Dream A Little Dream

Nothing sparks imagination more than not imagining.  We succumb to the visions of innermost wants and desires when they are most suppressed. It is called dreaming. It can happen day or night, asleep or awake, busy or idol. The theatre of the brain begins the film, playing to an audience of one, whether we chose to pay attention or not.  Thus is the cycle of our lives. Setting forth on our daily tasks, while we aspire for something greater.  Dream big, dream small….it really doesn’t matter.  We dream.

This is not intended to define failures and shortcomings. That we dream of things that might have been, could have been, should have been does not incriminate our present lot. The dreams that we see (or perhaps ignore) are simply roles playing out within our subconscious. This really takes on a deeper version of “when I grow up, I wanna be a…..”! Not everyone succeeds with the path of childhood plans, but that doesn’t mean failure.  If that was the case, there are billions of failed rock stars!

Our dreams can often be the release of inner genius. They may hold a secret solution that our conscious is blinded too. Dreams may show us different paths to take, or may simply be the seasoning sprinkled on our daily lives.  No matter how we see them, they are the subject of speculations, the analysis of experts, and the topic among friends. We share them, spare them, and, most of all, reflect on them.  It is the imagination engine that has so often pushed people to their finest hours.  The ingenuity prompted by a vision from within.  Yet, we also tend to push it aside, letting it falter back into our subconscious world.  It is with this that we associate failure within our lives.  That the solution to the problem was right there and we did not act upon it.  But, are we really failing?

Regrets can be a poison that dissolves the inner soul. I said that.  Those who live with the aspect of failed dreams, whether a one-time spark of genius or a passion that we have built on over the years and yet never acted upon it in the real world often swim in regret.  Yet, regrets will eat you from the inside out if we let them fester.  We all have regrets from one level or another. Regret missing a childs concert. Regret drinking and driving. Regret not investing in something. Regret a decision. We all have them.  It’s how much we reflect on it that will determine if that regret hampers us the rest of our lives.

In each life, I believe there is a dream. Something that we feel compelled toward. But, in the grand scheme of things, sometimes those dreams don’t or won’t be allowed to play out. Life happens around us and can sweep us away from our dreams as fast as raging tide can wash away the shore.  When that alters the dream, the “hindsight is 20/20” glasses are put on and we find ourselves evaluating. “If only I had….”, “I should have never…..”, “maybe I could have…..”.  Then the movie continues to play. The dream is still in theater. Audience of one, no waiting.

So, forced to be reminded of the dreams gone by, we reflect. Next we regret. Let’s add some bitterness and a dash of resentment. Perhaps a daily dose of self-deprecation. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow will never come. The erosion of our life storm is in full swing.  Bits and pieces of our selves disintegrate.  Such a picture. A picture of humanity swimming in a sea of failure. But, wait!  All this from self-determined shattered dreams? A complete demise of humanity from someone not fulfilling their rock star goals? I don’t think so.

Let’s be honest. As I said before, life happens and can sweep us away from chasing dreams. But not all dreams are meant to be chased. You might think that the stars are calling you into space, but that doesn’t clearly say you are supposed to be an astronaut. There is so many aspects of dreams  that we fail to recognize.  It may just be a short motivation for you in a decision.  There may be some deeper definitions that tie in to other things.  We all dream of being successful, but how are we defining that? Perhaps the dreams of space travel was really the motivation to be a writer?  H.G. Wells certainly didn’t have NASA around to fuel his dreams, yet his dreams inspired his works.  The dreams that might have been seen as unobtainable in the real world,  yet they succeeded in opening minds to other possibilities in the universe.

Dreams can spark imaginations to affect many things, yet not all dreams come true. That doesn’t mean that dreams unfulfilled are dreams failed.  And, when life happens to alter the course you may think you need to be on, you always have the ability to choose a different path.  Over the years, I have heard stories of people who have given up things they pursued successfully and altered their paths to their dreams. Many on the outside might think this to be a waste of effort, but to the dreamers, they found inner peace. Lawyers that quit their practice to become farmers. Big city brokers that leave their 6-figure-a-year jobs to work as tour guides.  This is the aspect of dreams still alive, regrets subdued, paths altered, happiness found.

No matter where you are in life, there is a means to your goals.  No matter the course of life’s currents, our imaginations can take us where we need to be….even if it is later on in life.  Don’t let the regrets of dreams gone by become the poison within.  When we focus with clarity where we need to be, we can then start the journey with the first step. Be honest with yourself and understand that not all dreams are the clearest path, but they certainly can spark the imagination to motivate. We just have to let it happen without force, without fear, and most of all…without regret.

What do you first cast?

Probably more of a hot-bed discussion than most subjects as we approach the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on these United States is free speech.  That First Amendment of the Constitution states simply:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Abridging simply means to curtail or hinder. Nothing more. You have the legal right given to you as a U.S. citizen to speak your mind, say your peace, and voice your opinion!  Look around you and that is probably the majority of what is on television and radio. The internet is abuzz with free speech partakers.  No matter the topic, no matter the event, no matter the person…..everything will generate opinions and those opinions can be expressed freely and without fear of persecution from our government.

With the many positives of this freedom, there are also many negatives.  History shows us that words can be hurtful, degrading, and extremely destructive.  Words, like the bullet fired from a gun, cannot be recalled. Once that free speech is launched to its audience, it is out there.  In this day and age of modern technology, our speech can be launched around the world to an ever-increasing audience in a matter of seconds.  Social networks, news outlets, blogs, and email are utilized by so many and gives users the capability to voice thoughts to whoever wants to listen.  The part many tend to forget is that your words are out there and it is now permanent record. The Greek sage Publius said “I have often regretted my speech, but never my silence”.

I opened this blog with the fact that free speech can be a touchy area.  In light of the upcoming 10 year anniversary of 9/11, we not only look back to that day’s events and how it affected us, but also to revisit the stories and opinions regarding the tragedy.  Over the last 10 years, free speech has been a key element.  From the positive stories of heroes to the criticism of government.  Everyone has voiced themselves in one way or another.  But, are we building up or tearing down this country with our free speech?

One particular aspect of this all has been blame. People are always looking for the scapegoat to point the finger at and ease our minds.  Usually when tragedy takes place, the leader is the first to be accused.  Whether it is a city, a state, or a country, the leader of that demographic is first to be on the guilty list.  What amazes me the most is that people have such a creative energy and drive as to bend and twist the obvious and the facts into such a way as to make it look like the leader, themselves, are soley alone in the evil deed!  Really?  Are we so desperate to attach a name to the disaster that we go beyond reason?

Let’s face some facts, shall we?  When a natural disaster, such as Katrina, hits a city that is built in a low-lying ‘bowl’ next to a large body of water, what do you think is going to happen? You can build all the dikes and levies you want, but the water is gonna come in! Duh! When the earth shakes and cracks structures like nuclear power plants and the radiation leaks, is it really some sitting politicians fault for that?  Common Sense, help me out here!

Settle down, folks. There’s an old saying that says stuff happens (edited).  If you leave your windows or doors unlocked and some thug comes in and steals from you….then there’s a place for blame. Blame on you for leaving things unsecured and blame on them for being scum! But, truthfully, just as stuff happens, so does scum happen.  Crimes occur even when we have ourselves in our most vigilant state.  Internet users still get hacked even with some of the best security afforded.  People still get robbed in broad daylight,even with our caution on high alert, and 9/11 still happened….even with some of the signs and symptoms that existed. Sometimes, there really is only so much that can be done.

Hindsight is always 20/20. We can always look back and declare that we should have seen that coming, and many still do to this day. Every journalist, politician, analyst, specialist, and average citizen have all utilized their free speech with opinion and blame.  But let me say right here, right now, that there isn’t any one person to blame. We cannot blame a president. We cannot blame a mayor. We cannot blame an agency. We simply have to stop with the blame game all together. Free speech your opinions all you want, but before you grab hold of your first amendment right and shake a finger or two somewhere, try plugging in that key, missing element called common sense!  Take a look at reality and reason!

Remember back when your mother (or somebody’s mother) used to say “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  I really hope so, because I don’t think I can make it any more obvious! We are a county of innocent until proven guilty and I’m pretty sure that we don’t need to play judge, jury, and hangman during times of unrest.  Amazing how people really have this propensity to be the first to cast stones, blame others, and accuse anyone.  Well, blame on all of you who do that!

We have freedom within this country to utilize the most powerful weapons around the world: Words! Crimes will be addressed, and scum will be held accountable, but the rest could really use some good words of encouragement. Folks really need to hear some harmonies of language that warms. Even a little bit of free speech as simple as “I love you”, “you’re awesome”, and “have a wonderful day my friend” can be so powerful! You don’t have to be a walking Hallmark card, but can certainly appreciate how great some positive free speech feels when directed to you from the heart.

Words are powerful, let’s use that power in a positive way! The late, great musician, Jimi Hendrix, once said “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”  Simple.   That’s free speech.

I Will Choose……

Many of you have so far tolerated much of my rants and ravings throughout these blogs.  The initial intention was to complain about the demise of common sense. To this point, I have tried, to some degree or another, comply with that task by pointing out the obvious. Often times, we as a society will let change seep into our norm, even though a level of disagreement or, perhaps better fitting a definition, disillusionment, might exist.  We can stand at the doorway and declare that this doesn’t make sense, but in the end, rational thinking be damned and foolhardiness reigns.

Upon closer examination to the root causes of this type of disruption allowed, I set aside the outside world around me and looked within myself.  Where have I allowed common sense to lie dormant in my past and how has it shaped where and who I am today? I’ve been privy to some self-reflection that mapped out many options in life I either didn’t know existed then or decided that future planning wasn’t needed at the moment.  I am not ashamed to be a finger-pointer at myself.  Shortcomings and failures in life are open and often times advertised in plain view for others to see.

It is no secret that many events growing up were a mystery to me then, becoming clear with understanding later on. The term ‘hind site is 20/20’ was truly fitting of my life-learning.

So what is the reasons for lack of understanding?  How are we missing out on seemingly simple concepts?  When a person is educated that they are to stop at a red light, then go on green, it then becomes a daily choice to adhere to that instruction.  We stop at the red lights because we learned.  We saw the consequences of choosing not to listen.  I am not yet convinced that this type of training is fulfilled in  other key elements of life-teaching.   We may still include that instruction in driver’s education classes, but what about beyond driving? What about the obvious do’s and don’ts?

Back in my younger days, seatbelts were not mandatory.  You could get in the car and ignore the lapbelts.  Often times, they were that nuisance that you tucked into the seat so as not to have to sit on the metal buckle.  That was the case when I was a passenger in a speeding vehicle that left the road and went headlong into a telephone pole. The vehicle went airborne and so did I…into the windshield.  Had the lapbelt been over instead of under me, results would have been much different.  New views? Yes! Wear the seatbelt from now on in any vehicle!  Lesson learned? Yes!  I know that the education class did say to wear seat belts when driving.  I remember because it was on the checklist of things to do before taking the driving portion of the test.  But what happened between the test and the telephone pole? Free will.

We are a free society with free will to choose freely our paths, whether that choice is as simple as wearing a seatbelt or as big as having a baby.  We choose.  The part that lacks these days is the thinking process before the choice is made! There isn’t even a spark that fires in the brain prior to some of the choices people make.  Did you really think over the consequences before taking that meth?  Did you think of possible life-changing outcomes that can happen after unprotected sex?  Is that text message you are trying to read while driving so important that consequences are irrelevant?  Are you aware of the consequences, not if, but when you are caught in that illegal activity?

Let’s just say that the “Pre-Thinking” phase of some brains have a type of short-circuit these days. As in my example above, my brain didn’t even come close to firing a pre-thought as to whether I should put the seatbelt on.  How nice it would have been for that pre-thought to show me a few images of wrecked cars, bodies launched through windshields and maybe an ambulance or two, just for added dramatic effect!  Perhaps I would have taken that extra second or two needed to prepare for a possible negative event (which did occur).  Whether our pre-thinking is from deep impacting instruction or deep impacting events, pre-thinking can and does happen.  Depending on just how impacted it is will determine just how influential over our free will choice it will be.

So the question that remains is are we, or are we not, deeply impacting in our instruction of today’s kids?  What is missing in either their formal education or the social education (i.e. family, neighborhood, church, friends)?  How can the youth continue on with a path of destruction when they supposedly have been taught otherwise. What about the youth that have personally experienced tragedy, yet continue to choose that affliction as a way of life?  I am of a firm belief that much of the destruction to pre-thinking has come from the role-models that kids tend to glorify.  When your ‘hero’ is adamant that a seatbelt should be worn, you will more-often-than-not follow that example faster than having a pre-thought of possible consequences.  When that ‘idol’ in your life tells you it’s ok to act this way or that, you stop your pre-thinking as to the consequences of that action and just “jump in with both feet”.  The sad part is that the tendency is to nevermind that the hero’s lifestyle is delinquent or criminal.  Ignore that the role-model initiates violence. Push aside the fact that this individual or group advocates self-destruction.

I can post many examples of these things that are cast to the forefront of people’s thinking, allowed to destroy the self-preserving pre-thought process.  Everything from cults to gangsters,  religion to music and videos.  The Hitlers’ of today inciting violence, the music rappers who degrade civility and humanity, the ministers of hate who attack everything that is not ‘like them’.  All of these things purpose negativity, violence, and create a destruction of self.  Desecrate others, take drugs, no restrictions, violence is the answer…it’s what permeates their very existence.  The part that should horrify people, but sadly doesn’t, is that it’s all around.  Everywhere you turn, society is slowly allowing the seeping ooze of degenerates to come in. Folks that once stood on common sense are now glorifying these groups and people who have somehow masked societies minds into thinking that they are really ok.  Deceptive.  What was once looked upon as scourge is now given awards.  The more these idols are put up on pedestals, the less we have our pre-thought protections telling us that there are, and will be, consequences to our actions.  The idols that we follow so mindlessly will not be the ones paying for our lack of thinking.  Just because Joe or Jane sends text messages while driving and hasn’t had an accident doesn’t mean that you won’t. Just because religion X or rapper Y incites hate and violence doesn’t mean that it’s ok to do it!  Wake Up! Common Sense, People!

Remove the idols, learn, think.  Think it through.  Think for yourself!  Take that extra second or two and evaluate your actions. In the end, you are the only one that will be held accountable, but your actions can, and will,  affect many.  Will they be good or bad?