Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dreams: Part 4


Life is full of dreams, yet it seems there are those big dreams, or that one life dream that wells up from inside of us, defines who we are, and sets our feet in seemingly unnatural directions. Sometimes its obvious, but for most of us, its hidden and we need to find it. Here we continue to unpack what to do with dreams.

Joan Miro, "This is the Color of My Dreams." 1925

In the first post, Dreams: Part 1, we talked about dreams are but the start, the discovery of what race to run. You don't need the money, the time, or the skills to do it right away; but instead, you look at dreams as what direction to head in. In Dreams: Part 2, we talked about dreams are found in the people or things we keep gravitating back towards as an indicator of what our inner dream is. Last week as baseball was in full swing all across America, in Dreams: Part 3, we looked out how the skills we've developed may be the best indicator yet on what our dream is. Why did you develop those skills on your own with no external reward?

A few weeks ago, most people in America had their imaginations fixed on the 640 million dollar Mega-Millions jackpot. It seemed everywhere I turned, people were talking obsessively about it. Some people where open about their dreams; other, well, they held their dreams so close as if talking about would some how jinx their chance of winning. Wikipedia says the odds of winning are 1 in 175,711,536. When the winnings are that high, we are all dreaming.

With virtually no chance of winning, should anyone have shared their dreams of winning? I think its safe to say that dreaming about winning the lottery is not about dreaming but about escaping from the present reality. So, when it comes to our dreams, what we see as a new possibility for our world, should we share our dreams.

The dreams we talk about are different. I did find hope in those people who wanted to good with their money, people who wanted to cure cancer or solve problems. It was inspiring. In fact, it was quite inspiring. Any time you have a dream to do good, you have to share it! It will help you flesh it out and figure it out, but it will also inspire others. If you think cancer can be solved, share the dream of how it can be solved with others, and those seeking to do good will be inspired.

But its more than inspiration, its also about mobilization. If you start sharing your dream, others may just want to follow you. It may be a few at first, but if you believe it, and they believe it, you have a tribe. Once you have a tribe, you can do those things bigger than yourself and make your dreams a reality. The bottom line is this, for dreams to arrive, you need a tribe!

Let me say it again, for dreams to arrive, you need a tribe.

So this is simple, use some of the ways we've talked about in the past few weeks about sorting out your dream. If you still need help, reach out to me or someone else. There's an old Buddhist saying that goes, “if you want to climb a mountain, but can't, talk to the one who climbs the mountain often.” After you've located your dream, start sharing your dream with everyone. If your shy, make that part of your story, “You know me as shy, but I have to share this dream I have...” Tell your neighbors, your coworkers, your friends, anyone. And keep sharing it. As they object, listen, but keep sharing it, because for a dream to arrive, you need a tribe! If you're not shy, you have no excuse.

And if we become obsessed with our dream, and others start to follow, than we will see... (fill in the comments below)

(For more reading on dreams and tribes, check out Seth Godin's book, Tribes!)


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dreams: Part 3

In the past few posts we've looked at dreams (or purpose). In Dreams: Part 1, we talked about how dreams are the marker for what race we are to run, a way of knowing what we are supposed to do. Also, dreams can be overwhelming when there is no time or space to do all we dream about, so I asked you to consider what you dream about the most; not if you can do it or not, but what dream keeps reoccurring.

In Dreams: Part 2, we checked out another way to tell what our life dream is by looking at who we gravitate towards. If we find ourselves being pulled towards certain people in our lives we respect, or maybe authors, leaders, and thinkers we look to for guidance, we may have a better understanding of what our dream in life is. Unpacking what our dream is can be extremely difficult; so in this post we'll look at how skills play in explaining what's inside of us.

For me, I look back to college to see this played out. (I went to college twice.) The first time I was slated to be a minister, but I ended up dropping out after two years because of grades; my Achilles heel: English. In high school, I never did well. I wasn't sure the difference between a noun and a verb, let alone how to use a comma. In college I was only able to get a handle on what the four parts of speech were for the tests in Remedial English; but when I arrived in English Comp I, I was in no way ready for a weekly essay. After about a month, I dropped out. The very next semester I tried again and dropped out after two months. I was trying to run with broken legs.

I don't think I'm alone in this, I believe we've all faced similar situations? As we get older, we are constantly reminded of our short comings in all areas, aren't we? If you've ever tried to do anything positive or good, like me, you've seen where your skill set was lacking.

Before my second college career, I was reading about Gandhi and his ability to communicate via writing. I remember as clear as day, sitting in my basement thinking I needed to learn how to communicate to have any chance of living out my dream. I needed to learn how to write to make any difference in the world.

When I arrived on campus for College 2.0, I found a tutor within a week or two. That first semester, I finished Comp I with a C. In Comp II, I pulled off a B. It was in Comp II they phased out my major and I switched to an English Major. By my third semester I was in Advanced Grammar where, thanks to Dr Solberg, my relationship with language and my confidence in writing was forever changed. I had a working understanding of how grammar was naturally spilling out my brain. I now knew how to write!

This can mean something for you too. Ask yourself, “What have I set out to make myself better at and why?” The development of a skill for your own benefit can be a strong indication of what your dream is; however, skills you were forced or even paid to acquire may not be as helpful. So I encourage you to make a list of three skills you've developed for your own betterment and look at why you did them. If you don't see any common threads, add a few more things to the list. If nothing is still coming up, find someone to talk it over with or post them here and we'll talk it over!

Imagine if just a handful of people tapped into the skills that lay dormant in them and developed them towards their dream. What would the world be like if a few people, just a few, developed the confidence to move in the autonomy this gives?

We need to think through these issues, we are our only option for change in this world!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dreams: Part 2

Last post, Dream: Part 1, I put forth the idea that dreams are just the start, they are the marker for what race we are to run. Also, dreams can be overwhelming when there is no time or space to do all we dream about, so I asked you to consider what you dream about the most; not if you can do it or not, but what dream keeps reoccurring.

This post we'll continue with the idea that dreams are just the beginning of the race day—the way for you to know what event to run. To unpack this a little more, we'll look at another way to tell what our dreams (“callings/purposes”) in life is by looking at who you gravitate towards.

During my college years at Southeastern University, then Southeastern College, I had a radical adjustment to my faith. I went with the intentions of being a right-winged Evangelical pastor to became an agnostic who didn't know what to believe, just what I know I didn't want to believe anymore. In that journey, the only thing I really wanted was truth. I started gravitating towards the Episcopal Church and to the ever-Socratic Tim Ervolina. Deacon Tim challenged me with other views and gave me questions in response to the questions I asked. I wasn't being told what to believe, but what I really believed was being pulled out of me. I was drawn to his love of truth because I wanted truth.

Maybe there's someone like that for you, someone who pushes you intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually? Is there someone, or a group of people you keep coming back to who make you want to be better, live healthier, or dig deeper? We often look up to them and want to think they are better than us and we could never be as good as them, don't we? I often do. Maybe instead, we should be looking at them to better find out who we are?

Here's what I found. My dream is to alter the world consciousness towards a more equitable world, a more just planet for our sisters and brothers facing the greatest vulnerabilities in this life. It goes to the heart of who I am and what I read; what I've been dreaming about for a very long time. I understand this through memory, but my constant pull towards people who share my dream, people like Jesus, Gandhi, Dr Martin Luther King, Jean Vanier, the Hebrew Prophets, and Dr Cornel West. I may never be like these people, in fact its best I don't try to be them; but instead, know what draws me to them: a love for a more equitable and just world.

This is how I've stepped into my dream. On way I took a step in this direction was to open up conversations with AJ Leon and the band of Mis-fits who are out to change the world for good. I've teamed up with Will Hampton and the rest of the launch members at Two Rivers Assembly to make world transformation a tangible reality. Another step I've taken is the Araminta Freedom Initiative. The Araminta Freedom Initiative is a generational commitment to stop the sex trafficking of minors in the Baltimore area. If you are in the Baltimore area and this makes sense to you, join up like I have.

Maybe this group I just mentioned doesn't click for you. That's fine. Start identifying who you click with, who you look up to so you can figure out what your dream is and how to start your race.

Think of what it would be like if a handful of people connected with their dream and started moving towards it. What would it be like if people were internally driven to make steps to better the world around them in different areas? I like what comes to mind when I start imagining these answers!

Please tell me who you gravitate towards?