Bird Droppings April 17, 2022
It is said dreams do not stand alone
“You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” Richard Bach
It has been so many years since I first read and experienced Jonathan Livingston Seagull’s whimsical book. This was Bach’s tale of a seagull who dreams of more than simply eating fish entrails at the pier. I was going through my files on my computer, and the only eBook I have had for more than five years is this one. Occasionally when in a quiet place and not too tired, so my eyes work, I will pull up JLSG and read a few lines thinking back so many years to when I first read the hard copy of the book.
I walked out of my physical therapy session when a voice called me over. It was my sons’ former retired middles school band director. He had done the same thing I had ruptured his Achilles tendon. We old farts are fragile. As we reminisced, he mentioned he had a dream of one of our many Disney trips with the band the night before. Usually, as the middle schoolers would be invited to march in parades at Disney, the band director would take along a couple of high school students to bolster and help middles school kiddos. My oldest had helped with the drumline a couple of times, and in his senior year, he had a goatee beard. My band director friend mentioned he woke up from a dream being asked about the middle school drummer with a beard as my son led the drumline. Synchronicity, perhaps we are all connected—even me writing about this today, my son’s birthday.
I hear each day and listen to the dreams of others as friends on Facebook, folks during the day, and former students talk about where and when. Some say whatever, and that is hard for me to understand. Having experienced so much in my life, good and bad, hearing a young person with no concept of tomorrow often because today was dashed takes me back. I recall several years back, on the first day in a class, when a student answered a simple goal sheet. Question one: Where will you be in a year? Probably still in school, Question two; where will you be in five years? Probably in jail, and Third Question; where will you be in ten years? Dead was his answer. That is not the case as I still have contact almost fifteen years later, and he is a motorcycle racer and mechanic in Texas, although the jail part he got right. I have been keeping in touch indirectly with him more recently since he has spent the better part of four years in jail and currently is out, so he did attain his five-year goal. He saw no future, and when I talked with him about his answers, he did not want a future because of the present he was experiencing.
“Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you are alive, it isn’t.” Richard Bach
“I have heard it said that the first ingredient of success — the earliest spark in the dreaming youth — is this; dream a great dream.” John A. Appleman
So often, when I meet people and or students who have little thought of a future, a significant past holds them back; I recently wrote a paper on an idea I had of funneling. Our past is a significant part of the antecedents that drive our behaviors. The fellow above in my questions and answers was in this situation. Years ago, as I did the research for a graduate school paper, I found that in looking at twenty-eight Emotionally Disturbed children in my study, only two were still with biological parents and had not had trouble with law enforcement and had not been adjudicated. Only four were not currently at that time on probation.
“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” John Barrymore
“If there were dreams to sell, what would you buy?” Thomas Lovell Beddoes
I had not thought of this, but what a question to ask young people if dreams were for sale? What would you buy? Often those who do not want to think ahead only see more of the same, for my young man above death was actually something he was looking forward to.
“The moment of enlightenment is when a person’s dreams of possibilities become images of probabilities.” Vic Braden
“You’ve got to create a dream. You’ve got to uphold the dream. If you can’t, go back to the factory or go back to the desk.” Eric Burdon
For some of you, the name Eric Burdon is insignificant, but for a few of us, back in the sixties, three British bands came across and stormed the United States, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Animals. Eric Burdon was the lead singer for The Animals. He is still around 80 years old now, living in California and often performing solo or occasionally with his new band, The Eric Burdon Band; he has gone back to his roots, blues. But as I read Eric’s quote and look at Bach’s quote coming from a fictional character, the idea of dreaming and possibilities all tie into you having to do something. You have to work to attain the dream. Here is a possibility, the dream, and the opportunities, life in general. Just Do it, as it is scribbled on your shoes.
“When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.” Leo Burnett
“There couldn’t be a society of people who didn’t dream. They’d be dead in two weeks.” William Burroughs
William Burroughs name in literary circles often falls with Allen Ginsberg as part of The Beat generation spawned in New York’s coffee houses and universities. But he is also often associated with Timmy Leary and Andy Warhol. In the early nineties, before killing himself, Kurt Cobian recorded an album with the then nearly 80-year-old Burroughs reading his own words over Cobain’s guitar chords. A drug addict for most of his life, Burroughs tried to write himself out of where he was. Many of his most significant efforts are reflections of his addictions and reflections on the addictions and limitations others impose on themselves.
“Follow your bliss.” Joseph Campbell
“If your dream is a big dream, and if you want your life to work on the high level that you say you do, there’s no way around doing the work it takes to get you there.” Joyce Chapman
Trying to get teenagers to accept getting from point A to point B requires more than simply saying so; it can be a challenging sale. Several weeks ago, I was sitting talking with two former students who had dreams of college. One of the fellows said he was going to college and getting a scholarship to play football. I thought and said you have never played in high school. How will you get a scholarship? He thought for a minute and said he would go out for the team. He thought he could be a football player because of his size and make. Ok, but you would still have to go to class and study and read. His dreams were dashed for him. College was simply a football scholarship, and playing football was the Forest Gump approach. I also tried to explain playing football meant practicing four or five hours a day, no TV, no video games, and no four or five honey buns and a coke for snacks. He quickly decided to change his goal; too much work and no fun. He wanted the glory of the football player but did not want the work.
“When your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.” Jiminy Cricket
I have always thought it interesting that a cartoon insect could be one of the world’s great philosophers. When you believe you can, you can; I have always been told?
“We’ve removed the ceiling above our dreams. There are no more impossible dreams.” Jesse Jackson
“There are those that look at things the way they are and ask why? I dream of things that never were and ask why not.” Robert F. Kennedy
So often find myself drawn back to an idea or quote; Kennedy’s quote is one of those, as is dreaming. Each time I find something new, a new piece to the puzzle, a new thought as I am rambling through my day, pondering on those moments of new ideas and direction. Today reading about William Burroughs and Kurt Cobain, who both achieved the immortality of fame and genius, one lived to barely 30 and one to almost ninety. Only slight differences kept the parameters of their lives from being identical. I often speak of following a path; at times, we have choices to make, and how far can we veer off the path? How many times can we make a new path without getting lost?
Mathematicians hold the shortest distance between two points is a straight line; however, by expanding that thought if points A and B are next to each other, that line makes a circle with no end or beginning.
“Now, I say to you today, my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I dream that this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed one day: — we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Perhaps this is a great point to end on this morning. Over the years, well past forty now, I have heard this phrase. My father had a worn-out tape recording of the entire speech. Maybe a sermon would be a better word, for it was a sermon to humanity, not just the United States. I am subscribed to Russell Means’s website entitled “it is a good day to die,” which is not one of pessimism but one of approaching life without fear and knowing you believe in what you are striving for. I believe Dr. King would have embraced the Lakota statement and approached life that every day was a good day to die. Sadly, his life was cut short by an assassin’s bullet, as were many great men over the years. Dr. King, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull all did not fear death, for they knew in their hearts they were right.
We less brave in this reality can fulfill our dreams, but we have to do the work we have to strive to make that dream a reality, whether small or monumental. We choose where we place points A and B and whether our paths become a line or a circle. So, this morning, please keep all in harm’s way, for one of my dreams is a world in peace. So please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends
I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)