The Courage To Dream Again

(adapted from a letter to a friend)

Return, Fear, and The Nature of True Dreams.

* * * * *

1. RETURN: Return to whatever dream, if it happened, would fill you up, and make you happy. But really imagine it happening. Is it the work that makes you happy in and of itself, or is it the recognition, the pay-off? What work makes you happy, all by itself? What feels good? If we don’t know what that is, that’s ok. At least we’re opening the door of wonder, to find out.

2. FEAR: We’re afraid to try again because we’re looking at it wrong. Let’s say you starred in your own film, won an Oscar, and I won a Pulitzer for my stuff. Now what? Pressure’s on. Are you a one hit wonder? Am I? There are expectations now. Let’s say we get a few successes, get used to that, but what then? Will it be a lifelong success, or will we fall out of fashion? Become has-beens? Is that less terrifying than being a never-was?

You and I are wrong to think our dreams are broken because our last efforts didn’t turn out the way we’d hoped. There is no finish line, no Destination except this moment; no ending point, except our last breath. Every time we try and hope for something, its always going to be the same risk. Doesn’t matter if the last thing failed or succeeded. The next thing will be just as risky. The same is true for everyone who tries for a dream, at any time at any age.

3. THE NATURE OF TRUE DREAMS: If our dreams are age restrictive, they’re not true dreams. You wanted to be an A-list actor before you were 30, and I wanted my novel to be a best-seller by that time. The reason these dreams weren’t real, is they had a finishline, a delusion disguised as hope that said, “When I hit THIS I’ve made it!

But like the #2 Fear paragraph says, there is no “made it!” No finishline that makes everything great, forever. Success can even increase pressure and fear. So if we still want those same things, if those really are our dreams, we need to change them up in our minds to be True Dreams. A true actor’s dream might be: I’m going to give my all to be the best actor I can be; I will devote the rest of my life to improving my craft to give all that I can.

Who can take that dream away? Who can stop us from doing that at any age? That is a dream independent of circumstance and industry, reliant only upon our Devotion. That is a lifelong mission statement. With that lifelong mission statement, whether failure or success comes, it won’t derail us.

Both success and failure are great at derailing dreamers. Look how many die at the top. Even if success lasted the rest of your life or mine, the fulfillment it brought would leave, unless the work is fulfilling, in and of itself, which takes us back to paragraph #1 RETURN.

That’s why we need to define that True dream, the work that is fulfilling all by itself, and that lifelong mission statement, that is independent of success and failure.

Success and Failure are ripples on a pond. But the True Dream, the Lifelong Mission Statement, is the Pond. We need the pond, not the ripples that come and go.

dream-quotes1

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The Unseen Disadvantage

THE RACE 

The first runner is 100 feet ahead of almost everyone 

but the second runner is very close behind him

The third runner is 50 feet behind the first two

The last runner is a shocking 100 feet the behind the first two. 

*

Now a loudspeaker comes on revealing 

there is one last runner who has not even appeared on the horizon yet. 

An aerial view is offered of the running course, 

We now see each of the runners had a different starting point. 

*

And now we see the runner who has not yet appeared on the horizon.

The distance he has had to cross is incomparably longer

than any other runner in the race.

*

Though he is not yet in sight on the horizon, 

this view reveals 

the last runner to be miraculous. 

The greater distance he has traveled is now witnessed.

His endurance, perseverance, and relentless striving 

to conquer the disadvantage 

has revealed the true victor.  

The crowd cheers, reveling in his achievement. 

But he can’t hear them or see them. 

The distance is too great. 

He is looking ahead for the runners he can’t catch up to. 

He feels his race is lost, and begins to despair. 

*  *  *  *  * 

We can’t know another’s journey by watching the finish line. 

If we can’t see the whole picture, 

we can’t know who is in the lead, and who is falling behind

“The 10,000 things rise and fall without cease.” Lao Tzu. 

*

When we see our neighbor who lives on the street

We can consider his unseen disadvantage 

that has led to the disadvantage we can see.

Compassion may replace short-sighted judgment.

*

When we see someone doing so well 

that our own life suddenly seems insignificant

We can consider the distance 

that we have traveled

both within and externally.

*

And if after consideration

we find no justification

for the lack of tantamount achievement in our own life,  

let’s not allow comparison to the well-doer to become self annihilation. 

Let’s allow the comparison to inspire the fire to Strive; 

that it may be received with empowering Gratitude 

and never the obstacle of resentment. 

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A Love Letter

Someone I love was in suffering.

I wrote him a letter.

He placed it where he could see it daily.

He said it helped him.

I am sharing this letter here.

Maybe it will be of use to you.

The approach is always useful to me.

It is based in the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.

* * * * * * * * * * *

My Dearest,

I’m so very sorry to hear you are struggling with things.

I believe in you and I have a suggestion.

Hanh says in practice, we can bring happiness to ANY moment.

Take the time to tend to yours, please.

Stop and take 20, just to breathe with an uplifting mantra,

with DEVOTION.

Check out of your life and into your breath.

Breathing in, I feel Calm.

Breathing out, I Smile.

Breathing in, Dwelling in this Present Moment

Breathing out, I Know this is a wonderful Moment.

(One of Hanh’s.)

Reversal mantras too, are an instant turn around.

Take the issue that is bringing you difficulty;

if it is prosperity for example:

Breathing in, I am Completely Relaxed.

Breathing out, I am earning well doing what I most love!

This practice can be called on to bring peace and a healing mindset for any life challenge.

There are two forms of prayer: supplication and affirmation.

When you affirm what you wish as if it has already happened,

that is a powerful prayer.

When you plead for circumstances to be different,

you affirm your deliverance has not happened.

I think this is why the sansrkit chants are celebratory.

* * * * * * * * * * *

These are the times to lean on your practice.

You have a mala. Put it to use.

Its what it is around your neck for, Darling. : )

I love you so very much.

You have a Universe to turn to.

Don’t carry it all yourself, ok?

 

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Bryant and the Chicken Lady

I love my neighborhood.

I feel safe walking at night.

I went up to the local drugstore,

open 24 hours,

and saw Bryant again,

a man on the street

I met around Thanksgiving.

He said, “I remember you!

You gave me a whole cooked chicken!

Man, that was good!”

I said, “I know,

I got one for me too.”

He was chilled and shivering,

nose was running,

but smiling

with his kind eyes.

I asked if he needed anything,

He said, “No, I’m fine.”

I asked “Are you sure?”

He said,

“Yeah, I’m great no worries.”

I asked if he’d be in the parking lot when I came out.

He said ‘Yes.’

I got some cash when I checked out

and went out to give it to him.

I laughed out loud when I saw

a line,

a little line of people,

waiting,

to give Bryant money.

Ha!

And we were all waiting,

because when someone helps Bryant,

Bryant wants to take the time

to make each one of us

feel appreciated.

Then a man comes out of the market.

He told us we were idiots!

He said,

“This guy is just cleaning up!”

“Get a job!” he yelled at Bryant.

I was last in line,

nearest to the grouch,

and he said to me as he walked off,

“You know he’s taking all of you, don’t you?”

And I said, “No.

He’s giving to all of us.

We’re all just running one more errand in a day

and Bryant gives us the chance

to feel like we’re giving something

that means something

to someone.

He remembers each one of us,

He gives us his kindness,

and

best of all,

he makes each one of us

feel appreciated.

When have you bought so much

for a couple of bucks?”

I’d like to say I reached this cranky man,

and he joined us in line, 

But that didn’t happen.

I did however,

get a little round of applause,

from we who found it worth the wait

and the spare change,

to feel we gave something meaningful,

to be remembered,

to receive such kindness

from our neighbor temporarily without a home,

and best of all,

to feel

our presence mattered today.

Thank you, Bryant.

If

you

ask

me,

you’re not charging enough!

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The Hour Of The Changing Light

She teaches me

how fast it all goes,

how to savor This.

Were it not for Her

I may have spent life

not living,

only doing,

fretting and frittering

my fading hours away

in endless to-do’s

and

never

ever

ever

be.

 *

She makes me feel

a soft yet horribly deep sorrow

at the time I’ve lost

within the false state:

Alive, but not recognizing Life! 

The state of unreason

cultures are built upon.

*

She reminds me to honor

in Sacred Devotion and Gratitude

The setting Sun,

sacred in its own right,

and all it represents:

All that Enters and gives Life,

then leaves us alone in Night,

to softly find a way back in,

to lure us into Light again.

*

The cycles of Life,

of Light

of Love,

The cycles of All Creation.

*

All this She Teaches

in Her sensual adieu

To the God of The Golden Orange Light,

whose Emergence and Disappearance

Form the Magic Hour

Where yin and yang kiss,

And become one another,

And the veil between

fades to naught.

*

The realm of opposites join here:

Ra to Luna.

Birth to Death.

Light to Dark.

God to Man,

The hour in which we may

 whisper to Spirits,

And Spirits may whisper

Sacred Truths to us.

 *

She devotes Herself

to Ra’s egress

with all Her Western faces.

Her delicate, graceful fingers,

gently caressing even the last fleeting trace

of precious fading Light.

*

I feel Her yearning, reaching,

even unto the last dying sunbeam.

So glorious, to see a Tree in Prayer!

So glorious to be aware!

So glorious to have Eyes that See,

 if only in shared sunsets,

in which She helps me enter,

The Sacred Awareness.

*

She awakens me

through gentleness

through delicacy,

That I may see with Pure eyes.

*

She lures my Awareness

 into the most subtle aspects of Her Grace

That I may recognize within myself,

all I am drawn to in Her.

In the breath, in the poise, in the fingers,

in the step, in the balance, in the motion,

in the gentleness and the delicacy,

the busy noise of mind can fade

that I may discover

even the to-do’s

are better achieved

When lost in the gentleness and grace of the doing.

*

My Great Teacher,

What greater lesson could be taught,

than how to be Alive in Life?

*

Magic things happen

through the Sacred Awareness,

In the Hour of the Changing Light.

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Light

Today I was blessed to meet my neighbor-without-a-home, Bryant, and give him a whole cooked chicken and three Christmas cookies. (I ate the other three.) They say money can’t buy happiness, but a few dollars bought me SO MUCH HAPPY!!! : )

Tonight The Voice asked:

What Light do you want to Shine on the world?

I don’t mean information.

What does this Light look like?

What Feelings Awaken, in you, and in all who Experience this Light?

Does this LIght make you terribly Happy?

Does it make your Eyes Shine?

Does this Light Elevate those around You?

When is the last time you Jumped for Joy?

Is this Light your Magic Play, in your own Way?

Always ask and never answer.

To answer is to close the door

on the Beauty of your Child’s Wonder.

Never replace WONDER with explanation, justification, serious grown-up hiding places.

Be Pure, Innocent, Natural, without Guile

LOVE!

Be Open and share your Blessings.

Remember how that made you feel.

Be as a little child

As your Great Teacher commanded.

Never know.

Always Wonder!

It is in Wonder,

That this Light Will Shine Through

And you will be You.

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My Littlest Spirit Guide

Outside my window, off my balcony, is a big bushy tree with beautiful orange flowers, tons of them. When the setting sun hits them, they are even more beautiful. The hummingbirds that frolic, fight, and fly about the tree seem to have a ritual in the time just before sunset. They are exceptionally tiny creatures with orange breasts, many the size of a bumblebee. I watch them every dusk and I know their patterns.

Having very recently separated from a nine year relationship, and only now realizing I have unprocessed grief, these tiny friends have been a great comfort.

I began to notice hummingbirds years ago, after my mother died. The day she died, one flew up and down directly outside my front window incessantly. Quite a show. I was sad, and not wanting the distraction. Rather than close the drapes, I went to a room in the back of the house. I opened the blinds, and there was another hummingbird, or the same one, flying up and down in that same crazy way. Both times this happened, I had the absurd feeling that the bird was  trying very hard to get my attention.

What was going on? At that point, I wondered if there was truth to the multicultural, multi century belief in Spirit Animals. It seemed to be saying, “Look how happy I am! Look how free I am!” Then I felt a sudden chill, and the thought came that this felt like a message from my mother.

Tonight, I’m wondering about Spirit Animals again.

My ritual in my new apartment, is to go out on my balcony every night at seven pm and watch the hummingbirds on the flowers as the sun sets. It is usually a happy time. But tonight, I felt sad. My ex (very recently separated) is meeting an online romance on this night, who is quite probably the new love. The sorrow came on very suddenly. I thought I was past that, and wasn’t at all sure why I cared so.

I decided to go back indoors. If I were to weep I would not wish be seen. But then I noticed something different. One hummingbird was not flying about. It was on a wire, the nearest one to me, directly across from me, looking in my direction. All the other little birds flew about gracefully and/or fiercely, but this one did not move. If a fierce hummingbird chased it away, it would flit up for a moment, and come right back to the same spot. It just perched right across from me, looking in my direction.

Instead of going indoors, I decided to consent to the stare-down with the little one, and I thought, I’ll sit here till the sun leaves the flowers, and all the birds go to their hideaway, as they do every night. And the sun did leave, and all the hummingbirds flew away, except this one. It remained. Directly in front of me. Did not move. At that point, I remembered the experience with my mother, and began to wonder about this little bird.

The beautiful album Anahat, by Bachan Kaur was softly playing through the window. I hadn’t noticed the music, until these words came drifting into the beginning night.

Don’t look back, open your heart
right now, is the perfect time to start
you don’t have to try, just let your self go
don’t ask why, ’cause you already know

The timing felt meant. A message to heed. At that point I knew it was time to let go, of this sunset and the past. I did let go. Then I stood up, and I bowed to my Littlest Spirit Guide, still on the wire, still staring my way, and it still did not move. As I closed the door upon the evening, I looked a final time at this little friend, and from this hummingbird I felt, “I’m not leaving you. I’m watching over you.”

How very welcome and timely.

Afterwards:

I came inside and looked up the Hummingbird as a Spirit Animal. These were the first words I found regarding the Hummingbird’s meaning in one’s life.

1. The hummingbird reminds you that you are missing the joy and sweet nectar of life by your narrow focus.

2. It might just be your departed loved one telling you that she’s watching over you so try to cheer up!

3. The Hummingbird is there to add Playfulness to your daily grind!

4. When dealing with challenges or negativity, call on the Hummingbird to bring you a positive outlook, and find your way out with optimism. 

I will, Little Friend. Thank you, muchly. I’d kiss you if I could! : )