Since going to see Alice in Wonderland, I have been completely taken by the idea of believing in “6 impossible things before breakfast”.
I have also realised that even getting to one is quite a challenge for me.
Despite my best attempts, a rather annoying voice chimes in and points out the irrationality of my thinking – and that’s before we’ve got anywhere near to blue caterpillars and talking cats.
“Today will be a great day” is countered by “you’re setting yourself up for a fall.” “Anything’s possible” is “provided” that things like rain, and ironing, and traffic jams, don’t get in the way. And, “crazy” ideas are negated with a “but”, or abandoned, mid creation, “because that would be ridiculous” –
Alice would disapprove. This is not at all what Lewis Carroll was talking about and my current approach is fundamentally flawed. I am vetting what’s possible – or not – before it even becomes a thought, let alone something I’d consider believing in.
So, in order to meet the target, I’m putting in a little preparation and trying to….
1. Create some space.
If I want to believe in the impossible, there has to be a little room for free thought. This means that, instead of pre-empting the problems or getting hung up on the practicalities, I am going to stop interrupting the flow with “buts” and “hows” and sarcastic interjections.
Thoughts are just that: ideas that float around inside your head. And, therefore, I do not have to decide the feasibility of everything that crosses my mind.
Nor do I have to stand in judgement –
2. Free thought.
As a timely Shakespeare-originated (!) tweet has reminded me: “there is nothing either good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Step two is about not censoring – or judging – or immediately trampling over my thoughts. I’m asking the thought police to step back a little here, and resist the urge to analyse (“what does that say about you?”), or edit (“you can’t think that”), or condone (“what a terrible thing to think”) the stuff that’s going around my head….
A thought is just a thought – and it might even be a possibility, which would be a good thing -
3. Don’t be afraid of thoughts.
At work, I jump right out of the box in terms of thinking; at home, I’m somewhat contained. I am scared of wanting (as that might lead to disappointment); do not like expecting (in case that jinxes the chances of success); and, worry that loving and living will result in pain.
This puts a great big net around where I will – or won’t – let my head go.
Step 3 is, in some appropriately twisted thinking, about not cancelling out the impossibility before it is even a possibility. It is about letting myself want – and hope – and look forward to things – before I decide that they’re never going to happen, and douse down any excitement with a big shot of pessimism.
In reality, my negativity is a little displaced…
4. From impossible to possible: a little proof.
The final piece of preparation is about getting a little collateral behind me and remembering the value of believing in the impossible.
It is not just a glossified soundbite, Melissa, but something that can move you on.
In the past year, I’ve done lots of things that an earlier version of me would have claimed to be “impossible”. The biggies are stopping throwing up and getting to a healthy weight, the others sound small but were pretty momentous to me (from learning that sitting on my sofa for an evening is okay to nailing the handbrake habit).
I have done things that I swore weren’t possible and those that I didn’t even allow myself to consider –
So, I need to remember, as the next phase starts, that letting myself entertain the notion of six impossible things might inform my life in a very positive way; and that starting each day with a little imagination, might really help me shape what’s to come.
And as a reminder…
- Clouds Clearing
- Unexpected weight – gains
- The Saturday Night Experience
- Filled Pasta (and life after an eating disorder)
- Feeling the fear – and getting better
- Things that have cropped up along the way!