Monday, May 25, 2009
The Art of Possibility
Last week in Sunday School my friend Jaime's hubby, Carl shared about a book, The Art of Possibility. I am adding this to my goodreads.com list.
He gave us a little taste. We live in a world of measurements. A world where we measure our weight, our amount of cars, our square footage, our income, our number of associates, our baptism stats, our visiting teaching stats, etc...This world is a finite world of measurement.
I started to feel suffocated listening to this world. This world that strangles the joy out of life.
He then illustrated that instead of living in this finite world - we should live in the realm of possibility. In this world of possibility we're able to live with wonderment, with passion.
Most of us set goals. I do. But I also hate setting goals, when I don't meet them. I love them when I do...and I work my tail off to reach them. In this book it asks us to instead, set the context of what we wish to accomplish, not goals. Goals are limiting, the context allows our lives to unfold, and allows possibilities to emerge.
Each of us knows what was before this life, and what can be after this life. The truth is, that there isn't a pie chart for life. There's an infinite amount of "pie" (I hope mine is apple) for everyone, in every situation, in each of our possibilities.
I have been thinking about this all week. The message of that totally resonated with me. Like there's always been a home for this concept, but I never knew how to articulate it. I love that living with possibility is called an art form.
Today in Relief Society the lesson was about Provident Living - specifically finances. One comment went back to the same thing that I have heard over and over about. The commenter talked about how when she first got married she felt pressure to have the things her in-laws had, a home, nice furniture, nice cars, etc... but she realized that she needed to remember how old they were - that they weren't at that age/stage of life yet, and to be patient.
That's well and good. But that's not the point. The point of the art of possibility is not to measure ourselves by someone's life metric. We are all different. We live in different contexts. We shouldn't be comparing ourselves to others. We will never, I repeat, NEVER be happy until we stop comparing. If that is one mission in my life to tell people NOT to compare with each other, I'll have accomplished something.
I remember when my husband and I were still newly married, sans kids. We married in '01 and bought a home in '03. My Mom's aunt or some such cousin... came to visit our home. She made a comment that irked me. She walked around and griped, "well, we certainly didn't have this when we were their age."
I thought about that. Why does someone's good fortune hurt her? I think perhaps she is busy living a life of comparisons. A place, where you are allowed only certain experiences at certain times, if at all. A life where there is only so much of the "pie" available in that tiny pie chart. To me she is living a finite life.
I've never been one to think this way. When I see someone meeting good fortune, I think, fantastic. Or if I see someone I'd like to be more like - I want to learn from them. Because I believe it's possible. I think we're much happier people if we stop using those silly, arbitrary metrics. Each of us is unique. We need to take stock about what makes us happy, why that is, and focus on ourselves, and our own little families. Other people's opinions don't matter. What do you think of yourself? What does God think? That's it...and we all know, in the quiet of our minds if we do things for ourselves, or for the praise/jealousy of others.
The art of possibility is available to all of us... each one of us can choose to stop using silly metrics and comparisons of who has what, who does what. If we all work at this I think a lot of that green-eyed envy will shrivel up and disappear. (I can hope for that possibility...can't I?)
I read recently about this woman living a "wild and precious" life. I like that. I want to be like that...so I'm going to learn, open my heart and embrace the possibilities. Join me, won't you?
ps. I'm hiking Feather Falls with some friends today...just us gals. This means my hubby has the whole day with girls... I'm starting to get nervous about if they'll be fed, be reminded to go pee and how the house will appear when I return home... anyone want to place a bet?
Post-Hike update - my hubby had a BBQ (chicken, ribs, NY steak, corn, pineapple... grilled...mmm) waiting when I arrived home. The girls had a fun day with him swimming, shopping, telling stories, buying treats. The house... in great shape. I am so lucky.