Friday, February 1, 2008

Fearless Dreams—Friday Feature

Joel’s tag line is: Tools and inspiration to find and live the greatness within you. His blog and his fearless dreams are my Friday Feature today. The first thing you should do once you get on his site is have a look around. Check the tabs at the top and browse his “Life Questions”, “Mind Steps” “Links” and “Articles”.

You can find inspiration on a varied list of topics by clicking the top tab marked “Life Questions”. There you’ll find a concordance of sorts on topics like: abundance; action; busy; change; choices; death; evil; hiding; identity; learning; life dreams; little things; negativity; opposites; passion; play; the shadow; treasures; wishes.

One of my personal favorites of Joel’s topics is that of “play”. In an article entitled “Too Playful or Too Serious” Joel starts off with a simple personality test his daughter challenged him with: “If you had to be one of two animals, a dolphin [playful and perceived as childish and capricious] or a shark [serious and perceived as hard-working and purposeful], which would you be?” He ends his article with these words: “Playful and serious don’t seem to go together, do they? We put them in opposite corners of the ring, determined to see them battle to the death. And we usually put our money on the serious side, don’t we? One-on-one, a dolphin can take a shark any day of the week. Playful isn’t uncaring or cynical. Playful can be focused and relentless. When we’re playful as we pursue our goals, we take ourselves less seriously. We’re lighter, nimbler, and far more able to adapt to whatever challenges we meet. We can be at least as passionate about our dreams as the “serious” guy, but we find a lot more joy along the way.”

Joel writes humbly and from the heart in a lyrical, authoritative yet down-to-earth way that inspires confidence and is invitingly friendly. Just scrolling his home page alone reveals inspirational topics with compelling titles like: “Is Society Based on Fear?”; “Why Do People Use Fear to Influence You?”; “How Do You Live With Fear?”; “Who Tells You That You Are Powerless?” “What’s Your Secret?” “Are You Afraid to Change?”; and the most recent, “Who Are Your Enemies?” His post begins with the sentence: “In the wake of 9/11, the conversations of our leaders, our media, as well as our own private conversations, have become filled with the idea of the enemy, and often the word itself.” This compelling post speaks to us as individuals as well as a society: “Sometimes we make enemies of those who have different beliefs, languages, or skin color. In recent times, the bitterness that often colors the conversations between Democrats and Republicans has become a conversation of enemies, rather than a discussion of ideas.”

For me, it boils down to fear and ultimately to trust—well, the lack of it, that is. We live in a shrinking world of continually colliding cultures. It is a world driven by competition and cynicism and ironically of isolation. Our world is rife with suspicion, mistrust, lack of faith and often paranoia. We fear what we don’t understand; and unfortunately we often “hate” what we fear. And there is, sadly, much we don’t understand about each other: cultural behaviors and patterns; religious beliefs and philosophy; sexual orientation, just to name a few. Even as we, here in the blogosphere, communicate globally as a united community, our counterparts wage war and strikes against other cultures, countries, corporations or even other individuals. And, while there may often be some cause to walk the societal thicket with care and prudence, it is sad to see this happen at the expense of optimism, spontaneity, trust, faith, loyalty, playfulness and the expression of open joy. We fear we will be ridiculed. We fear we will lose an opportunity. We fear we will be left behind. We fear we will be shunned. We fear we will be hurt or lost… And we fear our life away. One of the casualties is our ability to help each other. When is the last time you stopped to help a stranger? Someone you absolutely didn’t know? I honestly can’t remember when I did. I do remember helping a friend recently who I didn’t know completely by going into service in a big way. I have to tell you that it scared me; I was taking a big risk. I had a lot to lose. But it also exhilarated me and made me feel so alive. It stunned me to realize that if it hadn’t involved risk it wouldn’t have meant the same thing to me. I’d reaffirmed my belief that only by making myself vulnerable in giving and being would I realize my place in the world and ultimately find peace (peace of mind and heart). Risk or no risk, it didn’t matter any longer. It was worth it.

So, thank you, Joel, for your words of positive inspiration and for selflessly providing us with the means to dream fearlessly. Blogs such as yours light up the blogosphere.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

A good feature and appreciation, Nina.

Anonymous said...

lovely words & nice reading this post with some beautiful photos!

sfgirl said...

Thanks, Jean-Luc and Kalyan! Joel's blog is certainly worth visiting...