Tuesday, December 10, 2013



      When I was in high school, there was a violinist in our string ensemble who played notes as if he were playing from a cloud. He played with such precision and passion, his interpretation of the music melted your heart. 

      During his senior year, I asked him what he was going to do in college. 

      “I’m going to be a business major.” 

      The words sunk in my heart.

      Business. Major.

      I understand he may have had a flair for business. I understand there needs to be businessmen in this world – if that’s your passion. I also understand people need to make money, and he, being a male, perhaps had felt the pressure to do so even more. 

      Yet, in my heart of hearts, I felt he wasn’t following his heart. I felt he was following someone else’s. 

      He had found his wings, then clipped them.

     How about you? Have you found yourself veering off track? Is there something you used to love to do, then stopped? Or is there something you’ve always wanted to do – and have never done it?

      It’s never too late to find your wings … either again, or for the first time.

      Here are five tips for getting in touch with your dreams – or getting reacquainted with long-lost dreams.

      1 – Get in touch with your innermost dreams.

      What do you truly love to do? Make a list of things you loved to do when you were younger. It doesn’t matter how “far-fetched” they seem. 

      Do you love to stargaze? Play the violin? Write poetry? Do you want to finish college? Travel to Antarctica? Photograph polar bears in Alaska?

      Think with your heart, not your head.

      2 – Listen to children.

      Listen and learn from the children in your life. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up. Notice how they are not inhibited by the “practicality” of a profession. Adults spend so much time teaching children, yet there is so much we can learn from them. 

      Listen to the things children want to be when they grow up: 

      First person on Mars. World explorer. Astronaut. Spiderman. First woman baseball player in the Major Leagues.

      There are no inhibitions. Let your list of desires flow!

      3 – Think in terms of a “bucket list”

      What are some things you’d love to do before leaving the earth? Would you like to go on an archaeological dig? Write a song? Swim with dolphins?

      Again, don’t be afraid to include “far-fetched” things. Say, for instance, you’ve always wanted to volunteer with Blessed Mother Teresa’s “Missionaries of Charities,” but, for whatever reason, cannot make the very long  flight to India. Don’t give up hope. Perhaps you can find a “Missionaries of Charities” near where you live and find out how you can help them.

      Where there’s a will, there’s always, always a way.

      4 – Do you have a strong desire to help people?

      People automatically think of the health professions for helping people. But, not everyone can be a doctor or a nurse. What are your talents? Figure out how those talents translate into helping people. 

      Are you funny? Do you make people laugh? You can write a comedy skit and share your flair for humor by performing for older people living in a nursing home.

      Laughter is the best medicine anyway!

      5 – Live your dream – every day, in some way.

      Set aside some time every day to do something you love, even if it’s only for a few minutes. That few minutes will eventually become a few hours. Depending on how much you truly want to do something you love, it could transform into a full-time endeavor. 

      Start slow, and build up. 

      I have a co-worker who takes vacation days on Fridays so he can visit MoMA in Manhattan when the museum offers free admission. This is a cost-effective way for him to spend time doing what he loves most – immersing himself in the world of art. Then, he takes this inspiration home to do great things with his own art. 

     As for the violinist from high school, perhaps he has revisited his music in some way. Who knows? Maybe he plays Nikolai Rimsky-Kosakov's "Scheherazade" for folks in a nursing home on weekends. Or maybe he has passed on his musical talent to his children. And maybe his children are living their dream. ...

      Find your wings … at any age.

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