Archive for the ‘Living Your Dream’ Category

glenn-gould1Photo Credit:  toomanynotes.org

      I didn’t even get to know you.  That’s because you died while I was in high school.  I didn’t even know you existed then.    You died a year after a boy I crushed on died. I never had a chance to tell him though; his time ran out first.   He was only 17.   He drove me to school for a year, but he had a problem.  And then life got way ahead of him at too young of an age.  More responsibilities than his young mind was ready for.  And depression, the black hole of the soul drives a person to do what they didn’t think they could do.  Perhaps you generate self-destruction, but perhaps for some, in their wake, you leave crumbs from your table for the rest of us–shiny diamonds of pure unadulterated genius.  And collectively we all grieve for you, even longer than had you lived.

Maybe that’s where it started.  This incredible empathy for genius, especially the quiet souls who tread the earth with a pervasive sadness.  For me, they stand out like neon in a black and white photo.  You know– the invisible ones you see feeding the ducks at the park on a winter’s day or having an argument with no one in particular at the bus stop.  Or maybe it’s the one frantically journaling (what?) behind a smoky haze in a cacophony of chatty coffee bugs at an outdoor café, or the painter who couldn’t straighten up his back because he was too busy painting the world’s most beautiful ceiling, and would’ve finished the sky, had there only been enough time.

The artists—you know the ones who cut off their ears for love, whose fear of germs or fear of being real, or honest, or perhaps fear of madness itself keep them from the love they were designed for.  But of course, how could they be anything but genius?  The heart must exert its life force into something, after all.

Yes, I found this picture of you in 2007 in the back of a Time Magazine (or maybe it was Newsweek).  I tucked it in a safe place all these years.  THOSE EYES!  I thought.  When I first saw you, you had me at look.  The elbow, haphazardly aloof resting on what you know only your round-curled fingers have the right to touch, or in your case tap and roll.  Sometimes when I get blue, I’ll pull out this picture of you and think, why am I drawn to you?  I don’t know you.  You’re a ghost.    

I’m almost the age now you were when you passed.  I lived invincible, unaware then while you lay dying that someday I would be drawn to you decades forth.   I don’t have the demons you did, nor do I want them if that’s what’s necessary to deepen my experience as an artist.

But a funny thing happened.   A tragic thing actually.  This thing called life with all its mystery, and majesty, and sadness, and joy.  Hard things and beautiful things, things we think we can’t endure, and they keep happening, wave upon wave.

And then I think I get it; or maybe I just perceive I do.  Maybe we leave messages for those in the future with our musical notes and sounds, our voices, our pictures, our words, our paintings, our constructions, perhaps as a harbinger, or maybe a love note that testifies and reminds us:  live, live, live.  Breathe life.  In.  Out.  Live full; live well.   

Yes, I probably would’ve loved you had I known you.    And if these words for some reason extend beyond cyberspace and into eternal space, maybe you’ll finally know not just me, but many like me, and especially those who actually knew you, loved you too.

      All that you can’t leave behind.  Except that we do.

And as we someday walk into the light, I feel certain we’ll hear your music too.

And love is not the easy thing…
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can’t leave behind….Walk On” – U2

A fascinating look at Glenn Gould — Genius Within

Advertisements

Stepping Stones      Once upon a time, I was subject to all sorts of stress and chaos.  That’s because for many years I was under the dominion of feelings, rather than acceptance of reality.  That’s not to say that feelings aren’t real or don’t count; they do.  I’m just saying it can’t be what guides you.

Thankfully wisdom eventually comes the longer one lives. So when I saw these rocks at a gift shop recently, and knowing nothing is a coincidence, a vision of truth settled over me.  It was as if a 12 step program (okay fourteen, but who’s counting?) for our emotions was suddenly available in summary form.   I thanked God for the instant wisdom and beauty He had provided.  So when you’re down and out, start by taking baby steps towards the power generated in just a few words worthy of being carved on rocks.  Meditate on them and then implement these action-steps and you will begin to leave drama behind and move towards peace, joy, and positive decisiveness.  Love is a decision, so take the steps necessary to love your life!

BreatheBefore you lash out or make a decision based on how you feel right now, just breathe.  It sounds simple, but it can be elusive when you’re hyperventilating on anger or extreme sadness.  Stop!  Get grounded.  Take a step back.  And just breathe.

ChangeThere are only two things you can change in life:  Your situation or your response.  It’s that simple.  If you can change your situation, by all means do.  Dump that toxic relationship, go back to school, decide to get out of debt,  get rid of that which is holding you back,  apply for that job you don’t think you’re qualified for anyway, go ahead and write that book you’ve been contemplating.

But what about the boss who chewed you out?  The spouse who abandoned you?  The grown child who never calls you?  And every other situation under the sun that falls under the category “unfair”?   There is only one thing you can do.  Change your attitude or response.  Besides you have to.  Why let what you can’t control destroy your well-being and sense of peace?   Acceptance of others and their flaws sets you free.  Putting up boundaries by saying, “I can’t talk to you until you calm down” or “I won’t allow you to speak to me like that” and then leaving a heated situation, shows that you are in control of your life and that you respect yourself to not allow others to disrespect you.  Remember you don’t have to be right all the time or have to convince others.  The goal is to be at peace!

ChoiceMy favorite advice on choice is this:  Choose your suffering.  Essentially that means don’t waste your suffering.  The Bible even states that “in this world, you will have trouble.”  And that is no lie!  You don’t get to the end without experiencing tragedy, abandonment, loss, hurt, sadness, anger, and unfairness.  Kind of like change, you have to make a decision.  Are you going to let that which you can’t control destroy you, or rest as the rock foundation that you build your testimony on, and become a source of inspiration to others, and even yourself.  You are stronger than you give yourself credit for.  Tap into that strength.

CourageDare to face the horrible truths in your life that you’d rather not:  You have a problem.  Deal with it.  Get help when necessary.  Tap into your faith.  Call on your friends.  Don’t go through the hard stuff alone.   As you get rid of toxic relationships outside of yourself, you’ll find it’s time once and for all to deal with the habits and hang-ups that keep you from reaching your full potential:  Insecurities, lack of confidence, bad or destructive habits, or fear of failure.    Attack each of these self-destroyers with all the tools in your toolbox:  Faith, family, friends, and above all a willingness to change.   Each step you take in the direction of courage builds momentum making each subsequent step a little bit easier than the one before.

Dance Put on the jamz and pump up the volume.  Life is too short to purposely not do things that can bring you happiness and joy.  Why settle for ho-hum washing the dishes and vacuuming the house when you can crank up your favorite music and dance the night away as you work!  As long as your multitasking, at least do it with joy.  Throw off those shoes and dance.  Grab a partner and surprise them with the joy of dance.

Dream Never give up your dreams.  Never!  What is that thing you’ve always longed to accomplish?  Write a song?  Start a new career in a totally different field?  Lose thirty pounds?  Then be like a Nike ad and just do it!  Start today!  You have to start sometime.  Don’t let excuses or lack of time be your reason why you didn’t fulfill your dreams.  A little today is better than none tomorrow and the day after that.  Slow progression is the key towards long-term results.  The key is to act with intent on your dreams.

Heal What is it you need in order to heal?  Professional help?  Spiritual guidance?  The compassion of a friend?  Then seek it and don’t be ashamed.  Perhaps you just need time.  That’s okay too.  Time doesn’t necessarily heal all wounds, but it allows us time to get our head together and weave that which hurt us into the fabric of our being, so that we can step out in courage anyway.  You wouldn’t let an infection on your skin fester and get worse.  It’s essential  that which troubles your heart or your mind be healed as well.  Don’t let pride stop you from getting the healing you need.

LaughGo ahead; lighten up!  Laugh at your mistakes, it’s okay.  Don’t be wound so tight, you can’t allow yourself to be human.  Go to a funny movie with a friend!  It’s good therapy.   Become mindful of joy and learn to laugh.  Laugh lines are more attractive than worry lines anyway!

Organize– Get rid of excess.  Everyday pick a room, a drawer, a box to organize.  Stop buying that which you don’t need.  Put things away as you use them.  Remember that it’s more fun to do and to be in life than it is to haveExcess of things don’t make us happy; relationships do.  We don’t get to take our things with us.  The only commodity we truly have in life is time.  Time to enjoy our life, but more importantly time to make a difference in the lives of others.  When you are organized, you have more time to see friends, volunteer, and get out in God’s beautiful world and enjoy all there is to see and do.

Play You work hard.  Don’t deny yourself this essential ingredient in life.  Get a hobby.  Play a sport.   Play with your kids and your pets every day if you have them.   When you play, you’re apt to laugh and that is good medicine for the soul.  Definitely find ways to play!

RelaxSimilar to just breathe, this is the mechanism you need to calm your soul and soothe your spirit.  It sounds easy, but how many times do we deny ourselves the opportunity to just relax because everything else seems essential?   Reading a good book or watching a great movie or just taking a nap on a Saturday afternoon can totally change our perspective when we’re stressed.  If you never have time to relax, than go back to organize.  What things, commitments, or excess people do you need to purge in order to enjoy the necessary stepping stone of relaxation?

RememberRemember others who are suffering and you can be a blessing to.  Remember the good things in life that God has blessed you with and choose to save some of them.  Take pictures of the good things.  Make a family scrapbook.  Have a treasure trunk where you keep mementoes of happy events.  Remembering that which brings us joy and leaving behind that which causes us pain is a great way to have a fulfilling and joyous life.

Rest We can’t organize, relax, remember, play, work, heal, dance, laugh, make necessary changes, or even dream if we don’t first get enough rest.  We were designed to rest for a reason.  When we allow our mind and body to recharge, we are taking the first step to complete all the others.   Get on a schedule and get the rest you need.

TeachTeach others life lessons you’ve learned so far.  Mentoring others is a great way to make a difference.  Also be willing to be taughtHaving a teachable spirit is also a key to wisdom.  Try not to take all advice, even when unsolicited, as a means to control you, but perhaps as a kernel of truth worth mining.  Having a teachable attitude means accepting that we don’t necessarily know everything.  And that’s okay.

Okay, so that’s 14 stepping stones to lead you to a better life.  But there is one that was left out intentionally.  All these stones, pale in comparison to the solid rock foundation they rest upon: 

FaithThe people I’ve known in life that have it the most together mentally, physically, financially, and spiritually have a deep faith that is the bedrock upon which all else is built.  Having faith means you personally don’t have to have all the answers or be in control.  That’s because when God is in control, someone bigger than you is in charge.   You don’t have to know everything or be responsible for every outcome.  Faith steps in when people step out.  Faith is believing in someone or something bigger than yourself.  Faith is prayer.  Faith is active.  Faith is forgiving.  Faith allows us to love.  Faith is a conduit to all that is good in life Faith is more than a positive attitude, it is an assurance of things hoped for and not yet seen.   Sharpen your faith, and live the good life.

When opportunity knocks a man still has to get up off his seat and open the door.  – Author Unknown

      Hello friends!  How’s life these days?  Are you living happy?  How is your dream coming along? Are you living true?   If not now, when?   Are you gonna wait forever?

Living true—what’s that you say?  Believe me; you’ll know it when you get there.  Living true is living life with passion and purpose but without checking reason at the door.   Doing what you absolutely love without causing harm to others is the passionate and purposeful life. Living true means losing the superficiality of status, or position, and focusing on what truly satisfies your soul.

Living true with passion and purpose requires a few things:

  • Time
  • Motivation
  • Discipline
  • Trusting Your Instincts
  • The Desire to Make a Mark
  • The Promise Not to Harm
  • Endurance
  • Faith

When I listen to U2’s music, I hear the sound of four band mates who have spent well over thirty years honing their craft, fulfilling the desire of their hearts, and bringing joy to millions of fans all over the world.  While growing their dream, they have also made an impact on the poorest among Earth’s citizens–people who most likely have never even heard of U2 or their music, but know the sound and sight of grace when it appears.

What is it about U2’s music that takes root in the hearts of so many?  What is it that connects U2’s fans to one another and to the band itself?  I’ll tell you what it is.  Bono said it:  The goal is soul!  When we pour our heart and soul into our craft, it resonates.  It plants roots, grows deep, and if watered with time and love, brings fruit.    As time passes, it gains momentum. 

Without a doubt, it takes time and discipline to create something uniquely yours and make your mark.   It’s possible, but it takes a lot of time.  The key is taking baby steps each day!  What is your dream?    I find most people have a dream, but it’s buried under the surface of responsibilities, obligations, insane schedules, and a series of distractions that compete for priority in our heart.

If you have gotten to know me, you also know I believe in God, a higher power in this universe who is also at work.  He created me with purpose.  God had a purpose in mind for me on the day I was born.    Once I found it, all I had to do was tap into it.    I had to decide.  I decided I wasn’t going to wait forever.  The time to do something about it was now!  Because now is all the time we ever really have!

Finding purpose is like meeting the love of your life.  I hope you are one of the lucky ones who get to do both.    Meeting the love of your life is phenomenal, but time changes each of us, and a person can only satisfy you so deeply, and if you’re not careful, you can become selfish in expecting them to satisfy you in a way they can’t.  We all age, change, move in and out with the tides with our feelings, and experience life differently.      Passion in relationships is a burning flame that keeps your desires and affection warm but it also threatens to consume you if you don’t pair it with purpose.  You can have a shared purpose, but it’s essential to also have your own purpose.

When purpose steps in, unrealistic expectation of others has to leave.   For this is the thing that you own!  You don’t need someone else’s permission, approval, or same level of desire in it to complete you.  You have this for you.  You desire the same for them.

I meet so many people who say they don’t have time to work on what they love, or even spend time trying to find it.  Guess what?  I felt the same way—until I did.

I still work and have a family.  You work on it as time allows.  You make time.  You give up the unnecessary.  It might be TV, time on Facebook, time on the phone.  You become more efficient at other tasks to free up time.   You learn to carve minutes for your passion at first, and then it turns to hours in a week.   Before long you realize these are the minutes that make you.   Soon you don’t find time for it; time finds you!

This majestic time becomes your sanctuary –this space where you think, dream, and create that which hasn’t existed up to now.    You focus on the craft and discipline first, and as you do the plans start to formulate for the next step whether it’s to take it to the next level, take it public or to market, or maybe just being brave enough to share it with even one other person.  You are taking the steps on the journey, but leaving the destination to God.

In U2’s song One, it resonates perhaps because it reminds us that we are indeed One, but we are not the same.  We are united in our humanity and our universal quest to be both free and loved, but we also have a dream to create or leave a mark that is unique to us.    Larry, Adam, Edge, and Bono are a perfect band of four brothers in total sync with one another musically and professionally, and yet off stage are completely their own person with unique lives that don’t resemble the other.  They create a shared passion, but they’re smart enough to have their own passions.

How have they lasted so many years?  By enduring–they put the needs of the team before the individual.  They tough it out through criticism, mistakes, and unpopular choices.  Sometimes they wait for their audience to evolve and appreciate prior works.   Yes they have managers, advisers, but ultimately they seem to connect to the souls of their fans and trust their instincts.  And instinct is the gift that helps our faith grow stronger.

Trust your instincts.  Find your passion—branch out and find your people!   You’re only a few mouse clicks away from finding your support group.    Make a little bit of time each day for that which you love.  Keep learning.   Respond in love and kindness to others as your journey.   Find grace inside the sound of what your heart is telling you to do.    “Don’t trade your dreams for some small change”.

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. 
- Mark Twain