Do you ever ask yourself questions that begin with the phrase, “Wouldn’t it be cool if….”?
Like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could rent a castle in Ireland and our family and friends could come join us periodically during our extended adventure-cation?”
Or, “Wouldn’t it be cool if brownie brittle and vanilla bean ice cream with salted caramel was a superfood?”
Or, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I were thriving as a creative?–working on exciting projects with terrific people and making very good money?”
Too much? That last one? The brownie brittle with the sugar-fat dairy deliciousness seems a little more feasible?
Ya know, you’re not alone here. Confession time.
Sometimes I will sit at the kitchen table and share my wouldn’t-it-be-cools with Melissa, and in the next breath, a chorus of several well-meaning, reasonable, and loving relatives who moved to heaven several years past will say something like, “Why ain’t you just grateful for what you have?”
And I have a lot. My life is stupid blessed. Like, miracle crazy full. So, these voices in concert seem to have a point; and I feel a little ashamed.
The committee will then collaborate with my imagination and paint a scenario in which my selfish dreams send me careening down a path of folly and destruction for my family, and all the time, the well-meaning fear guides are shaking their heads saying, “See? If you’d’ve just been content with what the Lord’s already blessed you with, you wouldn’t be paying the price for all your greedy grabbin’.”
I actually deal with a particular voice that says to me if I reach too far, I will lose all the wonderful things I already have because, clearly, I didn’t appreciate them enough.
This one’s tough, y’all. And even as I write it I’m having one of those, “Oh, I haven’t come as far on that one as I thought I had.”
I’m convinced I get to be a teacher because I need the lessons I teach.
One student of mine is brilliant, and he regularly hides. He makes his energy small, and he looks down. I tell him how I got the note, “Dan, stop looking down at the stage,” well into my mid-thirties. It’s still something I have to be very vigilant about.
I tell this student, “Who are you to decide that you can’t be brilliant? You didn’t make you. You arrived on this planet with these aptitudes and a passion to cultivate them. When you hide, you are cheating all of us out of the one and only you!”
When I turn these words to myself, I feel a challenge in my guts, and I see the places where I’ve decided to hide.
When we expand, the territory is unfamiliar. Read: discomfort. We become trustees of more. Read: responsibility. Then we can give more. Read: generosity.
When we appreciate what we have, we build a foundation to support more and therefore contribute more. And that is humble and kind.
We acknowledge that the things we already have are precious gifts. Who are we to cut ourselves off from more?
Tomorrow it’s December. Let’s commit to open our hearts and minds to all kinds of delightful possibilities in the final month before we say hello to 2020.
And let’s commit to breaking down big dreams into small, manageable chunks. And let’s commit to showing up every day and doing the small things with appreciation and care.
And let’s say to ourselves, “Who do I think I am not to let all the good stuff come to and through me?”
People need your story, your song, your dance, your words. Our privilege is to share them.
What are you going to bring into the world this year?
I’ll go first. I’m going to produce the first developmental reading of the musical I’ve written, Across.
And I’m going to put my body back in the audition room this year.
I want to hear from you. Please share a dream or two that you’re going to start letting through in the comments below.
Or email me what you’re heart-ing about—firstname.lastname@example.org–and tell me about what your personal committee says when you dare to say, “Wouldn’t it be cool if….”
Because yes, it would be so cool.