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“When you understand that it’s foolish to look for fire with fire, the meal is already cooked.” –Wumen

I came across this quote in puzzlement. What exactly is that supposed to mean? Then it struck me as very clever.

How many of us spend our lives setting goals? Big or small, real or imagined, we reach for attainment of a better life. Goals are individual, because we all have our own sense of what that better life entails.  But when do we reach it? After what goal do we finally reach satisfaction?

Goals can be a very strong and positive influence in life.  We attain confidence and success as we achieve them. Yet often these goals can also become a distraction from the life we are already living. We’re so concerned with getting to the next step, that we don’t realize the step we’re on. There will always be a next step, and a step after that. But none of these steps will lead anywhere greater than what we keep inside. We all have a fire within us, and it’s then that we realize the meal is already cooked.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. — Henry David Thoreau

As I packed up the last of my things for yet another move this year, I came across a small framed picture bearing the quote above. I remember the first time I read those words, and how I fell in love. “Yes.” I thought. “That is for me.” And so the little black frame has  traveled with me in every different direction I felt my dreams were taking me.  

Now as I gear up for the latest direction, I read the words again. It sounds so simple. And yet…persuing my dream has left me distracted, frustrated, homeless, lost, broke… just to name a few.  In ten hours I’m moving to the East Coast and I’m shaking in my $2 flip-flop sandals. I barely have a hundred dollars in my bank account and I’m about to drive 20 hours by myself to live in a place I’ve never been. Again. Go confidently?

As I read my question again, I realize the answer can only be yes. It has to be. There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t follow a dream…and if you ever forget, just listen to the people around you. But truly believing in a dream means the rest doesn’t matter. Despite the missteps it takes to get there, no matter the falls or injuries, you just have to keep getting up and going confidently until you get there. You have one life; live it the way you have imagined.

SailingOne doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
Andre Gide (1869 – 1951)

I don’t think I slept much at all last night. Or, much at all this year come to think of it. I picture what Columbus must have felt as he set to sail. Did he have sleepless nights, wondering where his ship might go? 

While Columbus believed the world was round, most people of his Era were sure it was flat.  He could have listened to them. He could have silenced his inner belief and followed along. But instead, he chose to sail.

Once on their journey, Columbus and his crew battled starvation, volatile weather and deteriorating ships. Worse yet, his own crew lost faith in the mission and even plotted his death. But they persevered and eventually opened the Eastern world’s eyes to a whole new shore.

I know Columbus’ treatment of natives makes him a less than worthy role model, but I still find the scenario that surrounds his belief and his journey fascinating. If he can take his belief to the edge of the earth, through every obstacle and rocky condition, then perhaps I can feel a little more secure in my journey. Even when others doubt what I believe. Even when conditions make me nervous. I’ll choose to sail.

Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinion at all. –G.C. Lichtenberg

Once you form an opinion, you show that you care. And caring means you have to feel it when things don’t go your way. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my friends, “I wish I could just not care.”

But caring is also what makes us human. How dull would life be if we didn’t feel? Ironic that a main sign of depression is “loss of interest in normal daily activities,” or basically, not caring.

There goes our piece of mind.

“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” — Paulo Coelho

I give up.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that. Or how many times I’ve felt that. Or how many times I’ve heard that from other people. It’s like sometimes, everything is stopping us…no matter what, we can’t win. That must be a sign…right? It’s just not meant to be. So we let it go.

That’s when I think we syphon out our real dreams.  Because obstacles are just there to test how bad we really want something. And it stops the people who don’t care enough. So when we keep standing up, and keep fighting and finally get there, we can appreciate it that much more. So rather than get upset and angry at all of these barriers and problems… perhaps we can look at them as tests to see what we really want out of life. What are we willing to go that extra mile for?

Sometimes it's nice to stare into a reflection and get lost in that world...

Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him? –Calvin and Hobbes

Growing up, I looked forward to a lot of exciting things. Christmas meant Santa Clause and presents, Easter meant the Easter bunny and an egg hunt. Even losing a tooth was exciting, as I’d look foward to a visit from the tooth fairy.

Eventually, my big sister was kind enough to inform me that these were all creations of my parents. A whole new reality set in and I looked at things a little differently.

Every day we go through life assuming, accepting and believing things based on experiences and what we’re told. I guess we have to in order to live. But it’s obvious that reality is different for everyone, and can be altered at any time. I wonder how the world felt when they learned it wasn’t flat? How else will we alter our realities?

Profile of Time

Profile of Time

Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it. –Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989)

It is said that Salvador Dali would hold a spoon above a plate just as he was about to sleep. As he began to doze off, the spoon would clatter onto the plate and wake him, allowing him to vividly recall the dreamy state between the conscious and unconscious.

Dali’s story was told to me in 8th grade Spanish class. While I can’t remember many of my bilingual skills, this lesson stuck. I found him facinating. I’m sure I’m not alone, as Dali is a world-famous artist. But the principles and ideas behind his work seem just as intriguing as his visual arts.

We all try so hard to live up to expectations. Whether they are our own expectations, or the expectations of our parents, our bosses, our friends or lovers. What if we pushed those aside and started following our own path? Dali’s method was radical and probably seemed a little crazy. But look what he was able to achieve. If we stop thinking about perfection and just took shots in the dark, who knows where we might land.

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