Rediscovering the Field of Possibility

I want to give you hope. Hope can be defined as the ability to see a future that is better than the past or the present. This hope will help you to see possibilities for a better future.

The hope we are looking for is not a prognostication. It is a state of mind. It is a deep knowing that gives us the ability to work towards something until we succeed. It is not the willingness to jump on the bandwagon and ride the wave towards an obvious success. “It is hope, above all, that gives us strength to live and to continuously try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do now. In the face of this absurdity, life is too precious a thing to permit its devaluation by living pointlessly, emptily without meaning, without love, and, finally, without hope.” (Vaclav Havel)

Armed with hope, there are other things we will need to prepare for our journey to a better future. Since this is a new path to the field of possibilities, we won’t know everything that we need. There will be some tools that will help us no matter where we go. Consider these things your survival gear — the things you carry in your purse, just in case: bandaids, Tylenol, a pen, a tampon, maybe a taxi $20.

Although these won’t all be physical tools, they are all designed to help us take one more step forward. Take as long as you need to get ready. But, putting off what needs to get done will only add to the dust bunnies and cobwebs. We do need to get going.

Basecamp: Creating a space for opening.

We first want to create a safe space for possibilities. This will be a place where we can reconnect with ourselves.

Since time immemorial, humans have been adapting to their environments. Nomads would follow the food or the seasons. We developed tools to be more efficient at harvesting. We created buildings to allow us to live in different climates. In this age of climate change, we are learning to adapt to more extreme conditions. We are adaptive creatures.

For re-discovering our field of possibilities, we want to create an environment that will help us to adapt to the activities that are in line with our purpose. Creating a welcoming environment for change will help make change easier. We will start with a small space that could expand when we are ready, to include our whole physical environment (we might need to get rid of the broken chair in the corner, eventually). Right now, we are taking a small step forward. One that will not cause anyone, including ourselves, to scream, “What are you doing?”

Different physical environments cause different reactions to different people. Our work environment could cause us to tense. Our bedrooms, hopefully, allow us to relax. We are looking for an environment that inspires us.

Look at your life purpose — the life you hope for — to choose the type of space that you require.

Do you need a clean space, free from distractions, or do you live being surrounded by books, pictures and quotes? Do you need absolute silence, white noise, or your favourite soundtrack? There are no expectations except the ones that you impose on yourself. That being said, we do want the space to meet a couple of criteria:

  1. Make the space inspiring, not distracting. Pictures that fill you with light and energy are the elements of inspiration. Not so much, piles of unopened mail, yesterday’s unfinished to-do list. We are creating a space where we can turn away from distractions so that we can see the path of possibilities.
  2. Make a space that is different from your work space. We are looking for somewhere fresh and new, free from the baggage that you want to leave behind and any feelings of inadequacy. Is your purpose more active? Do you need to find a different exercise space that inspires you instead of the same one that reminds you how many times you have quit before? I work from home. I have a desk for my work. It has my laptop and I look at inspirational get-’er-done quotes. I have another desk that looks at my childrens art work and inspirational women for when I need to be more creative. I get two different things done at each desk.
  3. Prepare your space for success. We want to make it easy to adapt and take those steps forward. What tools do you need to help you. Do you need a pen and notebook? Get them. Imagine you have to get up in the middle of your purpose-driven activity to find a pen and you look in your junk drawer. There is always one in there. You have to shuffle things around because the drawer hasn’t been cleaned out in three years. And in the drawer, you find a picture from your husband’s last birthday party. Your husband’s arm is around his good friend, John. You wonder what John has been up to. It will only take a second to look him up on Facebook. And on his wall is a link to a video of screaming goats — hilarious — and that takes you to a video of a talking dog…And you surface two hours later. You don’t know where the time goes. Eliminate distractions and prepare your space with the tools you need: notebook, pens, water, music — whatever you need.
  4. Get a timer. We want you to do what needs to get done without always looking at the clock — because the dinner needs to get started. If you only have twenty minutes, you can set the timer and get something done. If you have two hours, you can set the timer for fifty-five minutes, get up and stretch, walk around or refresh your tea, then reset the time for another fifty-five minute and get the rest done. If you use one that is separate from your phone or electronics, you can avoid the distraction of notifications. Which leads to an important characteristic of the optimal purpose-oriented space…
  5. Disconnect. If at all possible schedule focused time without electronics. There are a million reasons to quickly glance at email or check the web for research. Resist the temptation by removing access. Turn off your devices or leave them in another room.

Don’t underestimate the value on an inspiring space. Architect, Christopher Alexander in The Timeless Way of Building, speaks to the ability of our chosen environment to help us feel alive:

To be alive, in this sense, is not a matter of suppressing some forces or tendencies, at the expense of others; it is a state of being in which all forces which arise in a man can find expression; he lives in balance among the forces which arise in him…
This state cannot be reached merely by inner work.
There is a myth, sometimes widespread, that a person need do only inner work, in order to be alive like this; that a man is entirely responsible for his own problems; and that to cure himself, he need only change himself. This teaching has some value, since it is so easy for a man to imagine that his problems are caused by “others.” but it is a one-sided and mistaken view which also maintains the arrogance of the belief that the individual is self-sufficient, and not dependent in any essential way on his surroundings.
The fact is, a person is so far formed by his surroundings, that his state of harmony depends entirely on his harmony with his surroundings.

The environment you create will help to pull you forward towards your path. Make it inviting.

Originally published: http://www.nancysteinhausen.com