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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.

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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.

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. –Eckhart Tolle

There are a lot of quotes on the past, the present and the future. It seems people are, in some form, always juggling the three.

There is the past, where all events and experiences shape us into who we are today.

Then there’s the future, for which we plan and prepare for.

And ultimately, you have the present…each ticking second that we’re in.  

I’d like to believe we can all find a way to live in the present. Enjoy each moment for which we have it. But factors from the past will always impact the present. And it’s true the future may never come… but what if it does?

That said, I think we can limit how much of the past and future we let into our lives. Take each moment for what it is. Stop dwelling on the past–we can’t change it. Stop worrying about the future–it doesn’t help. Instead, focus on the moments we’re in–it’s what we have.

Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like. –Lemony Snicket

Dinner at my parent’s house was never up for negotiation. “I’m not running a restaurant,” my mom used to say. “You’ll eat what we’re having.”

My parents made the best spaghetti. And stir-fry day was fabulous. But their meatloaf reminded me of cat food, and I was never too excited about green peas. Still…we ate what we were served.

As an adult, I can appreciate the different meals they made us. I had a healthy childhood with a variety of nutrients. Sometimes I liked it, sometimes I didn’t…but I can’t imagine the health issues I’d have if they would have catered to my sweet childhood requests.

In a less simple sense, I wonder if fate doesn’t work the same way. Sometimes we’re happy with what we get, and sometimes we hate it. And sometimes we think we know what we want. But when looking back down the road, how often are we suprised with the way things had to happen?

Nobody got anywhere in the world by simply being content. –Louis L’Amour (1908 – 1988)

I hate being upset. I hate when my friends are upset. Sometimes, I wish we could all just be happy all the time. But then, flashes of Pleasantville flicker through my mind and I’m brought back to reality.  

No doubt, it’s energizing when things are going well. However, it’s the bad times that truely helps us appreciate the good times so fully. And if life stayed chipper, there would be nothing motivating us to change, grow or move forward. 

This doesn’t mean we have to enjoy the hard times…but a little perspective and understanding can help us make the most of it.

“Thy friendship oft has made my heart to ache: do be my enemy for friendship’s sake.” — William Blake

I’m not sure how many people can relate, but this quote means it can’t be too obscure. 

I don’t know how the chemistry of friendship works, or what causes us to care about certain people, but it seems like once we do we’re stuck. No matter what they do, we can’t break the emotional tie. After being dragged through emotional mud, I think: If only I could not care. How do I walk away?

But I usually get a glimpse of the friendship we used to have, and it keeps me holding on. It’s just enough to keep me pulling for that person to come back, even when the emotional costs seem to out-weigh the gains.

If you haven’t guessed yet, drugs have played some factor in this. We all have to live our own lives. It’s just sometimes hard to care about people when they go their own way.

“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.” –Erica Jong

My decision to forgo all anonymity means I’ve given up the ability to be as open as I’d like about certain situations. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still express some of the effects.

Over the past year, I’ve been on a bit of a rollercoaster. Each time I’m on an upswing, life is great. Then comes the downswing, and immediately I run to a select few friends. I tell them all the messed up things that happend and how angry and shocked I am. At first, they’re equally shocked and angry with me. They commiserate, giving me all the advice I need to hear.

But then, without taking their advice, I’m back on an upswing again and I barely remember the down. Convinced everything fixed itself, I’m back on my merry way. Inevitably, the downswing comes back and I run back to my friends. By now they’re used to it, and though they’re still there for me, the shock factor has somewhat faded.

I’d be willing to bet we’ve all been in situations like this. We run to our friends (bless them) with our problems, in which they tell us exactly what we need to hear: dump him/her, get a new job, move out, etc. It’s reassuring to hear them say this, because it often backs our intuitive instinct. But throw emotions in the mix and the right answer is not always easy to follow.  So when’s the breaking point? When do we finally get off the ride and give in to the advice we know we should follow?

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.

Four of the five girls I worked with at the club.

Four of the five girls I worked with at the club.

“The most decisive actions of our life – I mean those that are most likely to decide the whole course of our future – are, more often than not, unconsidered.”

–Andre Gide

An argument errupted outside of a Hollywood club last night, with around 20-30 people standing nearby. In a matter of seconds, a body hit the ground and flooded in a pool of blood. The next few moments were a blur as chaos ensued. When the six girls we came with with were safely together, we tried recounting the steps of the night. Who stabbed him? Where did they hit him? And what started it?

 All we could conclude was that it happened so fast. Helicopters and police cars were combing the area. Meanwhile, we learned the victim had a severed spinal cord and would be paralyzed if he even survived.  In that split moment of anger, lives have been changed immeasureably.

It’s strange to think about how many things we ponder over endlessly… what should I wear? What should we have for dinner? Where should we go out? Then in a split second, without a thought, the course of our future can be changed.

“Security is a kind of death.” –Tennessee Williams

I used to think security made life less stressful. It seems obvious: If you’re secure in your finances, your relationship, your job… then what do you have to worry about? But then that’s just it: What do you have to worry about. Don’t get me wrong. In most cases, worrying is not something I welcome. But in some ways, it gives you a sense of purpose. Worrying is what pushes us to accomplish things. Think about it: Is there anything you’ve accomplished that wasn’t driven by some sort of worry? The worries that drive us to accomplish things are the milestones and adventures that make up our lives. Without them, wouldn’t things be boring?

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