Let’s spark


Wait, what? You stepped into a universe of possibility, dreamed hugely, asked another to join you — to participate somehow in this dream — and they said “no?”

“A ‘no’ can so often dampen our fire in the world of the downward spiral. It can seem like a permanent, implacable barrier that presents us with limited choices: to attack, to manipulate our way around it, or to bow to it in defeat. In other words, a ‘no’ can seem like a door slamming instead of merely an instance of the way things are. Yet were we to take a ‘no’ less personally, and ourselves less seriously, we might hear something else. We might hear someone saying ‘I don’t see any new possibility here, so I think I’ll stick with my usual way of doing things.’ We might hear within the word ‘no’ an invitation for [__¤___].”

~ Rosamund Stone and Ben Zander,  The Art of Possibility, Chapter 9

I am using [__¤___] as a stand-in for a rather dry word that describes a juicy concept. I am hoping that you’ll send me YOUR idea of a fitting word in the comment section at the end of this post or in an email. [__¤___] is NOT the same as persuading someone to do something. As the Zanders say:

“Persuasion is typically used to get the thing you want, whether or not it is at someone else’s expense. Persuasion works fine when the other person’s agenda matches yours or when the transaction somehow benefits them as well…”


“The practice of [__¤__], on the other hand, is about generating possibility and lighting its spark in others… a spark of possibility to share.”

“¡Chispa!” is my favorite Spanish word — spark! — one to which I’ve given inordinate attention in the last six months. And now my assigned chapter in our blog-hopping-coaches-book-club uses this word, albeit in English, a gazillion times. A coincidence? More like una coincidenza — which is my favorite Italian word! — pronounced “co-in-chee-DEN-za” and meaning not coincidence but connection. Beautiful, yes?

Even more coincidentally, AND coincidenzamente, I myself recently ran smack into a painful “no” around what felt like a glorious spark. This Chapter 9 stuff made me look at what/how I had been offering and re-frame that “no.” Because, sure enough, that ‘no” left me wanting “to attack, to manipulate [my] way around it, or to bow to it in defeat.” Okay, maybe even I succumbed to one or more of those temptations. But what’s the alternative? How does one go about [__¤___]’ing?

Begin with a “… step into a universe of possibility — the only place from which you can [__¤___] other people,” say the Zanders. It’s not that mindset from which you are measuring success with set standards and overcoming obstacles to get there. It’s where you are thriving, generative, integrating, imagining, inventing, “speaking with the awareness that language creates categories of meaning that open up new worlds to explore,” connecting, letting life unfold, seeing life as “variety, pattern, and shimmering movement, inviting us in every moment to engage.” Doesn’t that feel amazing just even to contemplate?! Then:

“1. Imagine that people are an invitation for [__¤___].

2. Stand ready to participate, willing to be moved and inspired.

3. Offer that which lights you up.

4. Have no doubt that others are eager to catch the spark.”

 Remember that “passion rather than fear is the igniting force. Abundance, rather than scarcity, is the context.” Within that context, “we have at our fingertips infinite capacity to light a spark of possibility.”

Of course, there’s no guarantee our passion will get us the exact “yes”  from the exact person for the exact thing we have in mind. Considering some such specific desired outcome of ours to be “the measure of success” does not — as I discovered — leave us feeling part of a universe of possibility. Nor does it feel free to others.

Instead we can and will by definition engage our own selves in passion and chispas and therefore joy, possibility, and — most importantly to me — a  full living of life. What Joseph Campbell described as “the rapture of being alive.” What the Zanders describe as the vitality of one’s life force:

“The life force for humankind is, perhaps, nothing more or less than the passionate energy to connect, express, and communicate. [__¤___] is that life force at work, lighting sparks from person to person, scattering light in all directions. Sometimes the sparks ignite a blaze; sometimes they pass quietly, magically, almost imperceptibly, from one to another.”

So, what do you think of the four steps above? Are they all necessary? Which one do you like best? Which one do you forget? If we can’t get ourselves into the “universe of possibility” vibe FIRST, then what? I and the other blog-hopping-coaches-book-club coaches want to know what YOU think and experience!

All love, chispas, and bella coincidenza,

BetsyThat's us!

Our “On the Same page” blog hoppers, clockwise from upper left: me, Kayce Hughlett, Amy Steindler, and our founder, Kanesha Baynard

This entry was posted in Heartbreak, On the Same Page: "The Art of Possibility" by Rosamund and Ben Zander, Picked up by the Wayfinder Post!. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Let’s spark

  1. hatt says:

    As a hospital chaplain making “cold calls,” ie. visiting a patient’s room. introducing myself and asking if I may be of service, I learned “no” did not equal rejection. Often, in that context, it meant, “I need more time to trust you,” or “I’m feeling ok today and will be going home soon,” or “You are the only person I can say no to in this whole nasty experience, so nonono.” It was no reflection on what I had to offer. And once I learned that, it freed me to play with how I approached the process.. I learned to communicate using my whole body and being. Slowing down to give time to the other person, conveying openness through my posture, connecting with joy in my eyes. I got fewer nos and even when I got them they encompassed more connection, more healing opportunity. I now find most interactions with other people/beings to be an expression of love. And for me increasingly love is magic. So the word i would use to fill in your [symbol] is magic. love to you dearheart.

  2. Betsy says:

    Hatt, your words and experience are beyond beautiful… into love… magic. Truly magic. Thank you so so so so much.

  3. Melissa says:

    [__¤___] = Inspiration, as in 1) a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation, and 2) the drawing of air into the lungs. Ahhhh!

  4. Betsy says:

    Weirdly, I spent the morning musing and writing about inspiration. I kid you not. Seriously. Your comment feels like a sign:) Ahhhhhhh for sure!!! Thank you Miss Melissa.

  5. i love this post, betsy… and hatt’s comments are absolutely delicious… i definitely feel sparked!!!

  6. me again… if i were to “fill in the blank,” i would use “invitation”… i tried it with step #1 and i do think it works (even though/maybe especially because) it’s repetitive. “Imagine people are an invitation to invitation/invite.” Yes… that imagining is essential.

    Step #2? Standing ready? Yes… i believe it’s essential, too… and #3? How can we truly offer what does not light us up? Believe me, i’ve tried and the results usually aren’t very pretty 😉
    #4 – gets a little tricky for me, because it borders on being an “expectation” and those always get me in trouble… also, i don’t really believe it. not everyone will like my particular brand of “spark”… perhaps if i changed it around a little to having no doubt that the people who are ready and willing to catch my spark will. ahhh… that feels better.

    thanks for putting this all so brilliantly {pun intended}!! xoxo

  7. Betsy says:

    Ooh – juicy, Kayce. I do love “invitation.” And I agree with you about #4…. feels like a departure from the whole rest of the deal without the change you made. Thank you. X

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s