You hear stories all the time of the impossible becoming manifest. A mother who lifts a car when a child is trapped somehow underneath. A feeling of a friend and then the phone rings and it’s them. An idea that takes root and somehow changes the world.
Every once in a while, Grandmother would open her eyes fully and say, ‘Try to imagine the unimaginable William.’ – passage from Leona Francombe’s The Sage of Waterloo
People are doing the “impossible” every day, so why not you?
Impossibilities are simply mental limitations.
Yet, that “simply” can be a lot more complex.
Want to know two great tactics for bridging the cap between impossible and possible in your own life?
Here are two gentle practices I use all the time that help me conjure up a truly magical life of opportunities. They will work in your life, I promise, if you’ll just stay consistent and gentle with them.
- Look to the past.
“Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.” – Louis D. Brandeis
It really helps to look back a year, two, even five years and make a list of the things you’ve accomplished you once believed would be impossible. If you find yourself stalling out with this, here are some thought starters…
Do you have children? Do you recall in those early months of newborn care thinking, how can I survive on this amount of sleep? It feels impossible. Yet, here you sit reading this.
Did you go to college? Grad school? I find myself daily wondering how I will be able to get through all the papers, tests, research and writing of my Graduate Degree while working on my business, helping clients and trying to take care of my household, yet here I sit, only a few weeks away from finishing … something that at some points in my sleep deprivation felt impossible. I’ll bet you could say or remember the same.
Have you had a dream job, or a dream trip you finally got to take?
Did you meet the perfect partner for yourself and are enjoying a healthy, happy relationship?
Did you finish a race, place in a competition or start a new project?
All these wonderful milestones and achievements in our life once probably felt impossible. If you can look back to all the possibilities you’ve achieved, it can help fuel your advance toward creating the impossible of today.
If you’re over thirty, like me, you can probably easily recall a time when cell phones were impossible. I grew up riding my bike around a neighborhood and listening out for my mother’s familiar call through the evening air that dinner was ready. In junior high and high school, if mom was late to pick me up from track practice, I sat and waiting with no way to know what was causing the delay. When I met friends for movies or shopping, I simply had to trust they would show. In college I got my first cell phone. It was revolutionary. By the end of college I had sent my first text (this is stupid, I thought, who would do this over a call?). Then a phone with a camera. Then in 2011 I got my first iPhone and the world was never the same. Today we think about life without the internet or our cell phones as impossible, but you know as well as I, that it was quite possible — we lived it!
- Lean, don’t push
“If you are resisting something, you are feeding it. Any energy you fight, you are feeding.” – Michael Singer
The concept of leaning gently into the impossible took a fair amount of time for me to master. I still am learning every day about all the places in life I resist and push against the impossible (weight gain? PUSH! Lose a client? PUUUUSH! Have an argument? PUUUUUUSH!). You get the idea.
The thing with the impossible that I have learned to do is this. Start with a gentle thought that you can feel comfortable accepting, then try to build gently to it until it gets to feel like too much, like you’re on the edge of the cliff and going to fall in. You want to build the bridges between today and the impossible with gentle forward-looking thoughts and statements. Like walking across a tightrope, then a rope bridge, then eventually a stronger and stronger bridge, each time crossing the chasm will require delicate, deliberate steps forward so you aren’t knocked off your balance with thoughts that are too big a leap. Equally important, each time your thoughts, words and actions take these gentle steps along the bridge between today and impossible, the construction gets stronger and the steps become easier to take.
Here’s a tangible way to do this. Think about the impossible (e.g. let’s say it’s writing your first piece for publication). You think, I can’t do it. I’m not a writer. I’m too busy. My family needs this other time from me.
You’re falling off the bridge before you start!
Try backing off from that pushy stance with this progressive exercise.
Start: I’d like to write my first piece for publication but it feels impossible, so I’m going to back off from that thought to something softer.
Soften: I may not be able to write a whole piece today, but I could come up with a topic idea for me piece and write that down.
Do. I’ve got 10 minutes, I will just take 10 minutes to sit at this desk with pad and paper and write down the topic and 3 title ideas.
Once you’ve done the exercise, acknowledge the effort.
Acknowledge: Hey, that wasn’t so bad. In fact, that was really easy. Tomorrow I’ll bet I can find 5 or 10 minutes to just quickly jot out an outline.
It’s a nice way to be easy on yourself and not push so hard against the seemingly impossible that you derail yourself. Another thing I love to ask myself when I’m at the acknowledge step (which by the way is a CRUCIAL piece of achieving the impossible – no beating up on yourself allowed, only gratitude to yourself for what you DID do, not guilt over what you didn’t!) is to ask this simply, but revolutionary question.
This question is so important it literally changed my life in 2014.
“And what else is possible?”
That’s it. Just ask yourself as you complete and achieve all the amazing things you do every day, “and I wonder what else is possible?”
It will open your mind, body and soul up to the opportunities of your whole life.
I ask myself that question probably 10 or 20 times a day. Finished a workout, “And I wonder what else is possible today?” Finished a project, “What else is possible?” Frustrated because my drive to NASA is going slow? “And I wonder what else is possible for my commute in this morning?”
This question will change your life.
It’s March 1st. A new month, a new season and, I wonder, what else is possible for you?