Sometimes after dinner, Melissa will be loading the dishwasher like a boss (she questions my dirty dish arrangement strategy). I’m an accomplished unloader, but my dish-putting method is more evolutionary Tetris.

She’ll see me staring into the mid distance toward the trees outside our kitchen door, and she’ll say, “What are you working on over there?”

Oof, you mean now or two seconds ago? I’ve had seven thoughts since then.

If you were able to slow-motion my neurons, you might see the following images:

A West End theatre.

Paperwork for a publishing deal.

Singing Valjean’s Soliloquy at one of the arena tours in Europe.

Soloing with a fancy orchestra.

Performing the one person show I wrote in an intimate theatre with a discerning and appreciative audience.

Buying a small farm near woods and creeks and turning a barn into a creative incubator.

Running a YouTube channel that demystifies singing and storytelling and makes theatre singers feel empowered and hopeful.

All that can run through my noodle in the time it takes to rinse the oxidized guacamole (tragedy!) off a plate.

My mind will bounce around to all these images, interpose some regrets and questionable professional decisions, and pretty soon I’m semi paralyzed.

I sit down to write half a scene of a one-person-show, and before I know it, I’m saying to myself, “Is this the right thing to be doing? How can I know this will pay off? I need a clear road map. There’s got to be a YouTube video on here somewhere that will tell me exactly what to do “

And actually, that kind of happened.

The algorithm delivered up an interview with this guy, Dr. K, a Harvard trained psychiatrist who speaks mostly to gamers. Not my demographic, but his videos were insightful.

In one video he talked about sabotaging yourself in a way I’d never considered — dream overload.

I was like — I think you’re talking to me Dr. K.

A few weeks ago I wrote in my journal — “I’m afraid to focus on one or two things because I know it means I’ll need to say no to 7 other things.” Felt scary.

Even with all the evidence in my life that mistakes and explosions and doodoo piles can all get turned to gold, I still fear errors, wasted time, and regrets.

But yeah, dream overload.

Dr K talked about steps 8 and 9 in the 12 Steps — making amends. How when folks start to say “I’m sorry” and repair things with the folks they’ve hurt, they get lighter and freer. A cognitive weight falls away.

Their mind isn’t trying to manage the emotional energy of that moral debt anymore.

A lot of things bear cognitive weight — unanswered texts, tricky conflicts, deciding which restaurant actually has the best cheeseburger.

And dreams.

So, I did an exercise this video recommended. I wrote down a list of dreams and regrets.

I let the list marinate for a while, thought about the items on it through the day, breathed them in and out on a jog, asked for wisdom and guidance.

Then I sat down, and I crossed off three quarters of the dreams on my list.

I thought I’d feel sadness.

I felt relief.

I felt lighter.

As I crossed things off, I wasn’t smashing them with a shovel. I was recognizing their wings.

I trusted that dreambird would migrate where it was supposed to go, and maybe their hatchling’s hatchling would fly back my way if that was right.

I felt lighter, and my focus became simpler.

I also saw some of my freed dreams were possible (uncontrollable) outcomes of a central satisfaction — telling stories, singing, and making someone else’s life better.

I invite you to try this.

Take some time to write down on paper the dreams and schemes pin-balling around your noggin. Give them some time to marinate and soak. Get out near trees and grass and walk around, let these ideas play around.

Then sit back down and see what it feels like to let some of these go so that you can offer focus and fire to the few that you sense will bring you and those you share with deep satisfaction.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to donate your dreams forever. You can put them in a box and check in on them in 6 months if you want.

If one of the things you crossed off won’t leave your insides, then that’s a message.

But make some choices, and start moving in a direction.

I heard a Navy SEAL being interviewed (YouTube, of course) who said when you’re lost in the forest, the worst thing you can do is stand still. Move in a direction. If it’s the wrong one, you’ll find out when you get to a vantage point and turn around.

Let me know how it goes for you!

And if the action you’re thinking of taking can make one person’s day better, then do it. It’s worth it.

There’s only one you, and someone needs to hear the story only you can sing.

Love much,


PS I encourage you to take the 30 minutes to listen to this interview with Sara Gettelfinger who’s in WATER FOR ELEPHANTS on the Bway right now. This interview is wholehearted and courageous.