Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reluctant Dreamer

I love how big my dreams are. They’re all-consuming and inspiring and larger than life. They are dreams that have the power to inspire countless others. And what’s more is they’re dreams that really matter – not just to me, but to an entire generation. I feel excited and blessed to own such a massive vision.

I am also terrified, overwhelmed and completely unequipped to have even the vaguest clue where to start, or even if I WANT to start. And I KNOW you know what I’m talking about!

Most of us eke out our daily existence in this phantom zone of “getting there one day” - if we still have the courage to at least hold onto that hope. For many others, the hope has been crushed in the daily grind of life. We know that we once had this “thing” that ignited a raging fire within us, but we’ve convinced ourselves that the thing is no longer that important, that it no longer has the ability to change the world.

But if we’re brutally honest with ourselves, “the thing” is still great and beautiful, honorable and noble. What’s lost its glitter and glamour is US. The invincible, powerful heroes of our youth that could do and be anything have become desk clerks and middle managers, run-down moms and tired dads. The princes who could slay dragons and the princess warriors who fought nobly at their side have been relegated to the scrap heap of life.

I am in the process (yet again!) of rescuing that beautiful part of who I am from the scrap heap, dusting it off and trying desperately to breathe some life into it. The truth is that as frightening as the thought of failing hopelessly in my quest to fulfill this giant of a dream is, the thought of living a life devoid of the deepest levels of passion and fulfillment seems imminently more devastating.

And so here I sit, late on a Wednesday night, with the sound of vuvuzelas blaring all around me (South Africa is playing Uruguay in the World Cup), trying to revive a latent aspiration to write something truly individual, inspiring and edgy. I have spent the large part of today dealing with a whiney, snotty 2-year old who has recently discovered the ability to use toddler-logic in his dealings with me (case in point: “Mommy, I can’t sleep because my hair is sore”)… enough said! I am getting strange looks across the toy-strewn lounge (cleaning lady not in today) from my husband, who is evidently wondering what epic catastrophe could induce his wife to be working away on her laptop at 9pm on an icy winter’s night. And of course the game is incredibly tempting…

My point is that reclaiming your dream is no simple task. Forces will conspire against your every move, you will discover that YOU are your biggest nemesis and you will spend at least every other day wondering if any of this is worth it. The truth is that although I have a vague suspicion that it is worth everything you can give and more, I can’t offer any real guarantees. What I do know is that sitting here tonight, in spite of my exhaustion and reluctance, and finding the words to match the thoughts and fears warring in my head, has been the most rewarding moment of a long and tiring day.

I leave you with these moving words from Marianne Wilson’s “A Return to Love”:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What is a regular revolutionary?

Today I emerged from a drug-induced sleep (drug of choice being panado as that's all I'm allowed at 21 weeks of pregnancy) to the sounds of my 2-year old son whining for chocolate - at 6 in the morning. It goes without saying that this is a delightful way to start the day, but let's face it: it doesn't exactly fit the descriptor of "revolutionary", does it?

So that's where the "regular" part comes in handy. Regular because every revolutionary, from Nelson Mandela to Bono, still has to muddle through every day life and its incumbent challenges. As much as we want to be the people on the cutting edge of life, trailblazing the way for countless others to follow us into new and exciting adventures, we are still just human beings who need to eat, sleep and brush our teeth. Aaaah... the glamour!

But wade through all of that surface run of the mill stuff and you'll discover that we have dreams and passions that could incite entire nations, move mountains, and of course, change the world. We're dreamers and thinkers. Our plans are always bigger than we can ever capture with mere words. We live in a world where poverty and
injustice are simply dragons that we need to slay as we triumphantly march through the epic journey that is our life. Nothing is unattainable. Everything is subject to the power of our will.

So whilst we're living out our quietly ordinary lives as slaves to the whims of 2-year olds and prisoners of war to insurance call centre agents, we are also fighting for a future that promises more. More life, more boldness, more fun and adventure, more passion and fireworks, MORE!!!

Rest assured my fellow revolutionaries, your quest is not in vain. There are many, MANY others just like you who march to the steady drumbeat of a life less ordinary. Men and women who have gifts and passions that are just bubbling beneath the surface, waiting to erupt into the routine of life and infuse it with big things. I am one of them... just your regular revolutionary.