Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 28

EMBRACING

POSSIBILITY
A PRACTICAL GUIDE
TO BRIDGING THE GAP
BETWEEN WHO YOU
ARE AND WHO YOU
WANT TO BE

By Chandler Stevens
Here we are.

You’re here in pursuit of growth, development, and embracing


possibility. Perhaps you’re on the cusp of a big life change. Maybe
you’re ready to feel less “stuck.” You likely sense that there’s a gap
between where you are now and where you want to be.

I’m here to help you make a shift in your life over the course of these
few pages. No small task.

But I’m up for the challenge if you are. My coaching clients have
shown me time and time again that a small shift in perspective can
change everything.

Little changes in the way we see the world around us ripple


throughout our lives.

Bringing awareness to the edges of the box we’ve built for ourselves
lets us draw new boundaries and live more of the life we want.

The journey to becoming the you that you want to be can be daunting.

There are seemingly infinite ways to make progress, and what tends
to happen when faced with infinity is that we simply freeze. We
become paralyzed by information, and we spin our wheels.  

So what do you do when you don't know what to do?

In this guide I’ll walk you through a series of exercises that will help
you redefine the boundaries you live by. We’ll create a new map to
help you get to where you want to be.

There are a few key steps.

First, figure out where you are now. Then determine where you want
to go. After that, identify how you can begin to close the gap.  Let's
dive in.

2 ChandlerStevens.com
WHERE YOU 
ARE NOW
Here’s a question to get the wheels turning…

How do we perceive what’s real?  What are the boundaries we live by,
and what compels us to follow them?

It’s something I’ve been deeply curious about in my work as a somatic


coach.

Very often I find that when someone develops more options for better
movement, they unlock more options for better living. When physical
limitations are addressed, people have an expanded sense of
themselves and of the life they live.

Why is that?

To put it in perspective: right now your body is made from trillions of


cells and trillions of choices you've made over the course of your life.  

You're a complex system with an unparalleled capacity for change and


adaptation.

That's a huge gift, but also a major responsibility. What it means


is...you have a choice. If there’s a change you want to see in your life,
you can make it happen.

However, most of us move through our days on autopilot, half-


heartedly wishing things would change, but not making a change in
ourselves. We hope for a lofty outcome without doing the work
necessary to bring that outcome to life.

Here’s the thing: if we want to change our outcomes, we have to


change our actions. But in order to change our actions, there’s
something else that has to shift...

Somatic educator Moshe Feldenkrais wrote,

"We act in accordance with our self-image."

4 ChandlerStevens.com
"WE ACT IN
ACCORDANCE
WITH OUR SELF-
IMAGE."

-Moshe Feldenkrais
And it couldn't be more true. Our perception of the world and our
perception of ourselves direct the actions that we take each and every
day. Lucky for us: perceptions are flexible. They can change at any
time. It just takes a little bit of awareness.  

Consider the old figure-ground illusions like the one below.

Do you see a vase or a pair of faces?

Can you shift your perception from one to the other?

You’ve likely seen several of these over the course of your life. Once
you see one option you can’t “un-see” it. But until it’s brought to your
awareness it might be difficult to perceive.

This is just one example of possibilities lurking beneath our


perceptions. To get a better grasp it’s helpful to understand...

6 ChandlerStevens.com
Sensation + Perception
There’s a key distinction between sensation and perception. We often
conflate the two, and it becomes really apparent when we explore it
on a physical level. Think of sensation as what we notice:

• Pressure against our heels or pelvis


• Tension in the shoulders
• A cold breeze

And perception as what we think about what we notice, emotional


tinting and all:

• This is uncomfortable
• I can never relax
• Somebody should shut that window  

It’s important to keep in mind a lesson that’s common in the coaching


and therapeutic spaces:

The map is not the territory.

What we perceive isn’t necessarily what’s real.

After all a map is just a representation of a space. It’s an abstraction


with inherent biases and limitations.

If I’m driving from Cincinnati to Chicago and Google maps is giving me


a detailed description of every tree along the road, I’m going to have a
rough time navigating.  

We simplify out of necessity.

The problem comes up when we simplify reality to the point of cut-


and-dry binary options: possible and impossible. Black and white.

7 ChandlerStevens.com
This is the primary value of awareness practices.

When we consciously tune in, we take ourselves out of habitual


autopilot. We create space to question those underlying
simplifications and verify their accuracy.

Without an ongoing awareness practice we continue on autopilot and


conflate sensation and perception. We get further enmeshed in our
default ways of thinking and acting. We stay stuck in our ruts.

There are a couple of practices that are tremendously useful in


distinguishing between sensation and perception, one physical and
one contextual.

Physical Awareness

The first is a body scan. You’ll find a follow-along audio file with this
guide that will talk you through the process.

We use this in a number of somatic modalities to get in touch with our


physical sensations.

I find the most effective place to start is with our weight sense. Where
do you feel weight underneath you? Where do you make contact with
the ground? Are you evenly balanced from one side to the other?

Are there parts of your body that feel uncomfortable? Or any areas
where you notice you are holding in tension?

Are there places that feel distinctly comfortable?

Notice what moves with each breath in and out.

Please note: there is nothing you are “supposed to” sense or feel. What
you notice, you notice. What you don’t, you don’t.

8 ChandlerStevens.com
After you’ve spent a few moments focusing on body awareness, let
your focus expand out to your surroundings.

What can you see in the room around you?

What do you hear? How many different sounds can you pick up on?

What do you feel around you?

What do you smell?

Our brains literally use this sensory information to make sense of the
world around us. Tuning in with awareness helps bring us closer to
what’s really going on.

Contextual Awareness

The other exercise is from the world of Gestalt psychology.

Simply ask yourself: if I were an outside observer looking in on my life


(a bird on the windowsill, for example), what is obvious about the
situation I’m in?

Are the things you say you value reflected in the way you live your
life?

Zoom out and take stock of what is obviously going on around you.
The obvious often flies under the level of our conscious processing,
and we take it for granted.

You might also ask a friend or partner what's obvious about you. We
learn so much about ourselves through relation, and an outside set of
eyes can shed light on new ways to perceive the territory.

After you’ve brought awareness to where you are now, it’s time to
shift focus to where you want to be...

9 ChandlerStevens.com
WHERE YOU
WANT TO BE
Side Note: Permission For Possibility
Movement researcher Jozef Frucek of Fighting Monkey RootlessRoot
said something that has been ringing through my whole being ever
since I first heard it:

“Allow yourself to think that you can recreate whatever is given.”

It's rare that we give ourselves permission to entertain the huge


amount of possibility in our lives.

The rules we live by and the boundaries we accept are often artifacts
of older contexts: 

• We say we can't because we couldn't as children.


• We say we can’t because our parents couldn’t.
• We say we can’t because our peers don’t.
• We say we can’t because we simply won’t.

At any point we have the option to cast those limits aside or improvise
within them. Any constraint is an invitation to creative action if you
choose to see it that way.

You can gift yourself an attitude of possibility.

And when you do, life expands.

Please keep that idea in mind as we move forward...

11 ChandlerStevens.com
"ALLOW
YOURSELF TO
THINK THAT YOU
CAN RECREATE
WHATEVER IS
GIVEN."
-Jozef Frucek
Start With An End In Mind
Notice I say "an," not "the."

Everything about our lives is a process, and there simply won't be a


point where we reach "The End" in a big, dramatic conclusion.

We'll continually find areas of growth and improvement. There will be


new avenues to explore and new connections to make.

But we need to narrow down a direction if we want to make progress.

Put some thought into it, but please don't overthink it.

Give some attention to:

• Who you want to be, and


• What you want to be capable of

For the following exercises it'll be helpful to grab a sheet of paper and
something to write with (or print this out and scribble on it).

Writing is much more effective than typing for these exercises


because it engages our nervous systems in different ways.

1) Why are you reading this right now? What change are you hoping to
make in your life?
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________

13 ChandlerStevens.com
2) And why is that so important to you?
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________

3) How will you feel when you get there?


____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________

14 ChandlerStevens.com
HOW TO BRIDGE
THE GAP
You can choose to grow into that best version of yourself. You can
take the steps to feel like you’re living up to your potential.

But most of us don’t...why is that?

Why is it that so many of us settle for comfortable mediocrity?

Why don’t we act on those yearnings we have for a better life?

Each of us knows there are things we could be doing to close the gap
between where we are and where we want to be. And there are things
we could stop doing that hinder our progress.

But facing--and overcoming--the gap can be scary.

The basic fact is that the "I that I am" and the "I that I am becoming"
simply can't coexist.

You can't stay the same and become something new.

As tempting as it is and as secure as it feels, you can't cling to comfort.


You have to let go of not just habits, behaviors, and routines, but life
as you know it.

And you know this on some level.

Of course you can't live two lives. Something has to give.

But this is the element of growth and change that gets swept under
the rug.  It's the part we don't like to talk about.

It's something we've known about as long as we've been around as a


species because it's deeply embedded in our stories and myths.

I'm talking about...

16 ChandlerStevens.com
Ego Death
The thing we rarely acknowledge on the path to growth and personal
development is the very real phenomenon of ego death.

When you burst through a plateau in life, the "you as you know it"
ceases to exist.

What's left?

You. More of you.

This ego death is a foundational part of our journey to growth. It's


part of the quintessential hero's journey, the trip to the underworld
and back.

And damn it's scary. It takes guts. It takes courage.

Like snakes we have to shed in order to grow. Of course there's an


element of risk, an inherent vulnerability. But fighting that process is
fighting nature itself.

You're going to kill yourself if you don't let yourself grow. It'll slowly
gnaw at you, making you question your day-to-day habits and
routines. You'll stay up at night wondering how things could be. When
will you get out of your own way?

We're unique in the animal kingdom in our capacity to shape the


world around us. We experience life and bend it in new ways, unlike
any other species. Why squander this potential?

Again we return to fear.

For the caveman it's safe in the light of the fire. Venturing beyond it's
glow puts you at risk. But we achieve nothing without risk. While we
crave safety and security, that alone isn't enough...

17 ChandlerStevens.com
You likely feel that yourself.

We crave variety. We crave exploration and expression. We seek out


growth as a natural fact.

When we find a balance between nervous and excited, we thrive and


push past former limits.

And if we’re being really honest: you know what you need to do to get
there. And you know what you need to stop doing.

If you do a bit more of the former and a bit less of the latter, you
transform your life. A couple of exercises can guide the way. 

But before you go into those exercises there's something else you
need to understand.

Your words shape your world.

One element of growth we often underestimate is the role of language


in shaping how we interact with the world. Philosopher Ludwig
Wittgenstein summed it up beautifully:

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”

The words you choose have a massive influence on the life you live.

As you go through the following exercises, please keep in mind: you’re


simply looking for possibilities.

You don’t have to act on any of them, but the truth is there’s far more
possible in your life than you realize.

What we want to avoid at all costs is an attitude of living as if this is


how things are, how they’ve always been, and how they always will be. 

18 ChandlerStevens.com
"THE LIMITS OF
MY LANGUAGE
MEAN THE
LIMITS OF MY
WORLD."
-Ludwig Wittgenstein
Take The Brakes Off
Let's start by taking the brakes off. We'll bring awareness to the things
you’re doing that are holding you back, keeping you spinning your
wheels. Awareness gives you the opportunity to change, but without it
you're stuck.

Ask yourself this: How do I keep myself from getting what I want?

Spend 5-10 minutes writing out any and everything that comes to
mind here.

Staying in a dead end job. Picking your nails. Not sticking to your
movement practice. Keeping your knowledge bottled up. Not sharing
your gift with the world. Staying quiet. Not making your bed. Leaving
the dishes sitting out. Not charging what you’re worth.

Whatever it is, get it written down on paper.


____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
___________________________________________

After 5 minutes of writing you might be faced with a daunting list.


That's ok. You don't need to tackle everything in one fell swoop. In
fact we're going to circle back to that later.

20 ChandlerStevens.com
Build Momentum
Here's the thing. You know what it takes. You have gut inklings of the
things you need to be doing. It's those lingering thoughts that creep in
day after day. It's those visions that keep you up at night.

All it takes is a simple shift to a language of possibility. My favorite


prompt is the phrase “How might…”

It’s pure magic for embracing more possibility and more agency in life.
When you think through responses to “How might…,” you’ll find a slew
of options for new actions you might take.

This creates what somatic educator Moshe Feldenkrais called “the


dignity of choice”. Whether you do those things or not is up to you, but
at least they’re options on the table.

So the next step is to think back to that vision you have of:

• Who you want to be, and


• What you want to be capable of

And ask yourself: how might I get there?

Is it a matter of standing your ground with your boss? Quitting your


job? Setting aside time for movement and meditation? Sharing your
writing? Starting a new business? Leaving a partner?

Spend another 5-10 minutes writing out whatever it is that comes to


mind here.

Don't censor for feasibility.

When first considering “how might”, the important thing is quantity of


ideas first, feasibility second.

21 ChandlerStevens.com
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________

Why do we emphasize quantity over feasibility?

Because you’ll inevitably look at some of the ideas you come up with
and say “I can’t do that.”

It’s interesting to highlight those things we say we can’t do. Often they
reveal untapped opportunities.

Look back over that list and come up with a list of things that seem
impossible, unrealistic, or just not feasible.

Jot a few of them down here.

I Can’t...
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________

22 ChandlerStevens.com
This brings us to our next reframe.  Saying “I can’t…” pretty much
ends the conversation, right?  It puts us into the binary space of
can/can’t.  Possible/impossible.  

What if we changed up our language to from “I can’t” to “I can’t yet”?  

Immediately this simple shift opens new doors.  

It puts our challenge in a timescale.  It brings that obstacle into the
realm of possibility.  

Rewrite a few of those thoughts from above within this new frame.

I Can’t Yet...
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________

23 ChandlerStevens.com
For most people that makes the seemingly impossible at least a bit
less daunting.  It’s a step in the right direction, but it still doesn’t give
us much we can actually do, does it?.  

An even better shift would be from “I can’t” to “I could if.”

Pick 3 of those “I can’t yet” ideas you’d like to explore and reframe
them as “I could if” here.  

For example: I could do a handstand if I dedicated an hour of practice


to it each day.  Or I could quit my job if I cut back on expenses and
hustled my side business.

Get creative here, and try not to censor yourself for silly, impractical,
or difficult choices.

Just let the ideas flow in a stream-of-consciousness style.

I could________________________________________
if____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________

I could________________________________________
if____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________

I could________________________________________
if____________________________________________
____________________________________________
____________________________________________

Seems a bit more reasonable doesn’t it?  

Now you’ve gone from an impossible “can’t” to a very possible “could


if.”  Take a moment to notice how different those two thoughts feel
for you.

24 ChandlerStevens.com
WHERE TO GO
FROM HERE
In theory you now have a framework for how you might proceed
toward becoming the person you want to be.  

1) Stop doing one of the things that you do to hold yourself back.
2) Start doing one of the things that moves you closer to your goal.
3) Rinse, and repeat.

Keep in mind: it doesn't have to be a seismic shift.  

In fact it's better to start small.  Look around and ask: what can I do
right now to make things a tiny bit better?

The aim of a tiny bit better is to inoculate yourself to challenge, to


build momentum in the right direction.  

Doing so gets the wheels turning and creates a positive feedback


loop.

The beauty is that incremental steps often lead to exponential


progress.

The early somatic educator F. M. Alexander stated that "people do not


decide their futures.  They decide their habits, and their habits decide
their futures."

Changing your day-to-day behaviors and habits changes you.  

You become by becoming.

With awareness and intention you can carve out a new life and a new
way of being.  

Remember: incremental steps lead to exponential progress.

It's your turn to change.  The world is waiting.

26 ChandlerStevens.com
"PEOPLE DO NOT
DECIDE THEIR
FUTURES. THEY
DECIDE THEIR
HABITS, AND
THEIR HABITS
DECIDE THEIR
FUTURES."
-F. M. Alexander
About The Author
Chandler Stevens is a somatic coach,
creative facilitator, and movement
specialist.  

He’s the founder of The Soma School,


an international teacher training
program that helps movement
teachers gain a deeper understanding
of the mind-body system through the
field of ecosomatics.  

In his private coaching practice he helps people overcome the


physical, mental, and ecological limitations that keep them from
living the life they want.  

Stay in touch online:

www.ChandlerStevens.com

www.Facebook.com/CoachChandlerStevens

IG: @chandlerthemover

28 ChandlerStevens.com