Of Dreams and Deeds: One Year Later…

blog_anniversary1

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

…& 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.

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…

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

Father’s Day

First, I’d say Happy Father’s Day.

Now, on to the purpose of the post.

And I’m sure you’re probably wondering what in the world this blog about “dreams” and “vision”, and all that good stuff have to do with Father’s Day…Well, if you’d give me a few moment of your time, I’ll go ahead and tell you how.

Crucial to any kind of vision is building bridges to help you get to your destination…as opposed to burning said bridges. These bridges refer to our relationships in day to day lives. Build a sub par bridge, and the consequences are all too glaring. Therefore the strength of those bridges is highly important.

The most basic of relationship is the familial kind, it’s the first form of relationship one is introduced to when when opens one’s eyes to the world. It also has the capacity to determine how the course of one’s life will be. It’s pretty much very important, and without a shadow of doubt, the importance of the Father’s role in this familial setting cannot be overemphasized. Statistics will show you the devastating effects that the absence of this role in any family have on the society at large.

At LeaderShape, the first thing we learned about, on Day 1 was building community. This involved deciding what you’re going to do to get along with these people you haven’t met before in your life…who might I say, you’re stuck with for the rest of the week, in some obscure woods. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Well not so much, because then you realize that there are people who are different from you; in their approach to life, their values, their backgrounds, etc (What a shocker! Who knew, right?), and you had to learn how to not step on anyone’s toes…at least not intentionally!

This gave us, I believe an opportunity to share, and to accept and value the beauty and strength in diversity; that if we were all the same, we’d be better off as robots. However, this involved being open and willing to find similarity even in the midst of diversity…we’re human…at the very core at least! This allowed us to be vulnerable, to tell our individual stories, which I must admit was pretty tough. I mean, you’re sharing your life with strangers who you’re meeting for the first time! Awkward!

But no, really, this vulnerability, over the next few days we learned is a quality a leader (an effective one anyways) just has to possess. It is very needed. However interesting is the fact that most people see it as a sign of weakness… What was amazing about this experience was that I saw people who were rigid as a rock, and who saw crying as a weakness, open up and let the tears flow as they told their stories. It was amazing!

Now about Father’s Day. I have a lot of stories to tell really. I’ll admit that the bridge, which I was talking about earlier, between myself and my Dad is not that strong! And the little strength it had has over the years been weakened due to a boat load of factors, one of which is resentment. I have a lot of things I don’t want to forgive him for. It’s not like my Dad wasn’t present, he was there…but really I’m just like that was about it. At a point, I referred to him as figure-head father, who is just taking up the role because my real father wasn’t around…

Fast forward, and now I can see where he’s coming from with the help of my Mom who made me realize that a lot of his approach to life can be retraced back to how he himself was raised. That new understanding made me appreciate things I never did. My Dad I would say definitely didn’t get the chance to fully experience childhood…He was robbed of that due to the amount of responsibility he had while growing up; sending himself and his siblings to school, having to take care of them due to the fact that he was raised by parents who did not even get the chance at a decent education. The biography from my grandfather’s obituary says this word for word:

He could not complete his primary education because he was withdrawn from school by his father so that he could help him in the farm.

Now something I can definitely appreciate is his hard-work, and sacrifice. He made something out of himself, became a Psychiatric Nurse, and in an attempt at a chance for better opportunities in the United States, left all of that! Now would I have wished that he did not, absolutely…but if nothing else, for that I respect him. He made an attempt!

And if anything, I’m actually grateful I have a Dad!

This post has been in the draft folder since morning, and I was about to edit this to finally post it, but my Dad and I started having a conversation just now about how in the Northern part of Nigeria, if the child is a son, they are left to fend for themselves from a very young age…but if a female, they are taken care of in hopes to marry them off (and receive dowry) at as young as the age of eight! The mothers pretty much are responsible for taking care of their children, and the father who usually has more than four to five wives doesn’t feel any sense of obligation. I am nothing but grateful!

But anyways, present day: June 17, 2012, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve grown a lot…and all those crap that has built up over the years on this bridge can now be removed, and dumped where they belong…in the incinerator! It actually clears the space in other for one to journey to one’s destination…with ease too. From the book, The Art of Possibility, accompanied with the lesson I’d learned about being willing to be vulnerable (I didn’t mind being “soft”), I learned about the technique called “giving an A.” I talked about it here —->

And that is exactly what I decided to implement for Father’s Day, as a gift to my Dad.

And the interesting thing was that I actually did say the words: I LOVE YOU to my Dad, for the first time ever! It’s interesting because the culture I grew up in is the sort where words like those are not vocalized. Love is to be expressed through deeds as opposed to mere words, I admit, but sometimes saying those words does make a huge difference. By the way, my Dad responded with a Thank you …maybe the next time I say I LOVE YOU DAD, I would hear as a response, I LOVE YOU TOO, SON?

One cannot help but dream!

Just because I love to tie whatever I have to say to music, and plus the fact that I learned about love today at church… I’ll share below this awesome song that was recommended to me by an awesome friend of mine: