Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Living the Dream

My son has a dream... And it involves ice cream
I think we've all had a moment in our life where one of our friends asked us how we were doing and we uttered these magical words:

"Just living the dream..."

Not sure where exactly the idea of "living the dream" originated, but I suspect it has to do with practicing the concept of the American Dream to which we are all supposed to aspire...

In the spectrum of dream concepts, there is one that stands above the rest and this past Monday we celebrated the man who delivered it:

Martin Luther King, Jr.

In August of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. was the keynote speaker at the March on Washington. Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in front of more than 250,000 supporters, Dr. King spoke of the racial inequalities in the Union and his dream of a United States where all men and women are truly created equal and we are no longer "judged by the color of our skin, but the content of our character."

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a student of Gandhi's non-violent approach to protest and used it to engage the nation in addressing civil rights. Whatever it took to advance equality, he was willing to address it through non-violent means. This inspired men and women of all colors and ages to do the same and resulted in major advancements in the civil rights movement.

The great part about effective dreams is that they pull you forward in such a way that you can reconcile your current actions directly to their completion. While Dr. King's dreams were grand in nature, he could ask himself if his every action was working towards realizing them.

That was the great part about Dr. King...

Not only did he lead with his vision, he led with the integrity of a consistent character.

Since I was diagnosed with cancer, I am way more reflective about life. And this past Monday I thought a lot about what my dream was and if I could deliver it in a speech in front of a quarter million people...

And would it inspire?

Over the course of my treatment and into remission I worked hard on understanding my values, goals, and beliefs. I realized that in my pre-cancer days my actions were not fully in line with my own dreams, but more towards a composite of dreams made up from societal expectations for my age, gender, employment status, etc.

Not very inspiring...

I've since taken a hard look at what I would like to give to this life and found my own dream that has the potential to help others. Lift Living is a part of that dream and has already connected with people in ways I never could have imagined.

It is in the process of inspire-ing...

While we may live in a society that is closer than ever to all men and women being created equal, our dreams should always remain unique. While they may overlap in content, dreams are tools to pull us forward (as individuals) towards maximum fulfilment in our lives.

When you find your dream and start living it in everything you do it will be apparent to everyone you encounter. Just as it was to those 250,000 people in Washington DC who crossed paths with Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28, 1963...

Not that's Living the Dream...

Link to Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ultimate New Year's Resolution

Happy 2012 from us, now resolve to be you!
If you were to die, who or what would you want to come back as?

This is the question Barbara Walters posed Barack and Michelle Obama the morning of December 23, 2011 on ABC's Good Morning America. I was in the lobby of a Marriott TownPlace Inn & Suites in Erie, PA preparing a complimentary waffle for my three year old son when I heard the question.

Michelle answered she would want to come back as their family dog Bo, which I could relate to having grown up in a dog family.

One little thing I noticed was that prior to answering Barbara's question, Michelle prefaced her answer with "Oh, God Barbara" which, coupled with her body language, I interpreted as she didn't want to think about passing on to another life.

Barbara assured the First Lady that "it was going to happen" after which Michelle gave her answer. I tuned out the rest of the broadcast as my son and I buttered and syruped our waffles prior to finishing the 12 hour drive back to my wife's hometown in northern New York.

And if long road trips are good for one thing... It's thinking.

As the miles past on the New York thruway I thought about the difference between my answer to Barbara's question on April 8, 2010 (the day before my cancer diagnosis) versus today as I live my life in remission.

Prior to my cancer journey I would have had a similar answer to Michelle, but more along the lines of coming back as a successful professional golfer. However, as my fellow cancer brethren can attest, when faced with the reality of a cancer diagnosis and an uncertain immediate future, all you want is more time as one person:


Not a dog, PGA Tour golfer, American Idol winner, or whatever you fancy.

Until we are forced to face the prospect of death square in the eyes we often lose sight of how fortunate we are to live our own lives despite our daily challenges. Which is why I am confident in saying that we all should spend more time improving our own lives instead of dreaming about how good things would be if we were someone or something else.

My New Year's resolution last year was to reduce the amount of time I spent in drive thrus for the environment's sake. Thanks to Barbara Walter's interchange with the First Lady, I've realized my resolution for 2012 will be to enjoy my life to the fullest and do what's right for me.

So the next time someone asks me what I would want to come back as if I were to die there would be no hesitation:


I hope that over the past 12 months of blogging on Lift Living I have inspired you to begin living your life in line with your True Self. I certainly have learned a lot about myself and will continue to share lessons I am learning along the way as I seek to Lift my (and your) life to a higher level of fulfillment.