What’s possible now that wasn’t possible before?

Autumn has arrived and, with it, more acorns than I’ve seen in over twenty years in Western North Carolina! They make for great play – cats chase them, children dodge and throw them. They are easily added to any nature mandala. Many can be harvested and, with great labor, enjoyed as nuts or ground into nut flour.

A question that keeps coming into my mind this season – probably from all the great conversations I get to have with my Monthly Mentees – is this: WHAT’S POSSIBLE NOW THAT WASN’T POSSIBLE BEFORE? It’s not a copyrighted question. It’s been asked for eons. But it keeps announcing itself to me throughout my day. I’m paying attention.

In writing, we can write a paragraph or a page, reread it, then ask ourselves: What’s possible now that wasn’t possible before? This can propel plot, inspire innovation, or even just keep us from repeating ourselves.

In partnerships (including friends and four-leggeds), we can ask this question during vulnerable, shared moments. Maybe this means when we and our support-pals are grieving over warfare. Maybe it means when we feel the pulse of anger over attacks on the LGBTQAI+ community. Or maybe when we experience deep calm, even in the form of a single, quiet moment sitting side-by-side with someone dear. During all these times, we can ask: What’s possible now that wasn’t possible before?

This question matters because it helps us connect with whatever is most vital, most alive, in any given moment. I want to see the demands of this world quieting down. I want to see the Earth healing. I want to see gunfire cease. I want children and teachers to be safe in schools. I want to tell my son that all of this is true and possible. But it isn’t, and I can’t.

What I can do is find what’s possible inside of a single day, a single hour, a single word. It might sound abstract, but what I’m trying to get at is the idea that time, thought, and the course of human history do not have to be linear. We can go sideways. We can go up. We can expand. We can feel into something, instead of efforting around it. All we have to do is keep asking what’s possible.

I imagine you saw this coming: Here are your Hit Reply provocations for the month:

  • If you’re a writer, try out the “what’s possible now that wasn’t possible before?” approach that I described at the start of this newsletter. Let me know if you make any discoveries.
  • Where else in your life might it be interesting to explore this question?
  • A close cousin to that question is: How do you invite wonder and discovery into your life?

I’d like to hear about it. I hope you’ll write to me or comment below with your answers to these questions.

Are you on my newsletter list? When you sign up, you’ll get my monthly questions and you’ll also receive the 5 S’s Applied to Story downloadable PDF. I send emails approximately every month with mini craft essays, special notices, early-bird registrations, and announcements for subscribers only. No spam, ever; and your email address is never shared. Sign up here.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.