Week One

The first thing that happened was that I started to pay attention – and I first noticed I kept slipping back into old ways of thinking. Instead of keeping open to All Things Are Possible (ATAP), I turned back to the Usual Things Will Happen (UTWH), and as we all know, when you think the usual is going to happen, then you act as if the usual will happen, and then the usual does happen! However, every time I noticed the UTWH mindset I did my best, sometimes unsuccessfully, to think in an ATAP way. By the end of the week, it was getting slightly easier.

On Sunday, ATAP helped me big time. Instead of just feeling my usual social anxiety at church, I found that I was also observing myself feeling it. As I observed, I tried motivating myself: if all things are possible, then it’s possible to not feel anxiety. This helped the anxiety diminish a little more – not enough to approach anyone and actually talk afterward, but it was enough to feel more relaxed. A first step.

SailingLater that day we went out sailing. There was fear there too, right at the beginning when I though we were taking Viento out, because of the currents that go through where she’s docked. As it turned out, we took Wind Borne instead. She’s docked in a different place, with very low current. My nervousness evaporated. The wind was perfect, the motor started despite the cold – everything seemed perfect. We put up the sails before we cut loose because we thought we could sail her away from the dock – but ended up almost ramming the dock. And oddly, I felt no fear then, just exhilaration. The fear was with Viento, thinking about bashing the dock.

That night, I watched After Earth again.  It turned out to be an interesting choice. The theme: Danger might be real, but fear is a choice. To put this toward my social anxiety: yes, social humiliation may be real; I may say something stupid and have people think I’m weird; I may inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings; I may act like a total idiot. But to be afraid of doing that is a choice.

This week, I’ve also had a shift of writing focus, from one screenplay to another, from Freedom to Undertow. I’m happy for it. I think it’s the right project for me right now, and events conspired so that I can – All Things Are Possible!

And one more thing happened that was mystically powerful. If you come along on this journey with me, you’ll have to get used to weird interpretations of possibly very normal phenomena. I’m telling my experience the way I interpret it; it’s not meant as a statement on the way the world is. Anyway, I was sleeping in, tired because I woke up at 3 and couldn’t sleep again until 6:30, and yet I was still waking up. I didn’t want to wake up. I fought it. I wanted another hour…  And a voice spoke inside my head (no, it wasn’t Brad – lol!): “Don’t ask for more time to extend your experience, ask for more experience to fulfil your time.”  I have no more words for that right now. Just putting it out there.

So in the first week of living as if all things are possible:

  1. Changed writing projects;
  2. Entered a writing contest;
  3. The power went off a few times (but that wasn’t me, I promise);
  4. Observed my usual social fears instead of only feeling them;
  5. Realized something important about time and experience;
  6. Fear is a choice. Now I just need to have the focus and inner balance to choose to not feel it in fearful situations.

And right on time, the power has returned… time to post.

The Year of Living as if All Things Are Possible

Crofters WindowCombining my optimism, hope, faith in the goodness of the world, and free will, I have decided to embark on a year long journey. I am going to live the next year with the view that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. My initial goals: to live as much as I can without past resentments and programing, to overcome fear, to achieve my career goals, to develop stronger, more loving relationships, and act with more open kindness. I’m sure those goals will grow and change.

The inspiration came from a book I just finished, which I highly recommend: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg. After reading about habits and how we can change them, how we are manipulated by them, how the big corporations use them to target customers, I came to a story about William James, who when he was a young man, suffered from depression and more. After struggling for years, James made the following commitment:

I think that yesterday was a crisis in my life. I finished the first part of Renouvier’s second Essais and see no reason why his definition of free will — ‘the sustaining of a thought because I choose to when I might have other thoughts’ — need be the definition of an illusion. At any rate, I will assume for the present — until next year — that it is no illusion. My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.

This decision changed his life, and focused him on the path that led to him now being considered the Father of American Psychology.

Obviously, my year will be different. To begin with, I’m not focusing on free will to gain free will, but on using free will to live the life that some part of me has always believed is possible. I’ll try to report every week but before I start I have one more thing to say: if you subscribe to my blog, please don’t feel bad deleting the notifications in your inbox. And that is my first act of kindness on this journey. 🙂