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)?