Updated: Jan 15, 2019
I like to bring in the new year on the beach whenever I can. There is just something about staring into the sunrise on New Year’s morning that empowers me and sets the tone for the entire year. It also allows me to reflect, meditate, and evaluate the year expired. 2018 was a huge growth year for me. While I am sensitive and empathetic to the many trials that took place for so many people on so many personal, professional and political levels this past year, I have to speak my truth - that for me, overall, 2018 was great on almost every level. I actually achieved many of my dreams and exceeded others! I share this, not to brag, but to share how this year I was finally able to wake up to a sunrise with tears of joy rather than the tears of pain I had experienced so many New Year’s mornings before.
Although I was tremendously joyful on January 1, 2019, I recognized that I was only three New Year’s sunrises removed from a deeply troubled, and often combative love-torn relationship. Six New Year’s sunrises separated me from unemployment and what seemed to be insurmountable debt. Seven New Year’s sunrises ago I was gasping for air and sobbing over my son’s brain-tumor diagnosis, post-surgery disabilities and medical complications. I also reflected how I searched desperately for purpose and meaning in the New Year’s sunrise a dozen years ago, pursuant to my mother dying suddenly from a heart attack. How could I not smile this year? I had come through so much that I truly thought might kill me, years that left my mind stagnant, and my soul depressed. Here I am today, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, provisionally stable, joyful, peaceful and free. How did it finally all come to be?
Two years ago, I dared to dream. I don’t mean little tiny dreams. I learned to dream big, and to keep on dreaming! Well sure, there were a lot of other factors, but the biggest one was learning how to dream, no matter how bad things became. Dreaming is the optimist’s sword. During very challenging experiences over the years, I found myself in really deep moments of agonizing over everything. This was crazy, because I had always prided myself in being such an optimist. I failed to realized at times I had become depressed. I believe it was because I had stopped dreaming. Countless days were filled with monotonous negativity. I was just getting by, and then wondering why I wasn’t ever making progress. It was a perpetuating cycle of doom. Each time I got knocked down, I found myself wallowing in misery until at my wit’s end, I would find myself literally sick and tired of the hopelessness. Two years ago, I looked back and began to recognize that going to the beach was the one place over the years I could go to dream, even if only for a little while. I imagined myself in a better place, doing, seeing, feeling, tasting, and experiencing everything I believed a better life would hold for me. In that reflection time, I realized the longer I failed to allow myself to dream, the deeper and more extensive my troubles seemed to last. So I began dreaming more often. The beach was not just something I wanted to do. It became something I absolutely needed to do. It was home to my dreams.
I also learned that dreaming alone was not enough. I had to give my dreams wings! Your dreams need two wings to fly, to become reality. The first is faith. You absolutely must believe with all that you are that a “better place” is possible. I had come to learn that what I dreamed would not - could not - be of my strength alone. In the midst of my challenges, I was positive I didn’t have any strength of my own. But maybe that was part of the lesson too. If I had the strength, I’d probably be trying to do rather than dream. Maybe it was okay to feel powerless, so I could actually stop long enough to humble myself and ask God to please share his strength! He’s got plenty, and he is always willing to share! Each time I would ask, I would receive – never on the timing I thought I wanted, but always on the timing I would later discover I needed. It’s amazing how that dream wing of faith works things out!
The second wing is fortitude. Believing was important, but not enough. I had to absolutely work like I had already been guaranteed everything I dreamed was on its way, and simply required my passionate work ethic to facilitate its safe and welcomed arrival. It’s like knowing the pizza delivery guy is coming, but you still won’t get that pizza if you don’t hear the doorbell, get up to walk to the door, open the door, and pay for it! Unlike pizza, however, dreams are free! You can put on them any toppings you like! I love that about dreaming! Just be mindful, not all toppings are good for you, so order wisely.
Here’s what I want you to understand. You have to actually order your dream pizza. Then you must have faith your dream will be delivered. Finally, you must have the fortitude to open the door and pay for the dream pizza, and whatever else is necessary on your part to complete the delivery process. If for whatever reason, that dream pizza didn’t get delivered, don’t get discouraged, because guess what? There’s a good chance you may have a freebie coming! It may be a little later, but it might also be better than you even imagined! Other times, you just have to order another one. Dreams are like that. You can always order another! Failure isn’t realized because your dream never materialized. Failure is realized when you stop dreaming. Only then do you deny yourself the opportunity to savor a better life.
Whatever you are going through, if you have found yourself in a place where all your thoughts are negative, and you have lost hope. I ask you, what do you dream about your life to be? Meditate on that until you are sure. Are you willing to trust it and work toward it as though it is already on the way? That is faith and fortitude in action. My life mantra has become “Trust your Vision and Play though the Foul” for a reason - because I realized in my deepest valleys, if I could first just dream, create the vision of the mountaintop, I had a fighting chance. I could win. Your desire or strong work ethic cannot fuel a dream that doesn’t exist.
This year, I hope you will dream. I hope you will have faith in that dream, and I hope you will find the passion, strength, courage, and wisdom to go after and play through any foul that might keep you from achieving that dream.
So, let us toast to the new year! - Here’s to beaches, and sunrises, and really, really good pizza! Yes, here’s to Dreams with Wings for 2019!
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