Dream Crushing

I used to know someone who seemed to delight in crushing others’ dreams. When I was young, she approached my mother, all concerned, because I talked about wanting to be a teacher, when the week before I wanted to be something else. My mother responded, “She’s a kid. She’s supposed to try different ideas on for size. Let her be.” (That was probably one of my mother’s finest moments. Thanks, Ma.)

This person went on to have children of her own, and it broke my heart the way she used to deprive them of all hope. When one of her kids said she wanted to be a singer, she was told that you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than become famous.

While that may be true, the message she was sending was, “Why even try? You won’t be good enough.” Because of that, that girl grew up and singing isn’t a part of her life. She might have been famous. Or she might have sung in the church choir and made lifelong friends that way. Or she might have become a music teacher. So many paths were cut off from her life thanks to her mudslide of a mother.

When another one of her kids showed aptitude in one area above all others, she tried her best to discourage him, because it wouldn’t be an easy career. But he lived and breathed it. He did manage to get halfway into it, but never went the distance. I often wonder where he’d be if he had gotten just the tiniest bit of encouragement from the woman he admired most.

It’s so much easier to crush someone than to lift that person up. When you crush, gravity is on your side. But I hope you’ll resist the urge.

Watching people fly, even if it’s away from you,  even if the destination remains just out of reach for them, is much more satisfying than having to scrape them off the sole of your shoe.

lift

An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Awe

awe

[aw]
noun
1.

an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration,fear, etc., produced by that which is grand,sublime, extremely powerful, or the like.
_________________

Dear readers, I have to say that it is truly wonderful to be a human being. For many reasons. Not the least of which is our ability to be self-aware. Even as you read this, you can easily imagine yourself looking down at yourself as you gaze at the screen. Other animals can’t do this. That’s why cats and dogs get so confused by mirrors. They have no concept of themselves as separate entities.

What a gift this is! Because of this self-awareness, we are also able to be very aware of others as well. We can be in awe. We can appreciate skill and kindness and talent and compassion. We can try to be better people based on what we see as valuable qualities in those we admire.

I absolutely love to be in awe of other people, because it means I’m open to possibilities. It means that it isn’t over for me. There’s always something to strive for, something to aspire to.

And if, like me, you believe in the interconnectedness of all things, then being in awe is even more priceless, because it means that there are things in this wholeness of which we are a part that are pure and good and wonderful to behold. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel really good about me, and about all of us.

Just something to think about during your next traffic jam.

Awe
Awe? Awwwww… [Image credit: psychologytoday.com]

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When you are young, people ask you that question all the time. Unfortunately that gives you the impression that someday you will actually know the answer. Poppycock. Most of us never do. That’s the great secret that no one tells you.

Maybe that’s best, because how can you face the world if you realize that you’ll never reach your goal because you haven’t a clue what that goal is? I envy those who find a calling and successfully pursue it. But they are the exceptions.

As a child, my stock response to that question was always, “I want to be a teacher, because then I can yell at all the kids.” That always got a laugh. I like making people laugh. I never really wanted to be a teacher. I don’t even like children. Good thing I had the sense to never have any.

While it’s good to make plans and work toward something, the fact is that most of us kind of stumble into our lives by accident. The question I like to ask adults is, “Did you ever think that this is what you would be when you grew up?” I’ve never had anyone answer that in the affirmative. Not even once.

So perhaps the road to happiness isn’t pursuing your dreams but rather learning to find joy in the present moment. Don’t focus on the destination, but rather revel in the journey. That way your dreams will come true every second of every day.

I-Dont-Want-To-Grow-Up

[Image credit: iwantcovers.com]

Running Away or Running Toward?

Man, oh man, but somebody pissed me off on Facebook the other day. She accused me of running away because I moved from Florida to Washington. I tried to remind myself that this was a late night comment from someone who was probably full of liquid stupidity, especially since the comment had absolutely nothing to do with the post it was attached to, but it still infuriated me.

First of all, this was a distant relative who probably wouldn’t even recognize me on the street and has not been the least bit supportive of me during even one minute of the 49 years I’ve been on this planet. She knows me not at all. And she has no idea about the life I’ve lived or the dreams I’ve dreamed.

Second, to be running away from something, you first have to have something, and I had nothing left in Florida. So what, pray tell, would I have been running away from? Nothing. Just because I haven’t stayed within the state in which I was born for my entire life does not mean I’m running.

I agree that geography is not going to solve your basic problems. They tend to travel with you. But why begrudge someone the chance to start over, start fresh, make a big change in the hopes that perhaps things will look slightly more like one’s aspirations? Maybe what I’m doing is running toward something. What’s wrong with that?

If I really were running away, I sure picked a stupid place to run. I don’t know a soul here, I have no support network, I left a job where I was considered one of the most reliable, competent and trustworthy people to a job where I’m struggling to prove myself, and to do all this I’ve racked up a $9,000.00 debt and my Indiegogo campaign appears to have come to a screeching halt. Sometimes I just wish there were someone here to give me a hug, to tell me everything is going to be okay, but there’s no one.

And yet I keep getting up in the morning and trying some more. There’s a good chance I won’t succeed. God knows it wouldn’t be the first time. But at least I’m trying. That takes guts. Sometimes I think it was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but I keep trying. If I were the type to run, I’d be running right freaking now.

So call me a runner again. I dare you.

WhenTheHerdIsRunningTowardACliff

[Image credit: tomgrimshaw.com]

I Dream of Earthships

Standing on the precipice of 2014, I can think of no better day to talk about the dreams and aspirations I have for the future.

For the past 30 years I’ve wanted to live in sustainable housing. There is a growing sustainable housing movement in the world. People are tired of paying electric and water bills, and relying on heating and air conditioning. They want to live simply, and off the grid. They want to have less of an impact upon the planet.

I’ve been reading about these houses for decades. Rammed earth houses. Cob houses. Houses made from hay bales. But the one design that appeals to me most, the one that has sparked my imagination since the very beginning, is the earthship.

There’s a basic article about earthships that you can read here, but suffice it to say they are completely self-sufficient, from the water treatment systems to the solar and wind power generators. They’re attractive and creative and comfortable, stay at a steady 70 degrees year round, and they even include indoor gardens. You can live sustainably and comfortably at the same time. It can be done.

I’ve been trying to get to the point where I can live in a rural North Carolina community in an earthship for time out of mind. Something always seems to get in my way. I hope this is just the universe’s way of making me appreciate it even more once the goal is achieved. Time will tell. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with these amazing photos to spark your imagination.

earthship_biotecture_overviewearthship-biotecture11024px-Interior_of_the_Solaria_Earthship   mmw_earthship_0908 earthshipoverview

It’s Worth a Shot #1:Touching a Tiger

Ever since I wrote the blog entry about writing a bucket list https://theviewfromadrawbridge.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/a-living-breathing-bucket-list/, I’ve been kind of overwhelmed by the number of things I’ve longed to do but may never achieve. Last night it occurred to me that in some cases I might achieve my goals by simply asking. So occasionally on this blog, you’ll find entries called “It’s Worth a Shot”, in which I’ll write completely insane letters to people who will have absolutely no reason to comply with my requests, but, hey, the worst they can say is no, right? And there’s also the remote possibility, what with six degrees of separation, that one of you may read this and be able to help me out. You never know. If I get any responses to these letters, or I get to achieve one of my dreams, I’ll definitely let you know in my blog! Here’s the first letter. (Some identifying information will be blocked out, because you could be a stalker. You have that look about you. )

To: xxxxxxxx, Senior Veterinarian,Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Dear Dr. xxxxxxx:

I have been a bridge tender here in Jacksonville since 2001. I currently open the xxxxxx and the xxxxxxxx Drawbridges. Sitting in one place 8 hours a day and looking out the window at the same view gives you a great appreciation for the natural world. I watch the migration of birds, and the passing of the dolphins, the gators and the manatee. The opportunity to be able to observe this makes me feel like one of the luckiest people on earth.

Having said that, and as I’m sure you can imagine, my income is a great deal more modest than I would like it to be, so I don’t get to visit the zoo very often. I also have a great many dreams and aspirations that I’m beginning to realize I’ll probably never get to achieve in my lifetime.

One of the things I’ve done while sitting up here on the bridge is create a “bucket list”—things I’d like to do before I die. Most of these things are way beyond my reach, but it occurred to me the other night that I have absolutely nothing to lose by asking for assistance in achieving some of my goals.

That brings me to the point of my letter. One of the things on my bucket list is to touch a tiger. Now, I know that the Jacksonville Zoo does not have tigers, but you do have other big cats, so I’m writing to ask you if by any chance I could be present the next time you have to sedate one of them for a medical procedure, even if only for a moment or two, to touch it’s fur and maybe take a picture. I long to see for myself if the fur of a big cat is soft or coarse. This type of generosity on your part would mean the world to me, so I’d appreciate it if you’d take in into consideration.

Sincerely,

xxxxxxxx

Cross your fingers, everybody!