Posts Tagged ‘possibility’


Philosophy Tuesday

March 6, 2018

In the realm of contribution, there is no such thing as a greater, or lesser, contribution.  Contribution isn’t about size, or magnitude.  It is about, and there is only, contribution.  Or not.

It’s worth recognizing this.  Because it can be all too easy to slip into the world of judgment and get hung up on assessing and rating our contribution(s).  It can be easy to see the action that makes the big difference and see things begin to shift and think “Well darn… they did that thing there and now things are altering;  I guess I wasn’t the one.”

Except that you are… you are the one of the many.  Without your contribution, that “final” tipping point that is so visible and seems so momentous may never have happened.  Every bit is a contribution, and every bit makes the next contribution possible, and every bit cements the previous contribution.  Every brick helps build the building.  Your contribution was integral to the big shift starting.

When we keep our gaze only on the capstone, when we limit our view only to that final moment, we lose sight of our power.  Why bother!?  it seems like.  My actions clearly don’t matter.  Things are intractable.  I tried but… it didn’t make a difference.  I knew it!  Might as well move on to other things and cross my fingers.

Which is, of course, the most surefire to ensure that indeed we’ll have no impact.   We will definitively not be a contribution.*

When we focus on contribution as contribution, free from magnitude, we likewise gain freedom to participate and contribute everywhere in our lives.  Opportunities open up.

And we get to aim ourselves.  There is contribution and not contribution.  Aimlessly, without care or reflection, we may be missing out on contribution, or contributing towards a direction we don’t want it to be.  It’s no contribution.  Mindfulness is still vital.

Moments of contribution are a gift.  To contribute is to get the joy and fulfillment of building something. To be contributed to is to receive love and worthiness.  And contribution can be everywhere.  Every moment, every interaction, every choice, can be a contribution.

It’s a big responsibility.  But we’re big people.  Let’s play.


* And it’s worth remembering that not taking action is still taking an action that still produces a result – a result that likely will be supporting the opposite of the contribution we would want to make…


Philosophy Tuesday

February 20, 2018

It is often best

to not think about those things

about ourselves

that aren’t the way we’d want them to be

that don’t work out the way we’d want them to

that we don’t like acting in that particular way

that we don’t want going in that predictable, particular way

that can, in hindsight, seem nasty, petty, and even weird

and that lead to outcomes that we don’t actually want

all those things

best not to think of them as BAD

or, even more commonly,

to view ourselves as BAD

and most certainly WRONG

but rather

to think about our faults and foibles


they are UNPRODUCTIVE ways of BEING

that when they arise

hijack everything

and lead us down those paths

that we’d really rather not go down

because if we are BAD

what else can we be?

judge, jury, and executioner

we’ve committed ourselves

to a prison of blame

and a continuation of BADNESS

but if we have ways of BEING


then it’s a different story

ways of BEING

are eminently examinable


and a domain of creation

that which triggers us

into those realms of predictability


blank slates can be created

and by stepping into

a new way of BEING

new realms of POSSIBILITY open up

for new accesses

new actions

and new outcomes

owning our future

and walking the paths

towards who we truly want to be

and to what we truly want


Philosophy Tuesday

February 6, 2018

There is a difference between a Possibility, and an Expectation.  And it’s a good one.

An expectation holds a high regard as to what will likely happen.  An expectation holds dear that something will happen.  An expectation demands that something should happen.

An expectation is a possible future coupled with an attachment.

It should go this way… or else.

A possibility, on the other hand, acknowledges that is a creation.

A possibility calls towards the future and puts a vision out there, without  clinging.  A possibility aims broader, foregoing a specific outcome and specific paths to get there.  Possibilities live in the world of intents, recognizing the broader avenues of fulfillment.

And here’s the fun part:

If you have an expectation, and it goes unmet, then you’re left with disappointment.

If you have a possibility, and it goes unmet, then what you’re left with is…  a possibility.

No upset.  No frustration.  Only a place of clarity and power and creation from which to spring forward into what’s next and towards the fulfillment of your possibilities, and the joy therein.


Philosophy Tuesday

January 16, 2018

“When you are kind to strangers,

you never know what it will mean to them,

but sometimes it means a great deal.”

John Green


Philosophy Tuesday

January 9, 2018

There’s a phrase in the writing community:  “You have to kill your darlings.”*

The gist of the phrase is that, when we author a story, we may come up with moments, scenes, plot twists, dialogue, characters, or any of a host of things that are, taken by themselves, absolutely perfect (at least to ourselves).  They are so damn inventive, clever, emotional, poetic, powerful, or poignant that by the gods, those are going to be the shining keystone and/or the golden pillar of our story.  They are the masterstroke.

And maybe they are, indeed, great.  In evoking something.  In their singular glory.  In their isolated grandeur.

They are not, however, isolated.

They are moments within a larger arc, a larger narrative, a larger story.  They need to work within this larger story.  And quite often… they just don’t.  And while at best they can turn out to be a dud within the larger whole, more often they instead end up being downright detrimental and counterproductive:  they push the story into convoluted knots, they place limits on where the story can go, and they force the introduction and inclusion of elements and passages that are downright poor.   They can even subvert the very thing we hope to achieve with them.  Far from being the shining moment, they instead make the whole endeavour crash and burn.

And that’s why we need to kill them.

It can be so hard though!  Those darlings can be downright seductive… look at them, they’re so perfect!**   We want to hold onto them, we want to make it work, we feel that without it our story will be nothing but a hollow shell.  Those darlings are the heart and soul, they give things meaning.

But that’s not accurate.  We do need to kill them. ***

Because, once liberated from their leaden weight, the story is free to journey to new places, to take on its own identity, to fulfill on its intentions.  Setting the darling aside is what lets the story soar.  It lets us see new avenues, lets our creativity back into the game, and gives us freedom to write and fulfill on our, and the story’s, intention.

Rather than a singular moment, the whole can become a masterpiece.

Never can this be more important than when we look at the story we all have, and are, writing called “my past, my present, my future, and who I am.”

For there are moments from our past that we cling tight to, events and decisions that are so foundational we can, without a moment of preparation, tell a grand story around.  Wild, raw, powerful, stories, filled with pain and despair and loss and love and triumph and a definite understanding of the world around us.

As short stories, they are compelling.

As a chapter in the long unfolding story of our life though, they can be huge impediments to achieving all those things we actually want in life – being related, making a difference, fulfillment, self-expression, and peace of mind.

Sometimes those darling to which we hold so dear and so foundational do not, in actually, serve us.  Sometimes we need to kill those darlings, those truths we cling to, in order to let ourselves and our story grow, expand, reconfigure, and get better.   To broaden and lighten ourselves, to unleash our abilities, to expand our experience, our moods, and our place, and to re-guide our path forward.

And then, within that freedom, we can write our lives into our personal masterpiece.


* For the longest time I thought the phrase was “You have to murder your babies,” which, while similar, is a bit more, shall we say, macabre and dark?  A writer friend fortunately set me straight on what is the actual phrase…

** I think this is totally why the Zootopia story writing team held on so long with the taming collar idea/version of the script.  The (deleted/tossed out) scene at the taming party is bonafide pure powerful stuff, landing with a masterful one-two stroke of the pain the young polar bear’s eyes followed immediately with Nick’s forcibly placid expression, the light on his collar glowing yellow.  It’s a masterpiece.  There’s no way they wanted to get rid of that scene.  But it destroyed the movie as a whole.  They tried five full screenings to get it to work, but it never could.  Everything around it that needed to be in place to lead to that scene brought the story and the viewers to places that could not be recovered from.  It didn’t do what they wanted to do.  And that’s why they made the crazy, nearly last minute (just over a year from release!) choice to kill that darling, throw out that script and two+ years of work, and start writing anew.  And with that, they gained way more than they lost in setting aside that one scene.



Philosophy Tuesday

January 2, 2018

You are whole and complete


You always have been


And you always will be


You may not experience it


And you may sometimes take actions that don’t reflect it


But it doesn’t change the truth of who and what you are


There are just barriers to your experiencing it


Welcome to the New Year


Whole and Complete


Philosophy Tuesday

December 19, 2017

We were in a maze.

We’d discovered the maze while randomly visiting the art projects out in deep playa at Burning Man.  It was no small maze either – made of wood posts and plywood, it measured some 70+ feet to a side, and the walls were 8′ tall.  It was also really tricky.*

It had been eight, maybe twelve, minutes since we’d entered when, from over one of the walls (we had inadvertently split up) my friend shouts out “Hey!  There’s a door here!”

“There are no doors in mazes,” I solidly replied.

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe them per se – in fact I gave it nary a thought after my proclamation.  It was just… true.  Mazes were things with walls and passageways and dead ends.  Doors did not enter the picture.

By now of course you all can probably guess where this story is going, and what I was about to exclaim not more than a few minutes later:

“Holy crap!  There are doors in this thing!”

And it wasn’t even the same door.

It’s a funny, fluffy example, but I love it as a reminder of just how, when something comes up that doesn’t fit our view, it’s not so much that we don’t believe it, or that we actively resist it, it’s often more that it simply doesn’t even register.  No such possibility exists.  It’s so completely outside the realm of (our personal) reality that before we even become aware of it it’s been dismissed and we’re moving on with our day, acting as before.  Which equally means, quite potentially, staying as constrained as before.

Our life remains the same.

Hence why I like reminding myself with this story.  Who knows what I/we could be missing on the other side.  Who knows what I/we could learn, could do, or could be, with that new piece of information, with that broader view, and with those new possibilities.  Worlds can open up.

Because, while in a maze in the middle of the desert it was a very physical door that I was all too ready to miss, quite often the doors that we dismiss and don’t go through are very much metaphorical, and very much transformative.


* Seriously, the maze was killer.  The people who made it did a fabulous job.  Doors, bridges, and more, and it was well laid out in order to obfuscate some of the necessary routes.  My friend and I spent 30 minutes in the maze, escaped out, went back in, came out again, was told a hint or two by people outside who had completed it, went back in a third time, and still were stymied.  So we chose to D&D the heck out of it!  We came back the next day with hand-made graph paper and proceeded to map the sucker out like a dungeon… and thusly discovered a route we’d delightfully missed.  In rather short order, past few more doors, traps, and bridges, we found our way to the exit.  Superbly well done maze!