A friend who’d been involved with making a documentary film got interested in my running regime. We shot a video one fine day last October. It’s short: 7:15. Go ahead, we’ll wait while you watch it.
The video begins with me challenging our conventional notions of what’s possible and what’s not. “Impossible is just a label we put on things,” I say. “It’s state of mind. There are people doing impossible things everyday. I think it’s time we all stop believing in impossible.”
The idea that “impossible” might not be hack-proof was first embedded in me at a Cirque du Soleil show called Varekai, which premiered a year and a half after 9-11.The Varekai story is loosely based on the Icarus myth: the manmade wings and failed flight too close to the sun, the familiar parable of the human race outstripping its own aspirations and crashing down in its pride.
Yes, humans can’t fly like birds; we all know that. But Varekai went beyond the myth and ended in triumph. Pride was forgiven, love and courage restored the fallen, and the joy of aspiration and the magic of the dream were reclaimed. The impossible became possible.
Dominic Champagne, writer and director of Varekai, began his program notes with these words:
|Puisque les temps sont fous||Since these are crazy times|
|Et que nous avons le devoir||And it is our duty|
|De ne pas abandonner le monde||To not surrender the world|
|Aux main des nullités||Into the hands of fools|
|Je fais le vœu que ce spectacle soit pour vous||I wish that this show may be for you|
|Comme il a été pour moi||As it has been for me|
|Une célébration||A celebration|
|De la rencontre des fraternités||Of the coming together of friends|
|Et de la joie des dépassements||And of the joy of challenging limits|
|Pour dire au monde||In order to tell the world|
|Que quelque chose d’autre est possible||That something else is possible|
I put those program notes in a frame that still hangs on my wall. I live them everyday. They inspire me, keep me centered, keep reminding me that something else is possible.
We want things that appear to be impossible. Maybe they aren’t. Maybe the only reason they’re impossible is because we haven’t done them yet. Okay, so we ran a search of our brain’s memory data base and it came up “no match found.” No big deal. That doesn’t mean what we want is impossible on some grand cosmic level; maybe it’s a possibility waiting for us to make it happen.
I feel that way about my personal impossible of overcoming MS with exercise. I’m sure the other people in the video felt that way about their impossibles, too. And yet they did them, just like I intend to do mine.
The video ends with a series of questions: How about you? What’s your impossible? What would you be like if you did it? What would our world be like?
If you haven’t done it yet, go ahead and watch the video now. You’ll be inspired, I promise.
To be continued.