One of my favorite literary figures is Emily Dickinson. Perhaps one of the reasons why she has captured the imagination is because she is so … peculiar. She is one of the greatest American poets, writing beautifully and forcefully about passion and love and life all the time living as a recluse. Her life was enigmatic, filled with contradiction. She was an soul with wisdom filled with hope yet tempered by loss and disappointment. No wonder I’ve always adored her.
I dwell in possibility.
It’s one of my favorite Dickinson poems and “possibility” has always been a value of mine. To me, possibility is beauty. It is openness. It is freedom. It is connection. Possibility is more than just saying what if. Possibility is playing with that what if and creating opportunity out of passion. Possibility is what guided me to endurance sports in the first place. What if I trained for a triathlon? What if I signed up for a trail marathon? At first, the questions sound like this: Is it possible for me to do it? Then the questions evolve: What possibilities have now opened up for me? As I dwell in possibility with my trail marathon race day approaching, my good friend Carolyn (who by the way has an amazing penchant for helping you get to the guts of your creativity at the Fish Rank Think Tank) sent me a link to a commencement address given by author Neil Gaiman. In it, he talks about possibility. “People who know the rules, know what is possible and what is not. You don’t,” he said to bright-eyed Class of 2012. “If you don’t know it’s impossible it’s easier to do.”
Granted, I’m not a 22-year old college graduate ready to take the world by storm with my creativity and my voice. But even better, there’s a 12-year old girl inside of me who will never die, whom I constantly try to nourish and listen to. Her passion and energy complements the wisdom I’ve gained through many birthdays. There are times when things like rules and planning are good and helpful. But there are other times when the rules are meant to define what is possible and what is not. And we don’t really know what is possible until we settle in and make ourselves at home in it, until we dwell in possibility.