Why and how to believe for the impossible

Upon discovering that I left my heart in Bend, Oregon, I wrote this goal: “Relocate back.” The only [huge] problem is that affordable housing and Bend, Oregon aren’t synonymous.

Word gets around, though, and I am currently in a lovely guest house high on the side of a hill. With my own deck and sweeping views. For pennies. I know, impossible.


1 a3j-impossible


I’d also like to supplement my cancer widow income with writing income. Do you know how improbable it is to break into today’s publishing world? And so I’ve listed some specific writing goals. And I’m currently hoping for, believing in and working toward the impossible.

Why is it important to have goals and a plan?

1. Because most of us long to do things that fit with our unique blend of gifts and abilities; we call this passion.

2. Because nothing grand ever happens without first a vision, without someone seeing it in his/her mind’s eye.

3. Because if we don’t plan for purpose and adventure, then the ordinary-everyday takes over. Because there are jobs to commute to, laundry to do, kids’ soccer games to attend, “Downton Abbey” to watch. Which means there will never be time for a more purposeful life.

4. Because someone needs to accomplish large and foolish things, and it might as well be you and me.

There were a number of things Hubby and I did in an effort to create meaning from cancer. Establishing a non-profit was new to us. Writing for grant funding and booking speaking engagements — these weren’t things we’d ever done before. We were way out of our league. And yet, we persisted toward the goal of bringing hope and encouragement to others dealing with cancer.

Here are a few tips for working toward the impossible:

1. Capture your goals in writing. Writing your goals helps clarify what it is you really want to do. And every time you read back over your list—keep it handy where you can do this daily—it refreshes the vision.

In her book Write it Down, Make It Happen, Henriette Anne Klauser explains how the reticular activating system (RAS) housed at the base of our brain stems evaluates incoming data — sending the urgent to the active part of our brains, and the non-urgent to the subconscious. As Klauser encourages readers to list goals, they then become a suggestion box for our brains:

Keeping track on paper changes the conversation in your own head. It helps you to pay attention, to embellish your ideas, and record your inspirations. It pushes you toward the impossible.

2. Determine first steps. After you’ve written your goals, it’s important to figure out first steps. If you’ve always wanted to volunteer with an international humanitarian group, for example, but you never decided how or with whom, you never applied for a passport, you never scheduled time off … well then, what are your chances of getting off the tarmac?

3. Apply elbow grease. What can you do today, or this week, that moves you toward the goal? Break it down. Roll up your sleeves. And work in the direction of your dreams.

In Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, Alice tells the Queen that one cannot believe impossible things. “There’s no use trying,” Alice says.

To which the Queen replies:

When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

How about you? What do you hope to accomplish in the months remaining of 2015? And beyond? Perhaps you should locate paper and pen—or your laptop—and start writing.

P.S. If you found this blog helpful or interesting, please share, tweet or pin!


The September 22 challenge


Get rid of small-picture thinking


  1. sally

    Marlys I love this! Being a lifelong expert at putting things off, I needed it and it came at a perfect time! Thanks so much! Oh, and your new digs look wonderful!

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