Believe the Impossible: Lessons from Through the Looking Glass

Recently, I’ve felt a little like Alice in Through The Looking Glass–overwhelmed by the quest before her, with only the weirdest threads of wisdom as guidance.

Usually, I can follow the threads and make connections to my real life and motivate myself to keep striving, to keep pushing toward my goals. But lately, I  feel more tired than motivated. More why bother than why not–echoes of my previous thought patterns. 

‘I can’t believe that!‘ said Alice.

‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘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.”

(Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 5)

Then I remembered Alice. She was constantly faced with all kinds of strange obstacles and unknowns. No one seemed to give her a straight answer about anything. Even though the other characters gave her all the answers and resources she needed, at the time, she didn’t have context for that information until after she finished the quest.

Alice was comfortable with the unknown. She encountered the non-sensical world of Wonderland, with its talking animals and took it all in stride.

Alice was open to new experiences. A potion made her shrink. A cake made her grow. But, Alice would never have known that if she didn’t follow the vague “Drink me” and “Eat me” commands.

Alice was the ultimate problem-solver. She would question everything around her, and even when she received riddles for answers, she persisted in asking more questions. Ultimately, she made those answers work for her, bending them to fit her agenda.

And, at least Tim Burton’s reimagining of Alice, her belief in the impossible things that she already knew to be true (talking animals, a potion that can make you shrink, a cake that can make you grow, etc) allowed her to accomplish the (seemingly) impossible feat of slaying the Jabberwock. When Alice returns to her real life, she used that new found strength to leave the life that was expected of her (an arranged marriage and kowtowing to weird relatives), and forged her own path.

Alice’s adventures is yet another reminder that you can’t connect the dots forward, only backward. You don’t get to find out if the path you’re on right now is the right path. You don’t get to know if your decisions are the right decisions. You just have to trust that the choices that resonate the most with your core values are the right choices–that each day is a deliberate step in the path of your own choosing.

 


Have you allowed yourself to believe in the impossible lately? Have you encountered gurus (self-proclaimed or otherwise) that made you question your path? What steps have you taken lately toward your goal(s)?

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10 thoughts on “Believe the Impossible: Lessons from Through the Looking Glass

  1. theliteraryshack says:

    I think I’m going to take this lot with me- “You don’t get to find out if the path you’re on right now is the right path. You don’t get to know if your decisions are the right decisions. You just have to trust that the choices that resonate the most with your core values are the right choices–that each day is a deliberate step in the path of your own choosing”

    Kudos Liza for such giving us such beautiful words of inspiration!

  2. Amanda Olivieri (@xamandaolivieri) says:

    Oh, I absolutely love this. “that each day is a deliberate step in the path of your own choosing.” YES. I was literally just thinking about this this morning. Every day is a choice to do something small that will add up to something big if you’re persistent. Lately, for me, it’s keeping the persistence that’s the hard part. Sometimes it’s tough to remember that the seemingly small and hard stuff you’re doing now will one day be something big and good and worth it 🙂

    • Liza Kane says:

      Yes, these small things will help to fill in the big picture–I just need to remember that I can’t judge my path on other people’s timelines. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. inkspeare says:

    I question my path all the time. I have learned (as you say) that there is no way to know for sure, but keep plugging in and enjoying your present truth, as long as it propels you forward and inspires you. In my experience, the most challenging times have become the most inspiring and lucid moments – maybe this is what I needed to keep going forward and adjust the compass. I’ve also learned that what works for the “gurus” doesn’t necessarily work for me; so I have learned to listen to my “gut” or “silent navigator” rather than measure my progress against the “gurus” stick. In this journey, sometimes the sky is crystal clear, sometimes a bit cloudy, and other times it seems like it will pour down, however, the sun is just right behind the darkest cloud. Wish you well in your writing career and may your sun shine stronger than ever. Blessings 🙂

    • Liza Kane says:

      Thank you so much, and I wish the same for you, too! And, I love that term–silent navigator! I just need to learn that sometimes, turning my ears inward may be more beneficial for me than seeking a guru.

  4. Michele Shaw says:

    I question why i’m doing what I’m doing every single day. Sometimes I want to quit. But I remember what brought me to this place and realize I didn’t choose it. It chose me, and I’m honored to be chosen. So I can’t quit. I won’t. I have to do what what is written in my stars, even on the hard days.

  5. cvaldezmiller says:

    “You just have to trust that the choices that resonate the most with your core values are the right choices–that each day is a deliberate step in the path of your own choosing.”

    I love this. Exactly what I needed to hear today. Well said and very wise.

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