1st Principle: There Is Always One Possibility
ou might as well get used to thinking and saying it–– “There is always at least one possibility.”
Try saying that several times before you continue reading. What pops up in your thoughts? Your reaction will be helpful to understand your current mindset.
When something is difficult, we tend to accentuate and point out the friction points why it is difficult, or even why it might be impossible to make a change. A fundamental truth is there is ALWAYS one possibility, and that one possibility will lead us forward to the next, and the next, and so on.
Every situation has one next possibility. If you can’t find one, check to see if you have a pulse because you’ll most definitely be dead. Remember, you only need the first one. Later I’ll explain why our brains automatically discount searching for this possibility or shooting down the ones we’ve come up with.
Every time you come up with an excuse why something won’t work, find one possibility.
When we do look for a possibility, we might come up with one that is big and grand, only to realize it’s a little too far out of reach. We’ll also try the all-or-nothing approach and begin to stack up a whole bunch of them until we hit a roadblock. Disappointment sets in and we give up. Back we go to: “See, this isn’t going to work. I knew it.” You’ve created a self-fulfilling loop.
Let’s go back to the fundamental truth. It states there is always one possibility. Focus only on that.
Let’s look at Nelson Mandela and Viktor Frankl. It is an understatement to say both were in dire situations that seemingly had no positive end in sight. Mandela imprisoned on Robben Island and as Frankl in a Nazi concentration camp. Captive dead ends. Both discovered a secret–– no one could control their thoughts in their minds. They held on, created internal meaning, and searched for new possibilities.
You are in control.
I implore you to do the same. Every time you come up with an excuse why something won’t work, find one possibility. Try that. If that doesn’t work, try another. You only need one to start. Similar to hiking a mountain, each step will lead you down the path.
While you were reading this section did your mind run wild? “I’m not Nelson Mandela. Auschwitz? That’s an extreme example. I feel stuck. Does this really work?”
Yes, it definitely works.
You are in control of what you are in control of. Barring mental illness, your thoughts and actions squarely go in the ‘in control’ column.
As a real example, let’s look at the couple’s session with an issue that is extremely common…money.
Jennifer and Peter are deadlocked. Once again Peter overspent on their joint credit card three months in a row. Jennifer is pissed off and feels like she can’t trust Peter. During the session, there is deadlocked energy between them.
Experience tells me there is a whole lot going on underneath the surface. Change will comprised of many steps.
Connect with your breath.
Somatic experience, ie. using your body, is always a great first choice for creating the first new possibility. It helps us get out of our hunkered-down position and literally moving! You have 100 trillion cells all over your body. It’s like a gigantic cloud computer. The breath actives our body and gets things moving. From there new possibilities can occur quickly.
Both Jennifer and John are stuck in their heads. I notice both are holding their breath. The thinking brain won’t solve it. As simple as it seems, breathing will. That is possible and within both of their control. I suggest it. Reluctantly both try, taking a breath in and then exhaling out. I repeat this request several times, each time with a bit more nuance and instruction.
There is a palpable shift. Now I notice a relaxation, so much so Jennifer places her hand on the couch in a new position and inadvertently touches Peter’s pinky. He then instinctually spreads his fingers over hers and turns his head towards her. “Honey, I am not going to make any more excuses. I sincerely apologize. Yes, I overspent. Yes, I ignored our agreed upon budget. Yes, I broke trust.”
The energy in the room has completely changed. We go forward with the session with renewed vitality. Peter discovers a few new insights about why he overspent and on his own recommits to the budget agreement.
I purposely used this example because it’s so simple and small. Peter and Jennifer’s frozen deadlock to openness was initially a canyon too wide to jump. We needed to find a really tiny possibility first.
If we break down what happened in just a few words, it would go something like this: Head. Deadlock. Breath. Fingers. Connection. Heart Center. Apology. Honesty. Openness. Recommitment. Harmony.
Finding one possibility can always be found. Starting in your body connecting with your breath is a great place to begin. From there you can find possibility #2, then #3, and so on.
Breathe in now and try it.