Impossible dreams and magical realities
“I’ve no luck in my life,” a 40-something woman told me yesterday.
She was trying to convince me why her big dream would never come true; after all, it hadn’t up till now.
“Hey, it’s 2018!” I reminded her. “What about a new year and new possibilities?”
She laughed. That was a good start.
I shared some ideas that I thought might help her. She thought they sounded ridiculous – impossible! She laughed some more. Even better!
“What if,” I suggested, “2018 was the year that the impossible became possible?”
She liked that idea.
I like that idea.
Feel free to like it too!
I started exploring how we can create seemingly impossible things in our lives last year, when I took a full-of-fun, 90-day course with Michael Neill called, Creating the Impossible.
During the course, the participants were encouraged to pick an impossible project – a dream that we thought would be wonderful and pretty crazy if we could make it into a reality. Michael explained that just thinking about the project should make us smile, giggle or even laugh out loud. Then, each day, we were encouraged to show up and engage with our project in a way that inspired us.
If we had felt that our projects were possible, we could probably convince ourselves as to which was the best route to completion, and then we would just walk down that path. But since our projects were impossible, we’d all have to rely on inspired action and the mysterious realm of infinite possibilities to get us there. When you rely on these forces to guide you, you never know which path you’re going to take, and it turns out the results are far more interesting!
My impossible project was to receive within 90 days, an invitation to be interviewed by Oprah. The thought of discussing midlife women’s health with Oprah made me smile, big-time! And since I considered it truly impossible, I was able to PLAY with the idea without getting attached to results.
While playing with my impossible project, I knew I couldn’t map out the steps that would get me on Oprah. I became aware that since there were an unlimited number of paths that could lead to Oprah, I shouldn’t restrict myself to thinking “this is the path.” Instead, as Michael encouraged us to do, I showed up daily and acted on what I was inspired to do in the moment. Working in that way, is very different from showing up and doing what you think you should do.
Was I invited to Oprah within 90-days? No! Might I be invited in the future? Sure, why not?!
But while my impossible project proved impossible within the 90 days, engaging in 90-days of inspired action led to all sorts of other opportunities appearing almost out of nowhere. In fact, things that I created from inspiration during the course are still delivering results today. It’s as if over the 90 days, I scattered lots of seeds and every so often, at a perfect time, a new shoot breaks through the earth.
From witnessing this, I realized that I didn’t have to limit working from inspiration in the moment, to that one impossible project. I could engage with all my work and life in general in a much more playful and inspired manner. And this is what I’ve been doing for the last year and plan to do every year forward!
So what does this look like?
Instead of writing a list of goals and resolutions, and then stressing over how I’m going to achieve them, I‘m aware that there’s something much bigger at play here. Wherever I can, I show up and engage from inspiration while looking in the general direction in which I want to go. I leave the thinking about what I should or shouldn’t do by the wayside, and allow results that I couldn’t even imagine, to just materialize.
For you, moving through life in such a way could look like this:
Let’s say in 2018, you want to be healthier than ever before. Convention suggests you should sit down and plan how this is going to happen, i.e write some new year’s resolutions. When you do that maybe you choose:
Meditate every morning; green juice for breakfast; go to the gym three times a week; yoga at the weekends; give up drinking.
These resolutions aren't bad if you managed to keep them. The problem is none of them might represent your best route to good health.
Instead, if you committed to engaging with good health in a light-hearted way and then acted where you were inspired to act, rather than where you think you should act, you might finish the year realizing that for you, good health is rooted in a regular belly dance practice and when you do that, you eat healthier and drink far less because you love your practice and want to improve it!
Sounds impossible? Maybe. But that’s not a bad thing!
Taking the Creating the Impossible course made me realize just how many impossible things I had created in my life, and I’m certain, if you take a moment to reflect on years gone by, you’ll also be able to remember things that happened in your life, that once appeared impossible.
Surely you've experienced moments when you’ve looked back and wondered in amazement: how did I make this happen?
I want to share with you one such impossible event in my life, that I re-examined while engaging in the Creating the Impossible course. Reflecting on this event offered me clarity regarding how impossible things can be created.
Almost 20 years ago, before I had kids, before I was married, and while I was working in a technology company, I decided that I wanted to buy my first apartment, and I wanted to buy it in the lovely and fun neighborhood where I was renting at the time.
It was a neighborhood in high demand and the prices reflected that.
“Don’t buy there,” my parents warned me. “If you move further out of town you’ll get more apartment for your buck!”
But I didn’t want more apartment. I wanted a small apartment in my fun neighborhood!
The real estate agents wanted me to broaden my area of search. “There aren’t so many apartments that come up for sale in that neighborhood,” they told me. “It will be much easier if you’re more flexible.” But I wasn’t interested in flexible (i.e more possible!). I wanted an apartment in my neighborhood.
When I met with a woman from a mortgage bank, she raised concerns: “Buying an apartment at the price you’re looking at is going to put a lot of strain on your salary. What will you do when you have kids?”
“Well,” I told her, “Right now, you never know, but I’m hoping that there’ll be someone else involved before the kids arrive!”
No-one believed I could find the apartment that I wanted. But I just ignored them. Every weekend, I opened the local newspapers (that’s the way we did it back then!) and searched through the Apartments For Sale ads. Then I spoke to some agents and sellers, and went to see apartments in my neighborhood that were on the market.
Months went by and I hadn’t even found an apartment that I wanted to make an offer on. But somehow, I wasn’t discouraged, because while I held on to my dream, I held on to it lightly. I wasn’t absolutely desperate to make my dream come true and I didn’t have a clue when or how I was going to find an apartment. I was just committed to the dream.
The interesting thing about searching for an apartment is that you can spend months seeing apartments, and if you don’t find anything you like, even after all the time you’ve invested in searching for an apartment, you are no closer to reaching your goal. But that doesn’t mean, you won’t reach your goal.
Time passed but I didn’t give up.
Then, about a year into looking for an apartment, I went to see an apartment that just came on the market. It was night time when I visited the place and I never went to visit apartments when I couldn’t judge the amount of light that would come in. But for some reason, that time, I made an exception.
The apartment looked like it hadn’t been touched for about 30 years. It was in a state but immediately I saw the potential. I’d renovate! Would it be impossible to renovate by myself while I worked crazy hours and traveled a lot overseas? I thought nothing of it!
I put in an offer right away. The seller and I started negotiating but the negotiations collapsed soon after they started because the seller suddenly decided to actually raise the price by about 20%. The apartment was no longer in my budget. I was disappointed. The agent who had shown me the apartment was embarrassed and felt sorry for me…which is why when the seller decided that he was finally serious about selling the apartment three months later, she immediately gave me a call and we were able to close a deal.
I renovated the apartment and it became my beautiful little palace. My 60-square meter palace!
The woman at the mortgage bank was right about one thing though. The purchase and renovations put a strain on my salary and for the first few months after I moved in, I cut back on all my unnecessary expenses, allowing myself to go out and drink only one cappuccino, once a week. It didn’t really matter since I considered that I had moved into a palace and what do you know…a few months after I moved in, the company where I worked was acquired by a larger firm and my work and salary were reviewed. I was given, without asking, a 40% raise. I guess that’s what happens when you play in the impossible realm.
Flowers at the palace
I loved that apartment! It was the apartment that I lived in when I met my husband and when I became a mother. And many times, I sat on the sofa in my lounge and looked around and wondered: how on earth did I do this and what fun that I did!
If you’re interested in exploring how you can create something impossible in your life, check out Michael’s new book, Creating the Impossible. You might also like this year’s Creating the Impossible course.