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The Adjacent Possible On Earth & In The Heavens- Nancy Hillis MD & Bruce Sawhill PhD

The Adjacent Possible On Earth & In The Heavens- Nancy Hillis MD & Bruce Sawhill PhD

Adjacent Possible On Earth & In The Heavens


This is a time of rebirth and renewal, the celebration of possibility, of second chances. Some people know it as Easter or Passover, but it has roots extending far into the unwritten past. A big clue hiding in plain sight is its connection with astronomical events instead of the transience of human-made calendars. 

In 325CE the first major church council, the Council of Nicaea, determined that Easter should fall on the Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox.

They anticipated that reckoning by calendars might change over centuries, and that the concept of a “date” was writ on the shifting sands of time. The Moon, the Earth, and the Sun won’t last forever, either, but it was good enough.

This was an exercise in long-term thinking.


The Adjacent Possible & Now


What better time to think about the adjacent possible than now? 

For the past two years, Bruce and Nancy have been working on a new book. If it took any longer, we would have to reckon time by astronomical means. This book celebrates the power of story and the adjacent possible together, weaving ideas associated with the adjacent possible with stories from artists in our circle who have experienced profound artistic transformation. 

An early “story” about the adjacent possible came from a spontaneous talk given by Bruce at Nancy’s live workshop held in October of 2019 at the 1440 Multiversity just outside of Santa Cruz, California.

It was in those halcyon days when COVID-19 might have stood for some obscure government program, perhaps having to do with tax law or agricultural pests or interstate commerce.

Bruce used a story of learning to surf at a relatively late stage in life to illustrate relevant ideas as recorded in the clip below.


There is something about story that is profoundly human. It is a very effective way of combining information and context to generate meaning (stay tuned for a blog post on this topic!) that is somehow optimized for memory and understanding.

Perhaps our civilization has co-evolved with the idea of story in such a way that language, writing, and story are an integrated structure, as inseparable as the circulatory system, the nervous system, and the skeleton of our bodies. 


Forthcoming Adjacent Possible Book


We have taken advantage of this evolved and fortuitous pairing in our forthcoming book, The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook & Stories of Artistic Transformation.

We believe that the modality of story will make ideas that might otherwise seem abstruse accessible.

And there’s lots of images of artwork in it, generously contributed by the artists themselves. And who doesn’t love a book with pictures!

We never stop being six years old if we give ourselves half a chance.


With gratitude from my studio to yours,

Nancy & Bruce


P.S. Speaking of our forthcoming book- we’d love your help on selecting the cover! Here are the 3 contenders. Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.

The Adjacent Possible Book Cover Contest



Meanwhile, grab your copy of the first book in The Adjacent Possible series- you can get the eBook for only 2.99 for a limited time. 


The Adjacent Possible Book-

The Adjacent Possible Book- Nancy Hillis MD

Here’s what readers are saying about The Adjacent Possible:
⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐ “The best book for artists!” – Amazon review
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Nancy Hillis is a truly stunning mentor – one who really understands the self-doubt and fear that confront many artists.”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Adjacent possibilities are infinite, and each one leads to its own infinity. No wonder this is a best seller!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “”A wonderful opportunity for developing your art, by building your confidence, exploring, and experimenting. I cannot recommend it highly enough.” – Amazon review.”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “As an artist deeply transformed by her insight and teachings, I highly recommend this and her other books. Nancy Hillis is a brilliant art mentor and author.”
A revolutionary method influenced by groundbreaking research in biology and physics to guide you to embrace the unfolding of your art- from bestselling author Nancy Hillis, MD.
Being an artist is about continually evolving your art. It’s about cultivating your fullest self-expression and getting to the elusive deepest work your heart yearns to create.
Learn the science of creativity, the adjacent possible.
Every brushstroke, every decision in your art, creates a set of possible paths that were not only invisible before, but didn’t exist before you made that creative move.
This is the adjacent possible.
👉Click the link or “Learn More” button below to grab your copy today! It’s FREE in Kindle Unlimited or just 2.99 for a limited time!






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