Dwell in Possibility

August 24, 2012

Surmounting seemingly impossible tasks is an essential part of life. When I took my very first written exam at German university, I was scared out of my wits. All kinds of ‘what if’s’ floated through my head. ‘What if I can’t formulate my thoughts in the time that I have?’ ‘What if I fail?’ ‘What if I forget all my German and draw a complete blank!?’ ‘What if!?’ ‘What if!?’

So my mother, being the fabulous person she is, sent me a T-shirt with Emily Dickenson’s quote “I dwell in possibility.” She asked me to entertain the possibility that I would succeed.

Stumbling into the exam room wearing the T-shirt as my guide, I wrote the exam non-stop for two hours. And you know what? I did succeed despite my doubt.

It was a pivotal moment in which I realized, at the tender age of twenty-three, how much our thoughts dictate pretty much every choice we make, if we let them. Or we can take a more heart-centered approach in which we seek out the joy in every situation (and I mean every one!) despite the thoughts swirling in our heads, screaming the opposite to what our hearts are saying.

What are you thinking is impossible today? What if you were to entertain that it could be possible after all? Would you see things with different eyes? Would you succeed?

Audrey Hepburn once said, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible.”

Yes, you are. Start with your vision of what you’d like to see in the world, then create it. You might be amazed at who shows up to help you once you are clear about what you really want.

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Life is a journey of learning, but without resources it is hard to continue the formal learning process. Twenty years ago I applied for a Fulbright scholarship as I wanted to study in Berlin. It didn’t pan out, but what the process did for me was to help me focus on my goals and priorities. It was an exciting time in Berlin around the time of German reunification in 1992. In the end I found a way to obtain my master’s degree elsewhere in Germany without the scholarship (by working five jobs at once). The experience taught me humility, resourcefulness and abundant thinking. No matter how little I had at the time, I had more than enough.

I just got word that the Fulbright Hays program has been slashed out of existence by Congress. It makes me sad on so many levels because international study is a cornerstone to international peace. Without foreign exchange we end up trapped in our own bubbles, unknowledgeable about other ways of thinking.

So please join me in signing this petition to save this program. It’s an outrage to think we spend billions of dollars killing other people instead of instilling a sense of international unity.

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Slow Acting: Part II

March 28, 2011

Gabrielle Scharnitzky offered the most amazing weekend acting workshop I’ve ever attended. The heart of acting is about coming from a pure state of truth. The slow comes in realizing things come more quickly to us, the things we truly desire, when we slow down. When we take time to absorb the moment, our awareness teaches us more than any book, film or other person can. Our inner knowing is housed in our DNA. If we’d only listen.

To cut out the white noise of haste, I screeched my deadline-driven week to a halt. Starting with a Zumba class (think Brazilian hip hop) on Friday evening, I literally danced my way into the weekend. On Saturday morning, I spent two hours on a manuscript, then attended my son’s soccer game only to then have lunch with the family and some quiet time on the couch reading with my husband. The workshop went from 4-10 p.m, whizzing by both days. I left the room a different person. A clearer one who lives in acceptance of what is at any given moment.

The power of slow acting involves breathing deeply and turning the gaze inward. All our answers are there. The challenge is quieting the mind, and the world around you, long enough to hear them.

 

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All that we’ve ever looked for has been within us all along. That is the lesson of Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist.

In Power of Slow terms you might find this quote to be the same thing. When we love the moment, we unleash exponential possibilities.

Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries. -Corita Kent

How will you love the moment today?

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Organizational techniques are as myriad as the people who create them. Stephanie Schneider, a rising junior at Carnegie Mellon University, offers her insights into procrastination and the need to satiate our love of the ‘new’. Hear her tale on how she overcame her inner pig-dog (that’s innerer Schweinhund for you Germanophiles) on today’s Focus Fridays podcast.

If you like what you hear, don’t forget to right-click, save, then place your Power of Slow badge of honor anywhere in your social media universe. We appreciate you spreading the word that slow is faster and that fast is merely exhausting!


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It’s not just me. Time perceptions really do inform how we live our lives. According to John Byrd and Philip Zimbardo, two psychologists from California, children’s ability to delay gratification led to improved standardized test performance later in life.

Wow. A marshmellow today or two tomorrow. Which one would you pick?

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