T. Thorn Coyle’s “Kissing the Limitless” comes highly recommended and I approach it with a mixture of big expectations and fear of disappointment. Big expectations because I really like Thorn’s other work that I’ve read, and fear because I really want a book right now that will smack me around a little and give some real help, and I don’t think it’s all that fair to put all that on one little book. Chapter One, “Discovering Possibility” was not at all disappointing because it gave me exactly that smack I needed.
There wasn’t anything in this first chapter that was new or revelatory or anything. It’s all stuff I already know, but it’s also exactly what I needed to hear. Chapter One is a challenge. The goal set out is understanding of the self, what Thorn calls “self-possession.” Thorn wants us to find and fully possess ourselves. This is helpful to me right now as until recently I thought of myself as completely self-possessed. My latest crisis has knocked that out from under me as I find myself flailing around unanchored, unsure of what I actually want, where I am headed, and who I really am. I knew it would be hard, but I had no idea that it was possible for me to be this bowled-over by anything anymore. If I had read this book even a few months ago, I probably wouldn’t have been nearly as pulled in by the first chapter because I would have thought that the work she was describing is not work I need to do. But suddenly I’m knocked off my pins, and here’s Thorn, reminding me that full possession of my soul is ongoing work.
I found the most useful part of this chapter, for me right now, is the last section on “Cultivating Practice.” I’ve really fallen away from my practice in the past few weeks. Again, there’s nothing that is new to me in what she says in this part, but I still needed to read it. One of the things that has occurred to me is that I have an unusual opportunity right now. My old life is gone, at least for a while, and I am so anchorless right now because I have lost my habits and the structure of my days. But this is an opportunity to create a new structure. I can wallow in shock and sorrow and numb myself with alcohol and ice cream and Torchwood DVD’s, or I can take some control and exercise some discipline and create new and better habits for myself. As always, my life is what I make it, and with discipline I really can do the Great Work. And right now I have some big opportunities to shake things up and make some needed changes.