"So many of our dreams at first seem Impossible,
then they seem Improbable,
and then when we Summon the Will,
they soon become Inevitable."
Newsflash: The economy is a mess!
OK, now that's out of the way. Can we talk? Since the world seems to be unraveling and everyone's walking around like a bunch of pretzels, all contorted and screwed up in our bodies and minds because we're scared you-know-whatless, it occurred to me that now might just be the perfect time to haul out those big dreams you packed away, gave up on, or never even started. This could be the perfect moment pick one up, dust it off and go for it. Seems we all have a whole lot less to lose than we did six months ago. So why not?
Actually the spark of this idea came from a reader, livelovelaugh14, in response to last week's post: What Would You Do If You Knew You Couldn't Fail? LLL14 responded with: "I would get a new dream". Great idea! Thanks! That got me to thinking about the kind of dreams we dare not to dream.
You know, the ones so big and overwhelming, so scary and seemingly impossible, you can't even begin to wrap your mind around them? I'm talking about the kind of dreams that make your toes curl and your stomach churn and make you ask yourself, " Who do you think you are to have such a dream?"
Good question! But how about this: "Who do you think you're not?"
What's the story you tell yourself about why your dream is impossible? You're too old, too young, don't have the right education or experience? You don't have the money, the time? Nobody would support you, you don't have enough self-discipline? You're not worthy or deserving? You might fail so why bother? You might succeed and then what?
Or how about the latest primo excuse for not _______ (fill in)? "In this economy......"
"Dreams are the answers to questions that we haven't yet figured out how to ask."
The Story of Phillipe Petit- Man On Wire! And Oscar Winner
This is the story of one man's impossible dream. He did something no one in the world had ever done before or will ever do again. It's impossible! Listen to this.
Phillipe Petit is a French"wire walker". As a young boy, Petit dreamed of dancing on a high wire, but settled for a rope strung between two trees instead. (Last week, we imagined being on a wire. This week, we're actually going there with someone who lives on one.)
Phillipe spent his much of his adult life as a street performer, and spent hot summer days performing on the streets of Paris, juggling balls and fruit, while riding a unicycle. But this was child's play for him. His sights were set much higher. Literally.
Petit was a bit of a rascal, to put it mildly. To live his passion required that he take his street performances to the farthest edges he could imagine and he almost always ended up being arrested at the end of each act, for what he did was clearly outside the law.
One day, while visiting his dentist because of a toothache, he picked up a magazine in the waiting room and read a story that would fire his imagination and take him to a place no human being has been before or will be again. He began to dream a dream that looked completely impossible, which to his way of thinking meant, "Go for it". So he made a plan and set to work.
After many years of dreaming, planning and false starts, on August 7, 1974, Petit, together with his team of co-conspirators, managed to rig a wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trace Center and spent 45 minutes dancing on it, before the police threatened to pluck him off it with a helicopter and he chose to come off on his own.
His amazing story is the subject of the 2008 documentary, Man On Wire! which just won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. In accepting the award, the director, James Marsh, told the audience, "Nothing is impossible". Then, Petit, in typical fashion, bounded up on stage and gave the shortest acceptance speech in Oscar history. Here it is:
It just doesn't get much better than this!
If you think your dreams are too far out of reach, this 10-minute video montage of Petit's story might change your mind and make you a believer. Behold!:
Any questions? The man who danced between the towers now can only dream of what he did, for the towers didn't even exist when he caught the dream, and now no longer exist. This is indeed Oscar winning material! But what about you? Let's explore how you might pull off your own impossible dreams.
5 tips to help you get started:
( There are many tips to share, too many for one post. So next week we'll look at 5 more. In the coming weeks, we'll flesh each one out in detail. So stay tuned.)
1) Find something tangible that represents your dream. It should be something that evokes the dream in your body, mind and spirit and calls forth your passion. It might be a photo, or a page torn from a magazine, like Phillipe did at the dentist's office. It could be a small statue or object. Put your dream in tangible form.
2) Create a sacred space for your object with the intention of incubating your dream. You might choose the top of a bookcase, a shelf or a dresser top. Include a beautiful piece of fabric upon which to place candles, photos, statues, flowers; whatever brings you back to your dream vision and fires your imagination. (There's much more to explore here. This is a big one!)
3) Declare your dream to a community of kindred spirits who will say "yes" and will support you finding the path. (This is another "big" one)
I've created a group on Facebook called The Impossible Dreamers. Anyone can join. Come start an impossible dream revolution! Use this space to declare your dream and ask for support getting there. Invite your friends. Think of the energy you'll bring to your dreams when 100's of people are holding your vision with you. If you're not yet on Facebook, jump on. It's up to you how much or how little you use it. It doesn't have to take over your life. Make it work for you. In a pinch, you can always come back here and play Petit's acceptance speech.
4) Don't be attached to how you get there. Philippe and his co-hort, Jim Moore, were stopped by the security guard at the elevators on their first attempt to get to the top of the tower. So they decided to walk to the top. 110 floors! There's more than one way to get from A -Z, or even A-B, so don't get stuck on the mechanism. Chances are, you'll have to re-invent the path 100 times. Or 101.
5) Be willing to do whatever it takes. . Impossible is only a word. It's not a fact. Re-interpret what it means. Remember, Petit began by acknowledging that his dream was surely impossible. Then he said, "OK, let's get to work." And he did. Keep in mind however, "doing whatever it takes" could have adverse consequences if you don't stay smart. So be smart and don't compromise your integrity or inflict harm on others.
Come to think of it, these are all really big, important things to keep in mind. There's so much more to say than can be contained in a single blog. That's why I hope you'll stay tuned and come back as we'll be following this thread for several weeks. And invite your friends to join us!
Here's my impossible dream: to write a best selling book that makes a difference in people's lives and be on Oprah! Kind of like the more "seasoned' version of Elizabeth Gilbert, with a few twists thrown in just to make it interesting. Why not? (Small detail: the book's not written yet, but I've taken the first steps, so consider it done). The writing part doesn't seem impossible but the Oprah part? Well, let's just say I've got some work to do. So let me get busy. Oprah, are you listening?
Til next time, if you have stories about people (maybe even you!) who pulled off what they thought was impossible I'd love to hear about it. Please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. They might even end up in my book!
Also, let us hear about your impossible dreams. What's the dream that's so big, you dare not dream it? What are you saying "no" to? What's in the way of "yes"? How do you imagine your life would be different if your impossible dream came true?
And thank you for being part of this vibrant community of readers!