A while ago I wrote an Afrikaans piece titled, ‘Die Rekke In My Kake’ (https://marlizeventer.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/die-rekke-in-my-kake/) I lamented the ratrace that I feel I find myself in. I was frustrated by my perceived inability to not have the simple life that I so desperately want. I felt powerless because I felt that I had no choice in doing anything about it.
Before becoming a SAHM who also HS (stay at home mum who also home school) I worked at a legal expenses insurance company. I started as a legal adviser and stopped as a facilitator giving training. The four years that I facilitated a range of courses from Time Management to Labour Law was some of the most challenging yet most rewarding years, professionally. During that time I read a book, The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.
Two weeks ago I remembered the book and downloaded the e-book version. When I read it, almost 13 years ago I did not understand it. (Have you ever had it happen when you read something and you know it is a good book, but you just do not ‘get’ it? This was such a book.) Now however, it is making more sense.
It talks about us living in a measurable world where we strive for success, hoping to arrive at a better place where we are. It is about winning and losing. But what stood out most was this assumption that many of us make that we have to survive. In this fight of survival it is imperative that we avoid danger as much as possible, be clever judges of people – are they friend or foe? A phrase that caught my eye was the following, “Keeping our armor intact is of critical importance as well, which means resisting any challenge to our personal viewpoint.” (The Art of Possibility, p 45)
We cast our personal viewpoint, or our opinions, in stone. We say that the way we think is the only way of thinking.
When we do that we get stuck in a universe of IMPOSSIBILITY.
Should you however take the brave step and say that your reality is only one of many realities out there you open yourself to the universe of possibility.
To give a real life (true) practical example, one day a couple (normal middle class suburban couple with two kids) was daydreaming about what they would do when they won the lotto (which they have never played). The man said that if he ever won millions he would love to build houses for people. You know, the typical philanthropic stuff you will do when you suddenly find yourself in possession of millions and millions of dollars, after you have done your exotic holiday and fancy shmancy car. The wife looked at him and said, “Why do we always want to wait until the day we win millions? We have a house that is paid off, that we do not live in. Yes, we get a bit of passive income from it, but why wait until the millions happen, let’s give that away.”
That is an example of not living in a measurable world. For that moment, they left the idea of being in a fight for survival, connected to a scarcity way of thinking behind. And so they created a different reality for themselves. One of not waiting for one day to a difference. It may not be houses for many people, but they could make a difference to one deserving family.
Another way to explain this altered reality is with the use of photographs. On Facebook there is a link which shows iconic world landmarks close up, giving the impression that life is a certain way in that country, but when photographed from a distance the reality is vastly different. I was particularly shocked by the photo of the pyramids in Egypt and the Taj Mahal in India. Just looking at things differently made me think differently as well.
Marita van der Vyver’s (the South African writer) mum once said to her that if a problem has a solution it truly is a problem but if it does not have a solution it is a fact and you will have to live with it. (From her book, ’n Fontein voor ons Deur.)
I have been thinking and mulling many things this week. I think the most important lessons that I have taken from the past 7 days are that there are many solutions to my problems, that I have to stop waiting for one day to happen, that I have to stop thinking in survival mode, and that it is very important to NOT resist all challenges to my personal viewpoint.
When you start doing that you may just be very pleasantly surprised at the possibilities that present themselves.