…& the tears keep flowing

If Benjamin Zander, the author of “The Art of Possibility” – a book that continues to shape my life as it pertains to visions, dreams, etc. – were to have been given the chance to assess or judge my life this week, his verdict would be that I have not been living in the realm of possibility, but rather scarcity.

This is a attitude to life that tends to lead spirally downward. And that’s exactly how most of this week has been. It’s left me empty, alone, and inadequate to a certain extent. Of course there were moments when I reminded myself (and was reminded by others) that this was no way to live, and got a taste of envisioning myself in a more bountiful state; but those moments were like a grain of sugar in a gallon of sea water. Sooner than later, those moments became overwhelmingly insignificant.

This week, I cried. Yesterday again, I did. Below is a page from what I wrote in my notepad/journal yesterday night.

the tears keep flowing
…the tears keep flowing

This is why I cry.

Sometimes, this dreamer gets lost in pursuing his dreams that he loses himself in the process. He forgets what drove him to chase after those dreams in the first place. He doesn’t remember why he dreamed, nor why he continues to dream.

I write this post to give you a glimpse into nights like yesterday when optimism (living in the realm of possibilities) is not easily accessible to this dreamer. Nights like these are as important as nights I’m inspired to accomplish the things I’ve set my mind to do for me; and ultimately, the world. However, the goal is still in sight. Nights like these, I get derailed and lose sight of my dreams. And so, I cry.

I cry to let my tears – like the rain – wash off the dirt on the windshield of possibility; the vehicle that will transport me to the land of my dreams.

You need not know about this part of my life, but it’s a promise I made in posts such as this one – I Wonder What My Bed Sheets Say – to tell our stories as they are, no edits. This is mine.

It would be a lie for me to only post here about days I am inspired to wake up to work towards achieving my goals when there are nights like yesterday. And nights like yesterday are very much part of the whole story.

And yes, there’ll be nights like these. And yes, it’s OK to feel like you want to give up on your dreams. As long as you don’t!

Addressed, To you:

When was the last time you cried? And what (or who) made you cry? This dreamer would love to hear your own story, do share 🙂

The writer of one of the Psalms rightly note, that “Weeping may last for the night, but there is a song of joy in the morning.

And below is one of the songs I started my morning with.

#MLK DAY: A Story and A Dollar + 1

Today, we honor the legacy of the man Martin Luther King Jr. He said a lot about many things in his lifetime, and his words still resound with folks everywhere. For me, one of such quotes from him is on service – one of my core values.

Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

And like Martin Luther King, I am a dreamer…

I too have a dream

I (too) have a dream…

…about many things. I often revel in idealist visions, one which permeates the “I have a dream” speech, which I’m currently watching again to commemorate this day. This vision of his leaves no one out.

added: After I had finished writing this post, I remembered that this speech was played to us on the 3rd day of LeaderShape conference. This was meant to inspire us to create our own visions, vision being “mental pictures of what we want to create for the future.” These pictures often seem impossibly difficult to bring to reality, and it might take time – sometimes, the original dreamer might not even live long enough to be a part of it. Well…

I too have a dream

…that one day, I’ll travel across the world, telling and sharing stories (of mine and others) as an echo of that ideal sense of brotherhood among all men.

I have a dream

…to use these stories I tell to connect us all.

It is in light of that, in an effort to be an active participant in this putting together of the strands of our stories to make a collective whole that I listen unreservedly while others tell theirs.

I love strangers, mostly because they have the most exciting stories.

On Friday, as I approached the stop to catch a bus, I saw a man sitting by the curb playing a guitar. From my rough assessment, I would say he was probably homeless. I struck up a conversation with him and asked him how long he’d been playing for. He said 40, 12 of those years he stopped, and just began playing again 8 years ago. There is something for me to learn in that, as a dreamer:

to be relentless in the pursuit of my dreams, to not give up (at least not completely – to still come back to them even after I might have stopped for 12 years )

I told him one of my goals is to learn how to play an instrument before I die; I started learning the piano a while back but stopped 😦 I asked him to play some popular songs, and he obliged. He played Jackson’s “I’ll be there”, Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour”, and a song by Roberta Flack which I wasn’t familiar with. It was then he told me his age (59), and we started talking about the music he grew up on. And then we talked about my accent (who doesn’t?), and where I was from…

…And then, the bus came. There were still a lot I wanted to talk to him about though. I wanted to hear more of his story.

In retrospect, I think it was in the spirit of service that I lent my ear to listen to this man. As I was thinking about how to compose this post, I remembered THIS POST by a fellow blogger that motivated me to include, in the list of my goals, a random act of kindness.

Maybe this was it.

While we were chatting, I kept thinking about the lyrics from this song, I Need a Dollar:

“If I share with you my story, will you share your dollar with me?”

Luckily, I had two.

As we stepped inside the bus, I told him, “It’s not much, but you can use it for your bus fare.”

What A Daredevil’s Taught Me About Dreams.

– 11:50 PM

I am not in bed, as I should be. I actually really was, but then I woke up. I just can’t go to bed without saying something (and I’ve said a lot) about the magnificence of the day. Let me show you a glimpse…

If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, you will in a minute! This amazing story that will forever go down in history happened just a few hours ago! And, I just thought I should write something down to preserve the freshness, for as long as this inspiring coffee is still brewing within my soul. At least to create some sort of permanence before we move on to the next big thing (don’t we always?)

This post is by all means related to the last post I wrote about possibility. It is as Art, and it is endless. Read here —> It is that same spirit of possibility that this daredevil, Nik Wallenda, exudes when he decides to walk across the Niagara Falls on a rope – 1800 feet from American terrain, crossing over to Canada. Which he did! Might I add, in 25 minutes! The first man in world history to do that! – cross directly over Niagara Falls, on a highwire! I mean, look at the guy! Just watch as he makes his strides towards the finish line:

He defied the odds! He’s living completely in that realm of absolute possibility. His next mission, which he said he already got the permit for, is to do the same defying walk, but this time across the Grand Canyon. Yes, the Grand Canyon! And then, what?

One of my friends called me, while watching him as he moved closer to the finish, and said “That’s something you would do, Ayo”. And I replied him, I’m not that crazy. The guy is definitely my hero! I’m far from a daredevil, but I’ve been known to do stuff that seems daring to my mates…simple things like jumping over stuff, parkour-ish. Nothing much, but they always scream though, well especially my good friend who called. He screams like a girl too (Sorry Idee, love you man!) But man, I am really short of words.

Now, I did make a promise in the About page that everything I post here will have something to do with my experience at LeaderShape, and so far so good. You probably are wondering how this relates, but I’ll show you in a minute. Like I said, this ties to what I talked about on the last post – the art of possibility…and interestingly enough, on Day 3 of LeaderShape, the theme was “Challenging What Is, Looking to What Could Be”. It screams of the glorious nature of the world of possibility. Here is a quote I found in my LeaderShape manual:

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. – Patanjali

Such is the promise that is made in this world of possibility. It is indeed a new, great and wonderful world. There are no barriers. What really amazed me about Nik was that, being aware of the fact that there were definitely going to be challenges to deal with, for example the mist, the roars of the waters below, the loneliness he’s prone to feel while he’s on the rope in the middle of an expanse of water, fear possibly of the likelihood of failing, the wetness of the rope which might cause a slip; he remained calm and he proclaimed that being on the rope was to him “a blessing”, “an opportunity”.

This world of possibility begins with the pronouncement of these words, reminiscent of Martin Luther King Jr, “I have a dream”. And for two years, he fought against comments that tried to discouraged him. Officials who were supposed to be responsible for handing him a permit bluntly denied with comments like: “Not in this lifetime”, but he kept fighting, and still did not give up his dream! He has this to say, and I quote him loosely:

“People say I’m insane all the time, but they don’t get it, I love what I do”

His goal was to inspire others to dream, and not give up. And that, he’s certainly done!

On Day 3 of LeaderShape, we learned about the key dynamics of a powerful vision, which are:

It is vivid – something pretty clear

It is challenging – pretty much speaks for itself doesn’t it? Tough! Not easy!

It’s service directed – it’s a selfless act, for others.

It is expandable – it is something that can be built upon

It is compelling – there is no way you’ll be able stop people from talking about it! It resonates.

And if you analyze Nik’s vision, it certainly encompasses each of these key dynamics. I’ll end with this:

It’s tough and challenging, but we can all start to #WalkTheWire…one step at a time. Like he said, the first step is very very essential. It’s pretty much all that matters!

Culled from Wikipedia: As he was taking his first steps over the water he told reporters “It’s a beautiful view… A dream in the making.”

…Something he’s been dreaming about, like most of us,…since he was young (20 years to be exact!)

– 1:00 AM