thai tattooed on my right arm so I wouldn't forget this lesson. Clearly I still forget it at times when I get scared...but I digress).
I had a solid story about a part of my life that I was absolutely standing in that created a scenario where few possibilities existed. The world of outcomes I saw was narrow and when I recognized this, when I acknowledged for myself that the possible outcomes were in fact infinite, something shifted.
Here's the thing. When we limit the range of possible outcomes, we make impossible what we desire most. When we believe receiving what we desire, achieving our goals, is not possible, they just aren't. Because both our being and our action in that scenario will create a stage where even if the possible outcome of what you desire comes knocking on your door, you may miss it! Because you're so focused on the red door in the corner that you're pretty sure is the one that is going to open. When our minds focus on a limited range of possibilities it not only constrains us, but it drains us. It drains the life from our experience. A full experience of the present moment as it arises with open arms.
So here's my practice for us on this Joy Tip Wednesday. I want you to throw open the doors of possibility. Here's how:
- Find a situation in your life that you currently have a story about. A solid story. A story where you are pretty sure of the possible outcome(s).
- Write down the story as a headline. A one liner. For example "Jane is definitely mad at me about our conversation last week and will not call me back."
- Identify the outcome(s). In this last example, the possibility is that Jane will not call back.
- Ask yourself what is impossible from this story as I've framed it? (Hint, this will help you identify new potential possibilities).
- Break down the barriers. List five more possible outcomes. For example, "Jane will call me back. Jane will text me to see how I'm doing. I call Jane and she answers and apologizes for the misunderstanding. Jane shows up for a surprise visit to talk."
- Break down more barriers and list five more possible outcomes.
- Identify one action step you can take to live this new realm of possibilities. For example, maybe you decide to call Jane with the possibility that she picks up and you have a healing conversation.
Sometimes just our awareness of a broader field in life can support us to shift inside. But often times we need to take action to start shifting the beliefs in our mind. To bring new evidence to show us that there are far more possibilities than our mind can imagine. And when we stand in that place of openness in life, we are more likely to align with a life full of more flow and ease.
So break down those barriers. Swing open your doors. And believe that there are infinite possibilities in life. None of us have the manual and script of how everything will go. So let's stop pretending that we do and enjoy the ride on the open road.