Dwelling in Possibility

Image created on Canva by Catherine Glynn

As a creative artist, one of the things I deal with is not a lack of ideas but rather distilling and choosing from the plethora of ideas that fill my head.

So this morning, I asked one of my three brothers, Jack Uldrich, if he had any requests for my writing this week.

Jack and I (along with everyone else in my family) are lovers and writers of poetry. So when I put it out there that I was taking suggestions, Jack didn’t hesitate. He texted back that he’d like to hear me riff on Emily Dickinson’s line:

I dwell in Possibility

Those four words alone are so rich — within that wee wordscape, Dickinson unleashed a complete validation of daydreaming, playing, and just plain old hanging out for anyone who ever came across them.

Whether I’m coaching or creating, Possibility is where I spend a great deal of my time. I make it a point to ponder what’s possible, and when it’s ripe, pluck it like fruit and begin the process of fermenting something I intend to be delicious for my audiences.

In a recent article by Mark Carter written for the HBR entitled Tap into your Creative Genius, Carter recommends a few ways of practicing “Dwelling in Possibility.” It’s a great quick read, and it covers some salient ways to start:

1. Practice “divergent thinking.”

2. Infuse your day with time to play. (Yes, solitaire and Rubik’s cubes do count as forms of play, in case you were wondering, although I myself would advocate doing either of them outdoors…)

3. Disrupt your regular schedule — in other words: Do something Different.

I love all of these recommendations. A great many coaches and facilitators infuse these notions into their training to keep executives engaged and open them up to a more creative approach to learning and work in general.

That said, what I want to focus on here is not necessarily the tactics of how to Dwell in Possibility but rather granting yourself permission to dwell there in the first place.

For many, the mere idea of dwelling, meandering, or lacking any obvious productivity is abhorrent. (O the guilt!)

And that is where I want to encourage a paradigm shift: What if you could be happier at work? What if in, addition to the problem-solving many of you reading this do for a living— you also learned to innovate, ideate, and develop greater empathy and connection with others? What if you started doing the things you really wanted to be doing instead of only those you felt obligated to do?

I am here to tell you — it’s Possible.

First, you must allow it to take place.

This is where I will circle back to my brother Jack. (He had no idea in asking me to write on this topic that I would make him an integral part of the article, and I swear he has not paid me for the following statements I am about to make…)

Jack has spent years billing himself as a Futurist. Nowadays, he’s referring to himself as “an author, poet, and seeker.”

I firmly believe that title change came about because he spent years teaching others to dwell in possibility. Since 2013 he has been actively encouraging the myriad of organizations and leaders he works with to take what he calls a Think Week. An entire week where one did nothing but dwell in possibility.

I was once told, “We teach what we ourselves need to learn,” and I believe that Jack’s case it’s true. In essence, Jack took his own teaching on taking think weeks — what in my mind are merely radical proclamations to dwell in possibility — and his life is, in turn, full of possibilities.

He advocated for others to take time to ponder life’s potential, and, finally, when the time was ripe — he granted himself permission to do it. It’s a wondrous thing to behold; my brother, mentor, and friend unleash his innate creative genius.

His actions bring to mind the words of Arundhati Roy’s beautiful, “The pandemic is a portal.”

I believe Jack has chosen to step through that portal. Both valiantly walking and sometimes stumbling — making his way day by day through “the gateway between this world and the next.” He is doing his best to “shed his prejudices and hatred, avarice, old data banks, and dead ideas.” He’s now dedicating his life to “cleaning up dying rivers and smoky skies” so that future generations of humans will be able to behold the glory of monarch butterflies. He is doing his utmost to “walk lightly, with little luggage.” He’s able to do so because he has spent years imagining and preaching to corporations about the possibilities of another world.

And here’s the deal; you can do it too.

I am not saying it’s easy, and it may not be the path forward for everyone taking the time to read this, but if you’ve ever felt some stirring, a desire to be, or do something else, I urge you to start taking time, what some may even deem unabashedly self-absorbed time to dwell in possibility. Even if it’s by taking a mere 5 minutes to yourself every morning to watch the sunrise “one ribbon at a time.”

The end product of such rigor? Well, as Emily Dickinson promises in her poem:

Paradise.

Catherine Glynn is the CEO and Lead Executive Coach at Voce Veritas, The Founder of A.R.T. (Audacious Raw Theater), and is in the process of becoming a far more disciplined writer. Look for her upcoming book Leadership Distilled in the Spring of 2021.

--

--

--

Founder and CEO of Voce Veritas and Artistic Director of A.R.T. (Audacious Raw Theater). Putting poetry in motion and developing visionaries on the verge…

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Medium Has a Weird Relationship with Creative Writing

How Creativity Can Save Your Life

The Picasso and The Einstein in My Head, or How I Became an Artist

Anna Szabo about left and right brain — creativity vs efficiency

3 Classic Books I Wish I’d Read Earlier

Creativity and Innovation

The Space Between the Mountains

9 Websites That Improved My Writing Skills in 2020

How to create more time for your art

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Catherine Glynn

Catherine Glynn

Founder and CEO of Voce Veritas and Artistic Director of A.R.T. (Audacious Raw Theater). Putting poetry in motion and developing visionaries on the verge…

More from Medium

Space Control Chimed — a Poem

Hells medieval French Angel: Francois Villon, the catholic poet from the gallows.

Difficult Season

Difficult Season — Poetry — Headless Now — Misty’s View — Moca McCarty Photo