#DreamerDoerProfile: Meet Sade (@SadeChampagne)

#DreamerDoerProfile: Meet Sade (@SadeChampagne)
 Short Bio:

Sade Champagne is an award winning professional musical artist, performer, inspirational speaker, entrepreneur, mentor, and Dream Coach. She is the Executive Producer, Creator, and Director of almost 150 popular charity events like Ventura County’s Annual Rising Star Dance Competition, Ventura County’s Vocal Superstar Competition, Grace Rallys and Love Never Fails.

Her events and performances have been attended by almost 40,000 people. She has been featured on many press and media outlets such as TV Guide Channel, Teen Nick, Acorn Newspaper, Ventura County Star and Q1047. She has sold out events, shared the stage with several Celebrities and supports charities and nonprofits all over the world such as American Cancer’s Society Relay For Life, BrittiCares International, Destined To Live The Good Life Children’s Orphanage in Zambia, Thousand Oaks Teen Center, Boys & Girls Club, People of the Second Chance and LA Dream Center’s Human Trafficking Shelter. Sade is currently headlining her #PowerOfADreamTour, mentoring students at Pacific High and Ventura High schools through her Superstars N Training Program and leading a free support group for dreamers and visionaries titled Dream Catchers.

She is an in-demand speaker, performer and mentor traveling all over California throughout the month. Her biggest dreams are to encourage others and help people’s dreams to come true.

You can find more information about her online: on Twitter (@SadeChampagne). Instagram (@IAmSadeChampagne). Facebook. and on her website.

 __________ . ________________________ . ___________
 – What does it mean to be a dreamer?

To me being a dreamer is about taking risks, transparency, consistency and persistence. You have to be willing to stick it out and keep showing up even when no one believes in you and you feel that you’re stuck in the same place. A dreamer has vision and sees everything and everyone with purpose and intention. We realize that everything is weaving together to help tell our beautiful story. There are no wasted moments.

 – What’s the most challenging thing about identifying as one?

2 of the most challenging things about being a dreamer is when you started out with someone and along the way you no longer seem to be on the same page. You want someone/people to share your dreams, passions and aspirations with, and it’s a struggle when people become distracted and fall along the way. You have to stay true to your vision and stick to your guns no matter what. These dreams and visions have been my most loyal friends since I was about 4 years old. I will not abandon them for anyone or anything. One of the other biggest challenges about being a dreamer is not being able to control the outcome or results. Even though we give our all, we prepare, we plan, we hope and we persist- we believe, we cannot control the destination. That’s the greatest risk in being a dreamer, BUT I have learned over the years that it’s better to spend a life doing and being what you love and not “make it”, than to live your life in the shadows and be full of could’ve, should’ve, would’ves at the end of your life. Failure is not the worst thing in the world, for I believe that regret is a far greater tragedy.

 – What’s the most rewarding?

The most rewarding things about being a dreamer are seeing people live in the glorious destinies and seeing a dream that started in my heart manifest into the natural. It overwhelms my spirit with gladness and gratitude every time!!

 – Tell us the dream (or dreams) you’re currently chasing after at the moment, what you’re doing to make sure they are not merely dreams, and how others can be of help… 

My biggest dreams are to help other people live their dreams and to travel the world sharing radical grace, hope, encouragement and joy to others. Currently I am doing this through all of my events, performances and mentoring. I desire to finish my debut album this year full of original songs and spoken word poetry and release it for the world to hear. I create every day, but some dreams are meant for a specific time. I focus on what is in my hands today, and that is how I stay moving forward and not feeling overwhelmed. Thank you to everyone who supports me through social media, my live events and shows, praying and encouraging me.

 – And lastly, since part of being a dreamer is contemplating answers to what if/if I could questions, “if you could relive any moment in your life, which moment would it be and why?”

If I could relive any moment in my life, it would be all the years I spent living in other people’s opinions of me. I don’t necessarily regret the past, but with what I know now, I wouldn’t have spent so much time wearing a mask. These days I am a fierce believer in transparency and not compromising or watering down my message and vision. I wouldn’t have invested so much time in conditional and exhausting relationships. The wonderful thing is now that I know these truths I get to live from my being, from grace- no longer apologizing for who I am and what I believe. I am free to be me!

Thanks for having me Ayokunle and thanks for being such an encouragement to me. The way you dream, the way you communicate and care are life changing.

#DreamerDoerProfile: Meet Tosinger (@Tosinger)

#DreamerDoerProfile: Meet Tosinger (@Tosinger)

Short Bio:

Tosinger is an Atlanta based sweet spirited indie artist, an inspirational AfroSoul/Folk Singer Songwriter. She is also a Writer/Poet and a Creative Arts Consultant. An eclectic woman of the arts with a warm personality and matchless passion, her message remains inspirational and uplifting. Her vocal essence & sound has been described as soulful and African, soothing and calming, her sublime voice displays a simple conveyance of heartfelt richness and freshness. She draws influences from her Yoruba cultural background, afrobohemian earthiness and an eclectic mix of artists including Mariam Makeba, Angelique Kidjo, Tracy Chapman, Whitney Houston, Nina Simone to name a few.

She released ‘FINALLY’ an EP of 6 tracks early 2012 and in 2013 digitally published – The ‘AfroSpire’ Demo project – a collection of songs with African sounds, Yoruba sayings and lyrics delivered in a contemporary style. She is currently working on her debut album due to be released in 2015 tagged ‘Organically Singing’

She is very much on the way to warming herself into the hearts of lovers of organic music globally. Tosinger continues to brand herself uniquely in the African soul/world music arena while her message remains consistently inspirational.

For more, visit www.tosinger.com. Follow her on Twitter @tosinger. & Like on Facebook/TosingerSings. She also blogs at www.tosingersblog.com.

_______________ . ____________ . _________________

Hello.

I am Tosinger, Afrosoul Singer~Songwriter, Social Artpreneur and Creative Brand Consultant.

 – What does it mean to be a dreamer?

I have to say I am highly honored to have my words featured on this inspiring blog, it’s a great feeling to have your ‘dream~ability’ recognized by others.

Just to give you, the reader some insight, I’d like to share my response when I was asked to be today’s Guest Contributor on the ‘Of Dreams and Deeds’ blog I wrote Ayo –

“You couldn’t have reached out to a more relevant person, a fellow ‘dreaming doer’ :). I am one who surely believes that the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. My business outfit is called ‘Dreamweavers Entertainment’, my annual afromusic touring concert project is tagged ‘AfroDreamFest’, I have an upcoming e-commerce shop of artsy handmade work and future projects tagged ‘afrodreaming’, my sign off on my blog is … “Beautifully Dreaming, Positively Doing”… and so on and so forth.. need I say more? 🙂

So now that my qualifications are out of the way, let me tell you what being a dreamer is really, really all about. The tags are nothing if it’s not a reflection of the inside, expressed on the outside. It doesn’t just stop at branding projects with the “Dream” tag, it starts from the mind. To dream is to be in a continuous state of consciousness of “I can” — “I can do this”, “I can make an impact”, “I can add value”. To dream is not to only imagine or envision, it is to actually step out on a mission, no matter how little, slow or (un)forthcoming the steps seem to be. A dreamer sticks to their guns despite and in spite of, not seeing the end of the whole ladder but stepping on the rung.

A dreamer is a courageous individual who foresees the future beyond the present. I daresay a dreamer is a prophet. Dreamers are actually exercising faith on a spiritual dimension and as the scriptures say, without faith it is impossible to ‘see’ God. As I am of the Christian faith, I esteem the words of the Holy Bible. In Romans 4:17, the story of Abraham: “As it is written: I have made you a father of many nations. He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—in the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not” – God is being referred to as one who calls the things that are NOT, as though they WERE…

A dreamer, I daresay again, is exhibiting the characteristics of God, our creator therefore he/she is not an ordinary being. Dreamers are more spiritual than the world cares to admit, and of a higher inner being and essence than the average individual.

However, true dreamers don’t just sit and wish and daydream, true dreamers are visionaries and go-getters. As confirmed in the excerpt of a great book that I’ll highly recommend if you are still looking to discover your purpose or vision for life – It’s titled The Vision Guided Life

  Tosinger dreamer doer profile - every visionary is a dreamer...

 – What’s the most challenging thing about identifying as one?

One of the challenges of being a dreamer is being considered stupid, foolish or just simply unrealistic by others. This is why, depending on the circumstances, it is not always wise to share one’s dreams to every and any one in the beginning during the seed stage. Getting other “believers” on board, people who won’t scoff at your dream, a team who can see where you are going, people I refer to as ‘destiny helpers’ are few and far between, not very easy to find but they are out there if you look carefully and are at the right place at the right time. The energy you put out will typically attract the right people.

Another challenge is the emotional fatigue that comes with delay of realization. Time, mostly is a good friend, but given our human nature, we tend to get impatient. Considering someone like me about to hit my 40’s, I get worried that my dreams are not being fulfilled yet, while I have my strength and youth in the ‘afternoon’ of my life on earth, so to speak. And how do I deal with that? I just recognize that negative thought that seems to pull me back and replace it with something positive, that way I can escape the feelings of “Am I good enough?”, “Is it really worth it?”, “Is it still possible?”. I also read up on inspiring individuals who made things happen at different stages of their lives.

Funding also, is mostly always one of the biggest challenges for dreamers, unless one is born with a silver spoon with a trust fund to boast, getting the money to pursue one’s dreams is a high hurdle to jump. In my experience, I have found out and it is quiet ironic that dreamers who would be of a larger and major impact to their society are the ones usually strapped for cash to get things rolling. But we have to start where we are, with the little we have. True dreamers are frugal, and any income they have is usually used towards their passion. They would sacrifice self to fulfill a dream.

 – What’s the most rewarding?

The most rewarding part? When the dreams begin to realize, materialize and take shape. This is the most rewarding feeling of all. When you’ve done the work and it starts paying off. When other people start benefiting from your dream, as your dream shouldn’t be for yourself only. The value is immeasurable. The funny thing is dreams start getting fulfilled the time you least expect it to, it is not a measure of physical time in calendar moments (chronos) but kairos time (The word kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning “opportunity,” “season,” or “fitting time.”) Consistency is the key. Never stop, keep going. Never give up, keep pushing. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

 – What dream(s) am I currently chasing after at the moment?

I have a passion for music, the arts and my continent of Africa. So my dream is inevitably tied to these 3. I am currently working on new music (new album titled ‘Organically Singing’ due to be released Summer of 2015) and the kick off of my NGO Adopt a Guitar Inc (for more info, see www.adoptaguitar.com ) – a nonprofit that is geared towards providing music instruments and education to naturally talented, gifted underprivileged youth in African countries who need music tools and development but otherwise cannot afford them. My ultimate dream is to have an ‘Afrodreaming’ artist residency institute on a large campus on the continent to discover and groom upcoming talents who need an avenue and platform of expression.

For now, I’m taking it one day at a time. Slowly and steadily to win the race. Rome was not built in a day. A dream starts with a seed. And it will grow. In the words of Mother Teresa, “We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”

 – What am I doing to make sure it’s not merely a dream
& how can others can be of help?

To get there, I make sure I am on a daily creative roll, doing something everyday that counts towards the realization of my dream. I perform on ground, write new music and I recently launched an indiegogo campaign for “Organically Singing + Adopt A Guitar” which can be found at this link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/organically-singing-musically-giving/x/390330. I would appreciate your support.

 – And lastly, since part of being a dreamer is contemplating answers to what if/if I could questions, a fun question to answer was “what if you had 25-hour days (while everyone else continued to have 24-hour days), what would you do with the extra time?”

My 25th hour of a 25 hour day will probably find me doing something artsy or music related, listening to, writing lyrics or poetry and/or singing (maybe with my two boys). If I had the means and I could travel to another part of the world I haven’t seen, I would book a flight on that hour J. I have a thing for nature so I would probably also love to lay and roll in a vast meadow or dig my feet in the sand by the beach side, or stand under a cool waterfall and breathe out all the air from the hustle of the previous 24 hours.

I leave you with this quote: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world” – Harriet Tubman

Let’s dream in living colors…because if not, why not?

Beautifully Dreaming… Positively Doing….

Tosinger

#DreamerDoerProfile: Meet Ibiene (@iamibiene)

#DreamerDoerProfile - Meet Ibiene

Short Bio:

Ibiene is a Nigerian twenty-something year old. She works as a security supervisor during the day and is the co-founder of The Love Eternity Foundation. She loves Ribena and is a sucker for good poetry. You can find a compilation of her odd thoughts here: www.twitter.com/iamibiene

___________ . _________________ . _____________

My dreams are valid

Ibiene O. Oguntoyinbo

 “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”
– Lupita Nyong’o

What, to me, does it mean to be a dreamer? It means scars and bruises, but victory and attainment in the end. It means sticking out like a sore thumb, trying to communicate the things on your mind and in your heart to family and friends but it all sounding like gibberish as it falls out of your mouth. Dreamers are probably one of the toughest people around; because they move against the tide and keep on moving, feet swamped, legs aching.

I am a dreamer. I have been one since I was about 15 or 16 when I knew for certain that I wanted to spend my life writing and running an NGO. Of course, with my parents it was always: “You better go to school and get a degree.” Fair enough, education is great, so I went to school and got my degrees. But then what? It didn’t stop the fire in my heart from burning. One of the most challenging things about identifying as a dreamer is not seeing the same fire in the eyes of the people you talk to about your dreams; the people who mean the most to you sometimes do not understand the things that mean the most to you. I have sometimes gotten that nonchalant response from my family about my writing and social work. Till this day I feel as though my parents address the things I really want for myself casually, without understanding why I want these things and what motivates me to pursue them.

So, Ayokunle wrote me an email in October; he recently wrote a book of poems and wants to create an avenue through which a collection of people can communicate what it means for them to be dreamers. Part of that initiative is what you’re reading now. Reading Ayokunle’s email gave me mixed feelings: I was happy that there are several of us young people striving to do what we want with our lives, regardless of the obstacles we face. But I was also sad because I have been trying for so long to attain my dreams. I feel tired at times; sometimes I have doubts and question whether this is what I really want to do with my life and if at all I can accomplish it; I get unhappy that it seems to be taking so long to achieve; I get confused about the next phase; I feel stalled by circumstances (most especially financial ones).

Let me tell you a little about the dream I am currently chasing. I started an NGO with my fiancé last year, The Love Eternity Foundation (TLEF). We are a Christian charity aimed at reaching out to people in need. We exist to bring hope to the needy, the oppressed, the homeless, the poor, and are dedicated to helping the voiceless find their voice, the weak regain their strength and inspiring emancipation from the fetters of poverty. Our aim is to help people in their time of need, and partner with them as they transition to better, self-reliant lives. We aim to do this by starting small; by running outreaches to orphanages, prisons and inner cities. Our big vision is to build homes for orphans and the homeless, and to run free vocational schools where people can learn skills that will help them earn a living.

On 31st January 2015, TLEF will be launching in Lagos, Nigeria, with a visit to an orphanage in a suburb called Egbeda. We will be taking food items to the children who live there and will spend a few hours with them. We are really excited about the launch of the charity. It’s a small step but it is one step towards reaching more lives and making a bigger difference.

Like I said earlier, since I was about 15/16 I knew what I wanted to do, but the registration of TLEF and watching it become a reality just happened last year. That’s a 10 year time span. How many more ’10 years’ do I have, I wonder? With the money, time and hard work we put into getting TLEF registered with the Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission, getting a bank account open and a website up, you would think I would have been over the moon in excitement. But mainly, what I felt as I sent emails out mid-October 2014 concerning the launch of TLEF was tiredness. I just felt tired. No excitement. Just tired.

But I’ve got to keep going. Whether or not I want to. Whether or not I feel excited. Whether or not I get a response. Whether or not anyone even reads this post. I know that this is what I want to do and that I can achieve it. If I stop now ─ and I can’t, after sending God-knows-how-many emails announcing the launch of the NGO ─ I won’t accomplish anything. And I have to accomplish this. Because, cliché as it sounds, this is what I was born to do. And that is one of the most rewarding things about being a dreamer; knowing that you are right where you are supposed to be.

So, friend, if my dreams are valid, so are yours. Go chase them.

.///\\\.

Ayo’s Note:

Quite important to note, one of the ways to support the work that Ibiene and TLEF is doing is by helping to spread the word about the organization. Find TLEF on twitter (@LoveEternityNgr) and instagram (@loveeternityngr) and for more information online, at their website: www.theloveeternityfoundation.org.

For more information, donation, inquiry, partnership, etc., you can contact info@theloveeternityfoundation.org or ibiene@theloveeternityfoundation.org. Also, TLEF just got their first batch of t-shirts printed, so you’re encouraged to check them out on their instagram page.

Just for fun, I asked Ibiene: if you could go back to a specific moment in history, where would you go, and why? Her response: I would go back to the sixth grade; when Crystal Karam hit me during PE for no apparent reason. I would have hit her right back so that she realized that, like the rest of us, she was not invincible.

With what’s been said, I think the bar’s definitely been set high for the next guests who will be sharing their experiences in the #DreamerDoerProfile series. If you’re reading, no pressure…

of Dreams And Deeds | Hi, 2015

How time flies! Can’t believe it’s already 14 days into the new year.

If you’re reading this, I wish you a very happy new year, and do hope that it’s off to a great start wherever you are.

Keeping up with the tradition of the previous years on this blog, I’d love to share with you readers my intentions for the blog this year 2015. As it was last year – where I only had a post for each quarter of 2014 – my posts on here will intentionally be limited. Unlike last year however, most of what I’ll be sharing will not be from me. To make sure that happens, I have sought out dreamers who do (dreamers-doers like myself) who’ll be contributing to this blog starting this month, and in the months to come.

The idea for this – which I wrote about in this post – started in 2012 but sadly, I never followed through with it. That, of course, is changing this year. As I shared in the post,

Life is too beautiful not to dream. This is the purpose of this blog, to document those dreams, and the deeds that are being done as I journey to achieve them. However, I am interested in not only documenting mine, but others’ as well

So, it is in light of this that I’ve decided to create a section on this blog called G.O.O.D which would document the dreams of others…since I’m not the only dreamer here. It would be a great delight to share the dreams of others, and the deeds they’ve done (or are doing) to achieve them…

So be on the lookout for amazing friends of mine who will come here to share with you the things they are passionate about.

In the words of John Lennon, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us

Each contribution will be a kind of profile on what it means to be a dreamer-doer, hence the #DreamerDoerProfile tag that will precede the title of each of the posts. At the minimum, you should expect 12 contributions this year, which if that turns out to be the case will be posted on the 28th of each month as a way to commemorate the date I published the post that started this. The first contribution has already been drafted, so look forward to it 🙂

With that said, here’s to an amazing 2015!

N.B – If you’re a fan of social media, you can connect with the blog on there. Twitter: @ofDreamsnDeeds, and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ofDreamsAndDeedsBlog.

Now, that’s new!

Year In Review: Fourth Quarter – I lived

 

I lived!

That was the one thing I had as a goal for this year and I accomplished it. I lived!

Consider this post my victory chant since I can’t necessarily do what I would have wanted to do – to get on every rooftop and scream it out as loud as I possibly can. I lived!…

in spite of the situations that threatened my will to; more so this year than ever in the history of my 24 years.

That to me – minus the few goals I accomplished and wrote about in the previous quarters – makes this year a success.

It’s true when I say that it’s been a very polarizing year in that there was too much to rejoice about yet at the same time too much that was painful. It left me confused as to how to navigate that “joy in the midst of pain”/”pain in the midst of joy” phenomenon. And for that reason, I didn’t celebrate as much as I needed to, and couldn’t grieve as much as I needed to. That’s the paradox of living.

Well, it’s almost over now. Here’s to many more years ahead and I’ll see you all next year.

Year in Review – Third Quarter

Don’t ask me how long I’ve been putting this off. There’s always much to say, but I often find myself promising not to say much these days…

Can you believe that we’re already done with more than half of the year, and after this month, only have 3 more months before it ends?

Well, here’s a summary of the year on this end so far:

During the first quarter, as I wrote in the year in review post for the first quarter of this year, I grappled with the idea of patience – learning to do while waiting for dreams to be realized.

The second quarter taught me to live (my mission for the new year) even when life gets overwhelming and becomes, in the words of C.S Lewis, too deep for words.

What this quarter has taught me is that you don’t have to be ready to begin, and there are numerous (or few) things that always need to be started which you might never be ready for.

Below is a quote I shared in July that quite describes this quarter well:

I’m no longer quite sure what the question is, but I do know that the answer is Yes.” – Leonard Bernstein

Quite a lot happened during this quarter actually. I did more of things that mattered to me, oftentimes much to my own surprise.

As I mentioned in the last post, a big dream of mine has been to have my name on the cover of a book, and during this quarter, I realized that dream. Like most things I did, I don’t think I was fully prepared for it, but it needed to be done.

As of September 5th, I can now call myself a published author. The collection of poems – thread, this wordweaver must!, which I announced on the post before this (link here: https://ofdreamsanddeeds.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/announcement-book-publicationtitle-reveal/), is now available everywhere books are sold. Really! You can get yourself a copy on

thread this wordweaver must on amazon

For the next six months, $1 of each copy sold will be donated to The Community Cloth. My goal, really, is to be able to at the end of six months donate $100 to The Community Cloth (that means 100 copies will have to be sold between now and February). Impossible? I think not.

I’ll be honest with you. For the past few months, I’ve been focused on metrics and stats…for every single thing! Those things in and of themselves are not bad, but it becomes critical when the utmost attention is placed on them, especially in using them to determine significance, worth, or impact. And that I’ve been guilty of! I have nothing bad to say about these tools we use to connect with each other, but I’ll be taking a break for the whole month (as soon as this week is over) from my social media accounts…and of course, school and other aspects of life require my attention.

Below are the highlights (because who wants to hear about the lows, right?) of this quarter:

In July, I worked along with PAIR – Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees (an organization I volunteered for as a mentor in 2012) to put together a Career Day event for the kids.

PAIR Career Day Event 2014

Above is a picture via Nelson, who along with his wife and a few others of my friends from different disciplines – law, accounting, medicine, teaching, entrepreneurship, engineering, business, nonprofit – joined me to share insights with the kids about our fields, mine being School Psychology. Nelson and his wife, Jessica run a company called Goodspero which you can find out more information about here: http://goodspero.wordpress.com/about/

Also in July, I shared a video response to an article that was posted on BuzzFeed, originally titled “15 women say why they don’t need Feminism”. You can find the response – a poem in 15 parts below:

And then just before the month ended, I took home $50 as a prize for winning first place in a poetry slam competition.

As August rolled in, I announced the news about my book, and the month was marked by updates about the progress – meeting with designers, sharing test covers, etc. I also started my second year of grad. school in August

On September 12, I turned 24. Unlike when I turned 23, I’m still not sure how to feel about 24 to be honest. With September, in addition to realizing my dream of becoming an author, I had 2 events that allowed me to share my poetry.

There’s me in the picture above, taken by my friend, Valerie (reading from my book of poems) during an event this month at The Nook Cafe. And I finished the month by performing as the closing act at this year’s Houston Fringe Festival.

As as aside, if you wish to receive updates about what I’m doing next as it pertains to poetry, you can subscribe here: http://bit.ly/AFalomoSubscribe

Of course there are lows I choose to not talk about but as the next and final quarter of the year arrives, in addition to focusing more on detachment, I want to keep learning enoughness, to whelm myself in my adequacy, because if I’m honest, I’ve been failing royally at it, especially during this quarter.

In line with that, I’ll leave you with these lines from one of the poems in the book, titled Beauty II

…once it starts/it never stops,/this endless cycle/of trying to be better than,/of trying, to be more than/enough…

Till next time, go ahead and bask in your enoughness and I hope to share with you all soon 🙂

Announcement : Book Publication/Title Reveal

In the last post for the previous quarter, I wrote this:

I shall return here to make an announcement – a very big one, actually! – before the next quarter… let’s just hope everything goes to plan.

And so, with this post, this is me making good on my promise.

This blog, for the most part has been a medium to document the pursuit of the dreams I’ve had and still have. It is in essence, as the tagline for the blog suggests, a blog for dreamers who do. Before now, I’ve been the type of dreamer who just ‘dreams’ and sits, arms folded in wait for those dreams to somehow miraculously come true. My perspective has changed however.

Of the few dreams I have, a big dream of mine has been to have my name on the cover of a book. Of course, not just any book, but one that I absolutely can stand up for, to say yes I wrote that! I’ve heard you should write/publish a book many times than I can count, and it makes sense at this point to…after 12+ years. This definitely feels like the right time!

Hence, I’ll be releasing a collection of poems –  titled thread, this wordweaver must! – for publication and which will be available for purchase by September 5th. Below is an excerpt from the introduction section of the book which puts into perspective what I aim to accomplish with this collection.

I believe that our individual stories are threads which when interwoven produce a beautiful tapestry of what we call humanity. The relationship I have with words has always been glaring to other people and has earned me few titles, one of which quite recently is as a wordweaver. Living up to the expectation of that title, my end goal with the poems in this collection is to produce a tapestry where the visible and hidden threads tell the story of how interconnected our stories are, regardless of our individual differences. A blue thread adds to the beauty of this tapestry just as much as a green one does… 

I can’t keep count of  how many times I’ve said this, but I honestly cannot wait to get the book into your hands.

Till you hear from me again, keep dreaming! And more importantly, keep working to make sure your dreams don’t remain dreams.

Life is too deep for words… | Year In Review – 2nd Quarter

As 2013 ended and the new year year began, the singular goal I set out for myself was to “LIVE, by embracing ALL that life has to offer.”

Who knew life would hold me accountable to that goal!? Overwhelmed, in response to the amount of curve balls – which I stopped counting –  that life has thrown my way in the past months, is an understatement.

Regardless, all those experiences which have for the most part left me with nothing but disappointments, discouragements, frustrations and even almost despair have made me more desirous of learning what it means to be alive. It, in more ways than I can ever describe in words, fuels the desire to LIVE even more.

Now, I get it…

Life is too deep for words, so don’t try to describe it, just live it. – C. S Lewis

…or at least I’m learning to.

Amidst the submersion though, there were few moments I was able to come up for air; moments accompanied by intense joy and relief, moments that provided me with clarity and a renewed determination more than ever before.

These things happened:

Along with two other Nigerians, my TEDx Talk was featured on a blog curated by Tosinger.

With one of my LeaderShape friends, Michelle Alvarez, along with other volunteers I helped to pass out roses to women in Houston to show them how appreciated they are – for her #GiveARose Campaign.

I reunited with my Mom who I hadn’t seen in almost 7 years. The most blissful of all things that’s happened this year!

Just a few days ago, I completed my first year of graduate school as a School Psychology major. #2moreyearstogo

And of course, poetry… (that still makes me really happy – be it writing, listening or reading it!)

Well, until when you hear from me again – which will be soon, I promise! – I’ll be somewhere learning to make sense of this thing called life, continuing to embrace all that it has to offer me; the joy as well as the not-so-joyful.

I shall return here to make an announcement – a very big one, actually! – before the next quarter… let’s just hope everything goes to plan.

I leave you with this from a commencement speech by Jim Carrey, below:

Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you… I [have] learned… that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love…Your job is not to figure out how it’s going to happen for you, but to open the door… and… just walk through it.

And if you get the chance, do listen to the whole thing – it really spoke so much life (pun unintended, or maybe is)  into me. It just might for you too.

Year in Review – First Quarter

Since the last post of 2013 – my year in review, it’s been silent here at “of Dreams and Deeds”, and for good reason. It’s been a deliberate decision to deviate from just talking or in this case, writing about dreams, but rather to commit myself more to action (or deeds) as the name of the blog implies.

I liked the format the last post took, and decided to do something like it  for the year 2014; first to minimize the amount of posts on the blog and to be intentional about the few posts I do write.

And of course, there’s continued traffic on the posts I’ve written since the creation of the blog in 2012, and I still want attention on those – both from myself and those who visit the blog – as opposed to churning out new content for the sake of it.

Hence, upon dividing the year into quarters, there’ll be a post at the end of each quarter – a quarterly year in review of some sorts, if you may.

As far as the quarterly posts go, this means that you’ll be hearing from me (as you are now) in March, June, September and December. There will be the occasional one or two posts in between, before the quarterly posts arrive but other than those, that will be about it regarding posting on the blog for this year.

So with that said,

January started with making preparations for a poetry event centered on the soliloquies I’d written, in poetry format, on love which I intended to do in February – since it was Valentines season. I’d dreamed in times past about having such an event…except that I didn’t take a single step towards making sure it happened, but it had to be different this year – and it was!

And in February, it happened (not exactly what I dreamed) but it was exactly what I needed! And better yet, in line with what I hoped for this year to be, it was achieved through partnership; with help from the people around me.

As I wrote in the year in review post for 2013,

[The] word which I hope will drive all my action for the new year is PARTNERSHIP.

In the vlog I made when I turned 23, I mentioned a project I started working on then (which I called “23′)  that has now morphed into something that I originally did not intend or imagine it to be.

The 23 sections I discussed, which I hadn’t even finished at the time of my 23rd birthday last year, have now become the basis for 23 individual poetry events with the aim of prompting conversations about each section as it pertains to the journey we all are taking towards becoming the person we’d like to be for the rest of our lives. 2 events out of the 23 have already been completed, one last month along with the Valentines’ event and another just few days ago. More information about the project is here at www.23thejourney.com, and also you can follow (the journey) via Twitter.

The words below, from the music I’ll be posting for this quarter (Passenger’s “Life’s For The Living”), echoed in my head much more than I wanted it to – and served as a constant reminder of the singular goal I set out for myself this year; which is to “LIVE, by embracing ALL that life has to offer.”

Life’s for the living so live it
Or you’re better off dead…

Our lives are in seasons, and in this season, one thing I’m learning more than anything else is patience. To say the least, it’s sometimes frustrating! There are things I still want to accomplish, there are things I believe I *need to do/attain, but I am still subject to timing…which often brings about reasons for disappointment and discouragement.

This is, as I believe, due in part to the shift I’m making from merely dreaming my days away while hoping my dreams magically come to pass to getting off my butt to do what I can. Needless to say, there is still tension in balancing the dreamy self and the self that wants to see those dreams come to pass fast…by doing.

Of course, patience doesn’t mean just waiting idly…but there are times when you’ll have to do some waiting and that I’m still not good at. Over the past few months, there’s been a certain eagerness and anticipation for the next thing/things ahead, making it difficult to be present with what is, as of now – a component of patience. I hope I can take this into account as the new quarter starts tomorrow.

And since the win that gave birth to the words below happened in this quarter, I leave you with these words from Lupita Nyong’o:

your dreams are valid

With that as a conclusion, I hope to see you all in the next quarter 🙂

Thank You, 2013 – A Dreamer’s Year in Review

This has been a good year! Good in the sense that all my experiences (even the not so good ones) served a purpose. I do believe this year, I’ve been able to set a foundation for the life I’ll be building as the years roll on by. I really like who I’m becoming, and life this year has provided me with so many opportunities to help me uncover that even more.

First, I’d like to say that you dear readers might have noticed a decrease in the frequency of posts on this post, especially this year. To you all who really do enjoy what I have to say on here as it pertains to dreams, I’d like to apologize for it  but know that it is not without good reason.

This year, the deeds part of the blog – of Dreams and Deeds  – (glance over the about section of the blog if you may) took much more precedence, whereas it’s always been second nature for me to emphasize about the dreams. In essence, I was taking action (in my own little way that I can) towards achieving some of the dreams I’ve been talking about.

With the help of Facebook (and my journal), I’ll be sharing the highlights of my year in so far as they’ve helped to shape an outlook on life, where the daring (while somewhat small but yet scary!) for carrying out the deeds that’ll help fulfill certain dreams which as as a result makes me more open to what life has to offer. [The colored words in the post are clickable links for your perusal]

In *retrospect, it’s so beautiful to see how these experiences have in some way shaped the things I’ve written on here on the blog and vice versa.

*From the words of a man, Soren Kierkekaard, who I consider to be my favorite philosopher (what do you know, he’s an existentialist! Big surprise, eh?) :

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

And as I look back in order to understand the life I’ve lived forward since January of this year, I’ll talk about personal experiences of each month while also sharing the posts I managed to write in the respective months.

In January, right after graduation last year, I started work with an After School program. This will be my first job ever, and I’ll leave you to imagine the excitement at receiving my first pay stub. Looking back, this most likely set the tone for the year where I managed to find myself in a series of firsts. Here on the blog, there were posts about: goals for the new year; honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King; the human nature, and it’s longing for exploration.

The words shared from the third post about exploration reads:

The only limit is the one you set yourself.

And this I’ll come to understand, if only a bit, in the next few months.

I started off the very first day of February with an interview for a position that’ll later provide the content for the only post on the blog for that month. I would tell you whether I got the position or not, but I think I’ll let you check it out to find out for yourself.

Following the one of the goals I made for the year, Goal #13  – aptly titled: DO, I managed to watch a football game (the whole game!) I also managed to, as part of Goal #13, take more interest in politics by watching the State of the Union Address. For Goal #18, aimed at embodying the “we” spirit, I found myself assisting a friend with his project. 

The Diploma arrived at my doorsteps. I wrote a poem (about love) and a friend helped me to record it. As part of The Making A Difference Project by Jeremy Lin –  to support nonprofits that serve underprivileged youth in Houston, TX – PAIR (Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees), an organization I was privileged to spend two semesters volunteering for won. A vote was all it took, from me and friends I shared the link with, and friends of those friends who shared the link and…. The next few months following this, the pictures from current volunteers and staff at PAIR will be testament to the impact of the support.

February was far from over though. On Facebook, I decided to pick someone randomly for each day of the week, and post as a status something nice (at least I hoped!) about them. The mere fact that I completed it was a success! Let alone the fact that I was able to add something of worth to people’s days. I’d like to think I was mostly influenced to do so by this video from SoulPancake. The month ends well, with me coming across a quote that will become defining (Whatever you do, don’t skip to October!) in the next few months.

“Be humble you are made of earth. Be noble you are made of stars”

March was mostly a fight for LIFE. It brought with it a reminder of a friend’s death the previous year. I avoided two collisions (with my first car, which I just started driving that month!). I cried! And the will to live was oh so essential! And live, I did. At times, all it took was something as simple as: reading a book – The Invitation; getting out to hang out with other people; conversations that sparked possibilities; the honest smile of a child – upon recalling a memory. And before the month ended, I could say:

You ever look back, smile, and say to yourself “It’s been a good life!”? I just did

It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that April was spent outside of Facebook – account was deactivated. The 3rd day of this new month, with me attending a simulcast event of TEDxChange, would later mark the material inception of my journey towards becoming a TEDx speaker.  There were small moments that ultimately coalesced into being able to write in my journal:

#Grateful: For Life. For all than I am, and all that I hope to be. Life is beautiful.

Also from my journal,

“I was totally captivated by the words of Rumi; and shouted like a maniac especially after reading most of the words…”

This would explain the post about him on the blog for the month. Interestingly, the only one for this month (I’m noticing a pattern here!)

I started this blog a year ago in May, which would by itself not have started if not for my experience at LeaderShape (also a year ago in May!) Few friends I made at LeaderShape graduated. There was another accident, which this time resulted in scratches (albeit minor) on the car. With the Citizenship Interview, I took a step closer to becoming a US citizen. I finished my position as an After School Counselor, but didn’t finish without the realization of how much of a difference I have made (and can make) in the lives of kids.

In June, I became an American. With an invitation to speak then perform a poem at the TEDGlobal 2013 simulcast, my TEDx journey continued.

Third day into July, a conversation to continue the journey took place with the TEDxHouston organizers. I visited a waterpark, something I do believe counts as achieving Goal #13, and tried to learn how to swim…key word: tried!

August started with a job interview for the Grad. Assistant position I currently have. Well, I started Grad. School (a specialist degree in School Psychology) Yet another first, I paid my first rest…ever! In what became an interesting turn of events, a camping trip with some friends became a visit to the beach. Again, Goal #13.

In September, I turned 23. 6 days before I did, there was another accident. The declaration in my poem, Unmask, becomes even much more stronger.

I am alive…I am here for a reason!

My journey led me to the TEDxHouston stage in October. (Clicking the picture will take you to the video)

TEDxHouston 2013 - Ayokunle Falomo

If you watch the video, you’ll hear me mention something about the ubuntu philosophy which brought to me a realization that “I’m a product of the people I’ve surrounded myself with.” And I’m surrounded by people who are doing seemingly simple yet extraordinary things.

November rolled by, and with events I was invited to, I was able to spend time with people (friends who I’d known a while; and ones who, strangers before, recently have just become so) who identify with the same mission of making the world a much more friendlier place…in rather simple ways too. Some conversations sparked creative ideas…for life, as well as the work I do as a poet! For Thanksgiving, while I did not have a post on the blog, there were a few things to be thankful for:

Thanksgiving 2013 status

And now December! I *finished my first semester as a graduate student (*for one, and considerably well, for another). Celebrated yet another graduation with friends. Overcame my irrational fear of using the washing machine (for some reason, I thought I would ruin either the machine, my clothes or who knows, both!) Just two days ago, had success with using chopsticks for an entire meal where before I would’ve ended up asking for a fork. And now, the end of the year.

Of course, I’m only writing exactly the things I’d like for you to know. Life, and our stories of it, does not present itself to us in a linear manner as I have managed to do here but the distractions, diversions, and even complete derails on this journey that we are all taking is minor, well, only in the face of the big dreams we have.

I am in no way dismissing experiences I’ve had this year of nights that sleep and food had to be sacrificed; nights when even with small victories, mistakes and perceived failures seemed so overwhelming enough to keep the tears flowing; car breakdown, eventually! (could be a result of the accidents I documented above?); days of insecurity, and bouts of self-doubt even when there’s a lot to be confident about… 

These are few things I could show you from my journal but that wouldn’t be necessary because in the same journal, you’ll see these words:

“…you don’t learn any other way but through experience and I am willing to go through life experiencing everything; that’s how you grow!”

For me, “everything” includes the fun moments, as well as the not-so-fun ones. And on that note, I’ll end the post the same way I began:

[2013] has been a good year! Good in the sense that all my experiences (even the not so good ones) served a purpose.

And if you’re wondering my plans for 2014, it’s simple (though it’s easy to want to avoid it): LIVE, by embracing ALL that life has to offer. The 22 goals will continue in some shape or form, and this post by a friend (with things like: Dance even if there’s no music, Live purposely, etc…) is an inspiration for things that I can incorporate to living fully as well. A word which I hope will drive all my action for the new year is PARTNERSHIP. And this, I’ll seek purposefully!

Readers, I’ll say the same thing to you as I would myself: have yourself a prosperous year ahead! Dreams are fun, but please, let’s take action…in the little ways we can.