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.

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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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Your Glorious Mind

Los Angeles

Runyon Canyon

Gorgeous Hike

Breathtaking Sunset

Awing distant city lights

Far beneath the mountain

*

Yet on that hike

Walking past

Moviestar Beauty,

Shockingly Intense,

So much so,

that these co-hiking humans

appeared to be

 another species entirely,

I found myself slipping into comparison,

and self annihilation arrived.

*

I told my hiking friend,

“I see people so gorgeous

I want to leap off the mountain!”

He laughed and said he felt the same way.

(Did that mean he wanted me to leap off the mountain?)

*

Yet moments later, my outlook changed

when  I happened upon

the most beautiful person on the mountain,

Quite possibly the most beautiful person ever.

His legs were bent in an unusual way,

he walked with two canes,

swaying from side to side,

and he was different from everyone,

because he had the Biggest Truest Smile of All.

*

He was looking around,

at all the people,

at the breath taking views,

and his lit up eyes and awesome smile irradiated,

“Isn’t this GREAT?! 

Isn’t it AMAZING we all 

get to do this?!

LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL EVERYTHING IS!”

*

He was bursting with

Joy, Wonder, Awe & Gratitude!

And as we walked past one another

His Burst of Light

leapt into my Spirit

and I felt as he felt,

whilst in his presence:

ALIVE! 

 *

Einstein once said,

“There are only two ways to live your life,

One is as though nothing is a miracle,

The other as though everything is a miracle.”

*

The most beautiful person on the mountain

saw Miracles

and he taught me to see them as well,

with only his Spirit and his Smile.

I learned from him this day, that:

True Beauty never makes you feel less than.

True Beauty makes you feel

Alive With Gratitude!

And Consumed with Aliveness

the false and fretful fear-driven

comparative little egoic mind,

has not the slightest hope of

of dashing a delightfully lovely day.

*

It  truly takes a Glorious Mind

to appreciate a Glorious Day.

And I thank you truly,

Most Beautiful Person Ever,

 for sharing with me

 Your Glorious Mind,

that birthed the smile

that gave

Such Light!

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Well Doing

When you’re washing the dishes

You’re not just washing the dishes

You’re forming The Doer

In the manner of your Doing.

* * * * * * * * * * *

When you’re watching TV

You’re not just watching TV

You’re forming your Observer

in the manner of your Watching.

* * * * * * * * * * *

When you’re waiting in line

You’re not just waiting in line,

You’re forming your Physical Grace/Composure

in the manner of your waiting.

* * * * * * * * * * *

With Mindfulness in All Things,

All Things Become Sadhana.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Focusing On What You Do

And How You Do

Helps You Do

In All Doing

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