Inside the Brookfield building in downtown Toronto. Architecture transformed by possibility.

Back at work and finding the routine hard to get back into. Does everyone else share the same feelings of being stuck sometimes. Motivation seems to find it’s own path, that at the moment, appears to myself as divergence. Meditating through the ups and downs has helped to at least direct my attention to what’s happening. It’s not a bad thing; it just is. Motivated or not, it just is. Having finished up Susan Gillis Chapman’s book The Five Keys to Mindful Communication, which I hope to cover at a later time, I picked up The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.  A breathe of fresh air.  Possibility.

I love how a book can shift our focus; a few words can lift our eyes up and point us in the right direction, or at least it does for me. This stuck feeling catches up to us, and yet for me, a book can quickly flush out those feelings and help readjust the course.  I’m not even sure how to describe this book yet; I’m only three chapters in. A perspective on how to think about life. Understanding that our perception and world around us is invented and the mindset we carry with us is a function of that invention. New story? Not at all. Sometimes it’s nice to read through a book like this to remind ourselves to stay the course.  That stuck feeling is an invention in our own mind. In fact, I haven’t changed anything. My mind invented the story that I was somehow stuck and I believed it. It happens to us all. I’m still digesting this one, and want to finish it off before writing more fully on it, but I’d like to leave this story here as a reminder of what leadership looks like, not coming from the top, but from the back seat as the Zander’s like to put it:

“The legendary Kolisch Quartet had the singular distinction of playing its entire repertoire from memory, including the impossibly complex modern work of Schoenberg, Webern, Bartok, and Berg. Eugene Lehner was the violist for the quartet in the 1930s. Lehner’s stories about their remarkable performances often included a hair-raising moment when one player or another had a memory slip. Although he relished the rapport that developed between them without the encumbrance of a music stand, he admits there was hardly a concert in which some mistake did not mar the performance. The alertness, presence, and attention required of the players in every performance is hard to fathom, but in one concert an event occurred that surpassed their ordinary brinkmanship.

In the middle of the slow movement of Beethoven’s String Quartet op. 95, just before his big solo, Lehner suddenly had an inexplicable emory lapse, in a place where his memory had never failed him before. He literally blacked out. But the audience heard Opus 95 as it was meant to be played, the viola solo sounding in all its richness. Even the first violinist, Rudolph Kolisch, and cellist, Bennar Heifetz, both with their eyes closed and deeply absorbed in the music, were unaware that Lehner had dropped out. The second violinist, Felix Khuner, was playing Lehner’s melody, coming in without missing a beat at the viola’s designated entrance, the notes perfectly in tune and Lehner was stunned, and offstage after the performance asked Khuner how he could have possibly known to play. Khuner answered with a shrug: “I could see that your finger was poised over the wrong string, so I knew you must have forgotten what came next.””   -p. 77, Leading From Any Chair

Amazing! I had chills reading this. Mindfulness, and being present, personified in a story about a second chair violinist completely in the moment recognizing something as subtle as fingers being poised over the wrong strings. This book isn’t about mindfulness, but perhaps I’m more attuned to seeing the links now that I’ve immersed myself in it. The stories in a lot of these types of books follow the same lines of action. The Zander’s have written a remarkable piece of work here and I’m excited to read on.

We, as humans, have the amazing ability to perceive so many different things if we trust ourselves to do so and this is a perfect example. Being present with life, and trusting your own ability to perceive life as it happens, is a key ingredient to being successful in any endeavour. We can all be leaders, regardless of where we might be sitting, based on our actions and trusting ourselves to act.









3 thoughts on “Possibility

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