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I've been told I'm idealistic and unrealistic..."Ouch, don't hurt my feelings!" I reply with sarcasm. Like that is a reason not to dream or a reason to become cynical. And, believe me, I can be jaded and cynical...but I do believe that the world will always give me what I need. After all, I live in Red's World: A very happy place, where dreams come true and you get everything you always wanted.
But you can't have everything without the cost of hoping or without paying the price of following your truth. I know that as long as I'm truthful to my dreams and live within my values of integrity, I will have no insecurities about the life I lead. And the integrity I speak of is not the same as following a certain set of standards. It's that feeling in your heart when you trust your gut. It's that vast intuitive knowing that we all have if we just listen. We know when we're fooling ourselves or being dishonest in our lives even if by all standards we appear to be upstanding.
Sometimes we blind ourselves because we a create a framework within which we define ourselves and structure our lives. And when we come across opportunities or possibilities that do not fit into this structure, we see them as unrealistic dreams or we don't notice them at all.
Like a camera cannot capture the entire experience, we look at life through a lens that only frames part of the picture. We're only facing one direction. But if we open ourselves up to possibilities that exist in all directions ...that's reality.
The fear is that in stepping outside the framework, we run the risk of being misunderstood, hurt or even wrong. Oh yeah, and many may disapprove. That's why it's called breaking boundaries, pushing the envelope, living outside the box (in my case - everyone wants to be in my box...but that's another story for another day). Seriously, great things come from those who scoff at limits and try to do what appears to be impossible.
Great minds don't let the fact that something is unrealistic get in the way of reality. Look at electricity, airplanes, going into space and putting a man on the moon. Jeez, we can even talk to someone on the other end of the world without ever meeting them using a tiny little box called a cell phone. Would anyone have believed that these things could happen before they did? No, only those who were determined not to allow "reality" get in the way of what's real. And that's just the big stuff.
On a smaller scale - by being an unrealistic, idealistic dreamer - I've always gotten everything I wanted in life, so why not this?
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I remember exactly where I was when the first plane hit the first Tower, then the second, and then the Pentagon, and then the crashing plane in PA. I think everyone who heard about it but wasn't next to it, and perhaps those who were, felt like they were in a dream like state...it simply couldn't be real.
These attacks, changed how we live - we're now willing, without question, have our bags searched when riding the subway; we gladly give up the right to carry certain items onto plane flights and
we come together to watch and help each other when danger could be close because we understand that we are all potential victims of catastrophe. And we do this all this without question, because the aftermath of 9/11 made us know our own vulnerability and appreciate our strength in ways we never had to before.
But it also changed our psych as a people by created a prescient for this kind of tragic human experience in our own back yard. Our children will not grow up in a world that doesn't know a time when the reference "Ground Zero" had nothing to do with the World Trade Centers. They will not know a world without these images. And youths in cities will never know a life without the expectation that it's part of being in the human community to tell someone if you see a suspicious package in order to keep others safe. Or that to have someone search our bags for possible explosives or weapons was once considered a violation of privacy. Or a world where we were the country who's national soil was free from great civilian losses due to international terrorism. For them, living with this is part of life as it's always been. But for those of us who lived through it, it was the end of the world.
After September 11, 2001, I reconnected with people in my life that I'd forgone communication with for one reason or another. I don't think I was alone in feeling that now was the time to honor those throughout my life who had been important to me, no matter what had transpired to separate us. It was a time of feeling helpless, where I would spend my days at the Red Cross, volunteering my time just to feel some sense of usefulness in the healing of a nation. And a time to reevaluate how we treat those we love and those we disagree with.
In New York today we remember the what happened in our City. The 9-11 Lights shine brightly into the night where the World Trade Towers once stood, honoring the victims and all of us who were changed by this. It's a day to acknowledge our heroes; both those who, for no other reason than it was their job, lost their lives walking up hundreds of flights of stairs in an attempt to get to those who were trapped; and those civilians who volunteered for the days and weeks that followed, to go through the rubble of ground zero to see if there were any survivors trapped below.
And today I honor all, around the nation and around the world, that did what they could and do what they can to continue to inspire us all to come together united in our strength as people who value life and freedom.
Those involved, or those close to me know the details of the experience, but it is the intensity of its impact that has caught me off guard. As I now try to continue to go through my day with the knowledge that life is full of mystery and unanswered questions, I find that I'm not as sure as I once was about anything.
I've always been strong in my convictions and bold in my actions - as you might have guessed from what I write. I've been far from needing anyone or anything to feel secure, with the exception of the assurance that I'm authentic about who I am. I live unafraid of the world - a free spirit. And I've made it clear that if you cannot accept (or at least tolerate) who I am and how I live, then that's your problem. If you like what you see, you're welcome to come along for the ride.
None of that has changed, but of late I've been challenged to consider life and myself in a different light. I found myself acting in ways and believing in things that have deeply changed me. And now I find that I cannot undo this feeling. My life would be simpler if I could.
In unseen ways, my mind has taken on a new perspective. There is more to the story of my life than what I thought. Not really sure how it all happened, but I've started to see myself as a part of something. And when one does that...everything changes: from the day to day choices we make, to the things we consider when we make those choices.
For the first time in a very long time, I don't know the answers. I’ve been changed and every move I make is now colored by this experience. The chart I’ve been using to direct my life doesn’t reveal how to navigate my current position. It’s perplexing for me to find myself unable to read the chart with any accuracy. It feels awful and wonderful at the same time.
I hear myself saying and doing things that are a culmination of insights I didn’t know I had. I find myself going in a direction that moves me into uncharted territory; doing what I believe honors the truth of this experience, and giving credit to its significance by allowing life to take a course in which I cannot see the horizon. I give up the idea that I can influence future events.
From this experience, I've been able to catch a glimpse of an aspect of myself that would not have been exposed otherwise -- a part of myself that I don’t recognize; a part of me that sees far beyond the next step but at the same time cannot see the path. So, although I don’t know how to do it, I try to trust that the path is right in front of me.
Photo Credit: Bmoore3
Have you ever been enchanted by someone who stole your very soul? Have you ever been truly swept off your feet? Have you ever met your match? Found true love? Felt so completely at home with another that you know a lifetime in every moment?
I've always been a hopeless romantic. And I've always believed that love crosses all boundaries. If it's true, time and space cannot get in its way. It cannot be contained. Nothing will stop it. Love has a life of its own.
There is no logical explanation for it. It's a feeling, deep inside that you've come alive because that person is in your life, in your heart. Even when you're apart you feel close.
The air is charged and when you touch (even if his hand barely brushes your skin) -- you're excited -- electrified with energy; when you think of him, you smile. And when he's near, you're filled with joy.
There are no words that can express this kind of enchantment between two people. It's a rare gift. One that should be celebrated, not be taken for granted or trivialized. Even if it doesn't make sense. Especially if it doesn't make sense. Even if everything seemingly stands in the way -- nothing will stop it.
Because with this kind of connection, fairytales come true!
Painting credit: James Coleman