Of Dreams and Deeds: One Year Later…

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A year ago today, I started this blog, Of Dreams and Deeds. It was meant to chronicle my journey as a dreamer – the actions (deeds) I’m taking to make sure those dreams come true. This blog was created following my experience at LeaderShape. Read the ABOUT page to find out what that means. Really, there’s a couple of reasons to be excited that a year later I’m still writing on here.

First, this blog is more FOR me than it is for others. It’s enabled me to learn how to better navigate this often-bumpy terrain of dreams. I tend to forget…a lot, and coming back to read some of the things I’ve written over the past year has helped redirect my wheels back on the road I’ve steered off. 

Second, it’s the fact that there are people who actually care enough to read this blog. There are people I know, and there are people I don’t.

And without being as wordy as I tend to be, I want to thank every single person who has visited this page. I really don’t care how you got here – whether intentionally or by accident – I just want to believe that whatever you’ve read on here has contributed to your life in the smallest way imaginable.

Below is a snapshot of some of the places in the world where my blog has been read over the past year. It’s kind of exciting!

1 Year Anniversary Blog Visits

Of course, there’s still a lot to say about dreams. As long as I’m still alive, and still dreaming, I’ll keep saying all I have to say on this blog (to remind myself how beautiful it is to be a dreamer still) This is all in hopes that someone other than myself can join in the many quests that are yet to be made.

I could go ahead and say that I love everything I’ve written on here and that would be nothing but the truth. However, there are certain posts I find myself coming back to. And just to be honest, there are posts I don’t remember writing.

Judging by the number of views they’ve received, I’ll be sharing the most popular posts on the blog. Do click the titles and you’ll be linked to the original posts.

Here:

Exploration: It’s Human Nature

The post features a Red Bull clip about human exploration. It rightly assesses that “it’s human nature to want to explore, to find your line and go beyond it…” and reminds us that “the only limit is the one you set yourself”

The Makings of Me: On My 22nd Birthday

Man, I was so glad to be 22. The post mentions that “a lot of things I do today have been 22 years in the making. And still, I don’t think I’m there just yet…but there is no doubt that I am very close.” I shared a spoken word poem of mine then, and the words “Did you know, that I am not done?!” masked as a question continue to resound as a declaration for me to keep dreaming! Also, I decided to set some goals for myself (some of them I’ve managed to fail, some I’ve managed to accomplish)

My Deepest Fear

This is one of my favorite posts. It contains some of the most beautiful words I’ve written…EVER. It might have something to do with the fact that I actually truly believe those words. It speaks of “my greatest fear [which] is owning up to the fact that there is absolutely nothing ordinary about me.” I’ve realized from people who’ve read the post that I’m not the only one that suffers from this disease, Mephobia – the fear of becoming so awesome that the human race can’t handle it and everybody dies. Well…

I Wonder What My Bedsheets Say

I really do! “…Sometimes I wonder what my bed sheets say about me when I’m not around…” are words from Rudy Francisco. These are words from his poem, My Honest Poem. The poem influenced me to write my own honest poem – an attempt to UNMASK. In essence, this post is about integrity – doing the right thing when no one is looking; the right thing here, telling our stories exactly as they are. No edits! That includes being honest about our failures as well as successes. And if I were to be honest, I haven’t done a really good job at that. 😦

Possibility; It’s an Art

It speaks about the art of possibility, defined by myself as “The production, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance of anything that is possible!” This post is largely influenced by Benjamin Zander’s book aptly titled The Art of Possibility. I have 2 copies for myself, and I’ve given 4 copies out as gifts. If there is anything that speaks to the dreamer in all of us, it’s the fact that “every little thing is possible now”

Honorable Mention:

…& the tears keep flowing

This is a good followup to the post above. I wrote:

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.

In the post, I give you a glimpse into my life: Nights when I get derailed and lose sight of my dreams. And so, I cry. It features a picture of words from my Journal. Transparency at its best if I may say!  It was an attempt at telling my story the way it is, no edits a la the directives from I Wonder What My BedSheets Say…

There are other posts I’ve written on here that I am really proud of. Of course – being the human I am, not totally free from bias – I might as well give you a link here to every post I’ve written, but I’ll leave you to browse through the blog and find the ones you might enjoy for yourself. Besides, I’d like to believe that’s more fun.

To dream or not to dream: How about all these posts I’ve written on here compiled in a book format one of these days? I already know what I think, but I’d like to hear what you think. Yay? Or Nay? And thanks to WordPress! 1 years though?

1 Year Anniversary Blog

I Wonder What My Bed Sheets Say…

“…I know this sounds weird, but sometimes I wonder what my bed sheets say about me when I’m not around. I wonder what the curtains would do if they found out about all the things I’ve done behind their backs…”

This post is about integrity. Apart from the endless possibilities mind-frame we were taught to embrace at LeaderShape, we were also taught to lead with integrity. As leaders (anyone can be a leader, and we all are in one regards or the other. Leaders are not born after all, they’re made!) integrity is very essential. It’s what determines whether or not one deserve a following or not.

The dictionary defines integrity as:

soundness of moral character; honesty. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished

And truth be told, I can’t say that I’ve fully lived (or am fully living) a life of integrity. But part of being a person of integrity is being at least honest about that.

Honesty.

Authenticity, to be specific, is one of the five core values I was able to identify as important to me at LeaderShape. The other four are Service, Creativity, Balance, and Growth. So far, I have written about Service and Growth on this blog. (Click on the links to read about them)

The quote above is from a poet by the name of Rudy Francisco whom I revere so much . His poem titled “My Honest Poem” is one of  the major influences for the poem UnMask which I did for my birthday. The other influences being Miles Hodges’ Maskless, and Benjamin Zander’s book, The Art of Possibility. (Again, click the links)

Honesty. Transparency. These are qualities I absolutely adore (as anyone close to me would tell you), and sure this comes with a willingness to be vulnerable – to be considered weak. However, to be vulnerable requires a lot of strength. Try it once, if only once in your entire life! No excuses, no explanations, no apologies, nothing! Just your story!

And that is where integrity comes in. See, it’s quite easy to lie about oneself in a poem – either to paint oneself worse than one actually is, or better than one actually is.

Integrity (or character) after all is this:

doing the right thing when we think nobody’s looking.

And the right thing here is telling our stories exactly as they are.

No edits!

And I can assure you, my closed curtains have been witnesses to some of the countless wrongs I have done. Now if only they could talk…

Possibility; It’s an Art

The dictionary defines Art thus:

the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

It describes Possibility as:

the state or fact of being possible; anything that is possible

Combining both terms, as “The Art of Possibility” what we get is this:

The production, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance of anything that is possible!

Now ain’t that something? But the question is, what exactly is this art of possibility? I believe from the analysis above, it has to do with the fact that you can produce what is beautiful, because in the strictest sense, anything is possible.

Everything I talk about on this blog will relate back to my experience at LeaderShape, and this for me is definitely one of the highlights of that experience. Without it, this blog would definitely not be in existence. And I’d assume it’s a good thing that it is in existence. You can read the About to get a grasp of what I’m speaking of.

So enough with the preamble….

We were told at the first day of the retreat that LeaderShape’s vision had a lot to do with two major things, namely: leading with “integrity”, and “a healthy disregard for the impossible” – I translated this to mean “endless possibilities”. And to be honest, everything we did had something to do with those two terms. Now, I am a dreamer, so the endless possibility stuff attracted me, though in a very subconscious way. Now, I am also a self-conscious self-doubter, which means that I keep track of my failures, and disregard or fail to acknowledge my successes (most times, I don’t even see them at all). The failures and limitations are more glaring. Now, that chain was what the “healthy disregard for the impossible” was meant to break, and trust me it did break it.

We were told to think of a vision, and imagine that there was nothing stopping us from achieving it. We were told to dream, with no barriers…we were told to not see the sky, let alone see it as a limit. And I took the bait…

I refused to listen to the voices in my head that tried to dissuade me from dreaming. The calculating part of me nudged me to start thinking of my vision in terms of how “practical” or “reasonable” it is, but what I soon found out was that it’s unreasonable to weigh capacities in this realm of “endless possibilities”. Those words didn’t make sense anymore, everything was possible!

Having a vision allows one to be vulnerable. For me, it turned me to a little child…I was able to actually dream. Things I had told myself I wasn’t capable of doing, in an instant resurfaced, and I gained a renewed strength to pursue lost passions.

That my friends is what is called the Art of Possibility.

As with any type of art, there are techniques to be followed. Techniques are guidelines, and not hard and fast rules to be follwed. They only are there to give you a basic framework to work with, and after that, you can decide to in the metaphoric sense “step out of the box”, and break the rules. Many exciting forms of art have been produced by breaking the established rules. So what does this have to do with possibility?, you say.

Well, we’ve established that Possibility is an art, and it definitely comes with its own techniques that are meant to guide towards that realm.

It is in that light that I introduce you to this:

Benjamin Zander was one of the people we learned from and about at the LeaderShape retreat. His passion, and high energy for life is infectious. I, like most other people, thought he was crazy due to his highly optimistic approach to life. Life isn’t always that great, the cynic in all of us screams. However, in the realm of possibility, life can be…and that is what he aims to teach using humor, and other techniques.

So, on to those techniques.

Humor, as mentioned above is one of them. He calls it the Number 6 Rule: “Stop taking yourself damn too seriously”. Relax, enjoy life and when you make mistakes, throw your arms in the air and say “How fascinating”. (He’s crazy, I told you). This brings you out of what he calls the downward spiral, where you are in a rut of hopelessness and despair..no bueno.

“It’s all invented” is also another tool he talks about. This involves realizing that life consists of games that are invented, which can be recreated based on how we choose to tell our individual stories…and rather than playing a game of success/failure, where you are keeping scores, like me of how many times you’ve failed, you can decide to invent and play a new game. He calls that new game, I am a contribution game.

Quieting the voice in your head is a good one too, and it ties in with humor. I’m sure you’re familiar with those nagging voices, “you’re no good”, “stop dreaming, and wake up..smell the thorns on the roses” (yeah, they hardly point you to the beautiful things)…and it goes on. What he tells you to tell those voices is to say, “Thanks for sharing. I value your input, but I’m busy”

Others include, giving an A (which means that you should go ahead and award A grades to yourself and others, without consideration to merit or whether they/you “deserve” it or not), connecting with others in the sense of a community/collaboration, leading from any chair in the room…and the list goes on.

What this means is that you pretty much need to get the book…

I’ll end on this note, with a review of the book that captures the content of my heart , as written by Margaret J. Wheatley, Author of Leadership and the New Science, Coauthor of A Simpler Way, and President, The Berkana Institute.

The Art of Possibility makes a humane and brilliant future possible. I truly want everyone to read this book – it opens us to the treasure of our great human capacity for creativity. These practices are simple yet extraordinarily effective for tapping into the unlimited energy of the human imagination”

Okay, and now to really end for real… I hope it’s not cheesy to say that I came across this song from a commercial by Kraft cheese (get it?), and it represents all that possibility is. Music speaks for me when words can’t, honestly. So, press play, and I’ll see you beyond the skies!