…& 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.”

Exploration: It’s HUMAN NATURE

Let me start by saying this:

I love YouTube

And yes, you can quote me. There are amazing things I’ve found while (you saw it coming) “exploring” this site – music, poetry, funny videos, pranks, and the list is endless…

Anyways, I was in the library last Monday listening to music, when I was interrupted by one of those annoying ads, …except this one wasn’t. That rarely happens, but I’ve had moments where I was able to come across an ad clip that redirects my focus, or takes me to a world I haven’t explored before.

This clip was one of such. And it’s beautiful. The clips begins, accompanied by beautiful orchestration playing in the background, with these words:

“I think it’s human nature to want to explore, to find your line and go beyond it…”

It speaks to the heart of all of us who identify as dreamers, it speaks of the ART OF POSSIBILITY.

And it ends with these words:

“The only limit is the one you set yourself”

I said somewhere on this blog, that:

“Possibilities are endless…hence there is no limit. When next you hear someone say “the sky is the limit”, I give you permission from now on to give them a open palm slap across their face…”

At only a minute, enjoy the clip below:

HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2013 GOALS, etc…

It’s not too late to say Happy New Year, I hope. It’s still a new year after all.

With that being said, I have mapped out some of the things I hope to accomplish this year, 2013. When I turned 22 last year, I decided to pen down some areas I’d like to see changes in my life. Sure, some of them are trivial, and some of them don’t even make any sense, but it’s all for the purpose of developing a holistic self. Since most of my 22nd year falls into this new year, I’m keeping these goals, with of course a few adjustments – additions, subtractions etc.

Here:

Just know that if you're reading this, I have enrolled you into my team (yes, without your consent. You're welcome!) and you're responsible as well as accountable to making sure I achieve these goals by this time next year. So check up on me to see how I am doing on them. Thanks.
Just know that if you’re reading this, I have enrolled you into my team (yes, without your consent. You’re welcome!) and you’re responsible as well as accountable to making sure I achieve these goals by this time next year. So check up on me to see how I am doing on them. Thanks.

Goals, visions, and dreams are beautiful, however, it’s clear from the motto of this blog that:

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”

So, surely deeds (actions) will have to accompany these dreams we all have for the new year 2013.

Just in case you’re interested, I decided to look back through the last year and did a year in review by documenting some of the highlights of the year. I’m halfway done, and you can click HERE to read the FIRST PART. Soon, I’ll be finishing up the 2012 year in review, and I’ll post it.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a great year. I know I will!!!

…This Close (Guest Post by @KarlNova)

Below is a guest post by a friend, Karl Nova. He blogs here at: http://karlnova.blogspot.com/ and from time to time, he brings up interesting topics for discussion on twitter: @KarlNova

The reason he’s posting here is because he’s a fellow dreamer. You can go ahead and ask him what he does…don’t tell him I sent you though!

Like I said (I wish!) posted somewhere on this blog:

“You, you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one

I hope some day you’ll join us…And the world will be as one” – John Lennon

…And he’s decided to let me post his piece on here as it relates to dreams, and disappointment. If you’ve ever dreamed, and attempted to take the little steps towards that vision, you probably do know what it feels like to be disappointed or discouraged. As you might have noticed by now, music is a significant part of this blog. I’ve posted songs, or lyrics on here…and the title of this piece is part of a line from a song I already posted here as a theme song for one of my core values – service; and I thought it was a befitting title for this piece.

It’s so frustrating when you’re…’this close’ – Alim Kamara

And I’m sure you do agree!

____________ . ___________ . __________________

Karl Nova begins:

Disappointment is a hard thing to deal with.

I hate being let down and I hate letting people down but both have happened quite a lot in my life and even though it sounds pessimistic, I know it will still happen again because you know that’s life innit?

Some who are more eloquent and loquacious than myself will tell you with more grandiose verbosity than I care to muster that “every disappointment is a Divine appointment with destiny” and I do believe that, it’s just that when let downs happen, it takes more than eloquence to numb the pain though it is helpful to be reminded that if we look closer it all could be a blessing in disguise as our wise mothers tell us with comforting tones and encouraging hugs.

The more disappointments happen, the more you try to protect yourself from them happening and what we do is lower our expectations or even walk around expecting let downs to happen even when there is no sign or hint of it. One might even start to reduce their hopes in the name of being “realistic” and one who was once a dreamer about possibilities over time hardens into what they call a “realist” and to be fair one must keep it real and try to be objective but like an old song by Les McCann says “trying to make it real compared to what?”

The thing is we can’t live like that and deep down inside we know this, even the greatest cynic knows this. The late great comedian George Carlin said:

“Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist”

…this is very true. If you ever meet a person that comes off as very cynical about everything, just dig deeper and you might probably unearth a story of someone who has been let down a lot in life. Either that or they have been around people who they have seen let down and seeing all that has affected how they see things generally.

Like I said we can’t live without hopes, dreams and aspirations even if sometimes those things seem like the proverbial carrot dangling from the proverbial stick leading us on. Yes indeed some dreams do seem like a mirage in the desert that you never seem to be able to reach but everyone needs something to aim for or you just live aimlessly with no purpose. No one can live for long like that, even if you don’t know what it is, you sense you were born for a reason. You sense that there is something more than the norm that you are seeing around you that you are here for.

Besides all this, there is the day to day survival that is happening regardless… and you are here, right in the middle of it. Everyday you wake up and life goes on. You are on a journey regardless. As long as you are breathing the journey continues. So my prayer for you and for me as we live is that God will guide us all. I pray that God will heal hearts that have suffered setbacks and that somehow by grace we turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

Yes I know it is not easy, yes I know it is easier said, tweeted, facebooked, instagrammed etc than done but we must do this. This one life we’ve been blessed to live on earth has no sequel here. Yeah YOLO and all that but that is not an excuse to live reckless, it is more of a call to treasure every moment you have. You can’t crawl back into your mama’s womb, you can be reborn into a life that extends into eternity though but hey that is a whole other blog 🙂

* * *

Ayo’s Note:

Granted, there are those who might stumble across this – who don’t believe in a god or don’t find prayer helpful in any way, but I do believe (nice word choice, right?) there are lots of things you’ll find helpful in what has been said so far!

I’ll close with these words that resonated with me:

“Everyone needs something to aim for or you just live aimlessly with no purpose. No one can live for long like that, even if you don’t know what it is, you sense you were born for a reason. You sense that there is something more than the norm that you are seeing around you that you are here for.”

Getting Out Our Dreams…

You might have at one point or another come across this slogan…but if not, then you can from today say you’ve come across it. G.O.O.D is the imprint of an egomaniac whom we’ve come to adore or at least hate more over the years…Easy to figure out of whom I’m talking about, right? You can call him someone who is full of himself, a megalomaniac, an arrogant idiot, a jerk, a jackass, or whatever adjective you may (which might be true to some extent), but one thing that cannot be doubted or undermined though is his passion for the often ridiculous dreams he has. In a society like ours where conventions are applauded, which extends to music and “art” – two major things he’s passionate about, he breathes for the sole purpose of breaking those molds. He’s almost become the first to take a particular route;  and then everyone else follows suit.

Me thinks by now you should really know who I’m talking about….and if you don’t, well I’m sorry!

Now what does this have to do with this blog? It should be clear since this is a blog about DREAMS after all. As I said in the post before this (click, you’re welcome),

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.

“You, you may say  I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one I hope some day you’ll join us And the world will be as one” – John Lennon

So be on the lookout for amazing friends of mine who will come here to share with you the things they are passionate about. For the most part, it’ll ease me from having to bother you guys with what I have to say (what a relief that is!)

And if you’re passing by here, and think you would like to share things of which you’re very passionate about – your dreams!, send me an email @ ofdreamsanddeeds at gmail dot com so we can share with the rest of the world, and they’ll hopefully find your deeds towards achieving your dreams helpful enough to emulate as they journey to achieve their dreams as well.

We are ready, to Get Out Our Dreams. The world is ready to hear us (or at least I think this enormous cheering sound is indication enough that it’s time for your voice to be heard…so speak on!)

My Deepest Fear…

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

I am sitting here at the library and thinking to myself, I can’t lie to myself anymore. I am absolutely tired of it. I can’t pretend anymore that I don’t see streets paved with Gold (on this earth mind you) on which my feet will soon walk on… I can’t pretend anymore that I am nothing special. I can’t lie to myself anymore that I don’t have something to offer the world…that I am not needed here. That I have nothing to contribute.

And the greatest fear of mine is to live up to this truth of my uniqueness. There is a spark that has been deposited in me by my Maker, a light that is not meant to be hidden under a bushel. My fear is coming to terms with the reality that I have a voice the angels in Heaven envy, the kind of voice that mountains are more than willing to echo. My fear is being able to stand up confidently in front of the thousands of people I see before me, and being able to believe them when they tell me that they are here to hear what I have to say….

And I have to say, at this moment, I have to try and sniffle as hard as I can to prevent this drop of tear developing in the corner of my eyes from falling down…I’ll excuse myself after I finish writing this!

My greatest fear is owning up to the fact that there is absolutely nothing ordinary about me. And I am sitting here at the library, thinking to myself, “why did it take this long?”

Why did it take this long, to realize that “my playing small does not serve the world.“, that “there is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around me.

And so, today I let those fears go….

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

This is in the spirit of the lessons I’ve learned through my LeaderShape experience, coupled with a lot of self-reflection, especially over the past month. I started keeping a Gratitude Journal at the beginning of this month, and I was stupefied as to how much of life I actually missed before now…the simple little things we count as insignificant! Like the smile of a child, the hellos said by strangers, the fact that someone said “thank you” for something you did for them, laughter, music, poetry, running in the rain, the fact that I had something to bite on, the fact that I was able to run, and catch the bus before it passed by me….

And today, just in the space of 12 hours…I received two news that reminded me that there is something in me that others see, which I’ve refused to see for a long time.

One: One of my poems, which I wrote as a memorial for the victims of the Dana Air Crash that happened on June 3rd in Lagos, (my country) Nigeria, was selected to be included in an Anthology meant to commemorate Dana Airlines Flight 9J-992 from Abuja to Lagos, Sunday June 3, 2012.

Two: The mid-course evaluation of my Philosophy Professor, who at the end of his helpful comments wrote: “Keep up the overall consistently strong work” This is a very challenging class, as a boatload of work has to be done over a period of 5 weeks. Gruesome to say the least! And so far, I’m in the A minus range, and it might stay that way if I, according to my Professor again, continue to “keep up the good work in class!”

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. – Marianne Williamson

As for me, I am done with being fearful of how awesome I am…

MEPHOBIA: Fear of becoming so awesome that the human race can’t handle it, and everyone dies.

…And I give you permission to go do the same.

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…which leads us all to the next chapter of this journey.

More about that soon….

In the meantime,

If your heart turns blue, I want you to remember
This song is for you, and you are full of wonder