Monday, September 3, 2012


The other night, as I was going through one of the very light sleep periods that are part of the normal sleep cycle, a thought flashed through my mind. It wasn’t a dream at that point since dreaming typically occurs during REM sleep. Perhaps, it was more like a daydream at night. It was sort of an inspirational phrase that appeared to me as a form of formula. D2D=Freedom. D2D stands for Dare to Dream.

Okay! So, that may sound pretty mundane. Just another of those little inspirational things most of us have heard throughout our lifetimes. Nothing profound or radical here, I was saying to myself. But, my mind wandered back to a couple weeks ago when two of the participants at the recent Veteran Speakers Retreat I recently wrote about, facilitated a session on dreams. No! This wasn’t the title of the session and I don’t believe I recall this phrase being used, though it may have and I just don’t remember. These two VSR participants had recently completed training and became certified Dream Coaches. Yes, there is such a thing.

I also recall several years ago, probably in the range of 15 years, attending a session on dreams conducted, again, by someone who had received training in dream interpretation. As I said, I wasn’t in a dream state at this point of the night, I was in a very light sleep or, as we sometimes call it, I was dozing. I was aware of what was going on around me, the approximate time of night, my body temperature and comfort level and so on, but my eyes were closed and I was not motivated to get up, I knew more sleep was coming.

As my mind mulled over these words, it brought be back to my concept of a Life List from my 12 Steps for Living Free (most people still call it a bucket list, but that is a bit too negative for me at this time of my life). I realize that the life list is at its most basic definition, a list of dreams that I, or any author of such a list, has committed to writing as a reminder of the things we want to achieve or experience for our own personal pleasure and fulfillment.

As a proponent of personal freedom, or as I call it, living free, I believe that we have the natural or God given right to realize any dream we desire. Of course, realizing our dreams cannot infringe in any way on the rights of anyone else or hurt anyone or damage property that is not my own. So, there is an interconnected relationship between freedom and dreaming.

So, D2D=Freedom or Daring to Dream equals a pathway to realizing the personal Freedom and desires we each, individually, seek for the personal fulfillment of our lives. I drifted off into deeper sleep again after that. But, apparently, this D2D=Freedom formula became indelibly implanted in my mind because it was the first thing I began thinking about when I woke up in the morning. It has remained on my mind for a couple days and, finally, today I decided to write about it.

Everyone has dreams. Scientists who have been studying sleep patterns and dream patterns since the early part of the 20th Century have proven that. Dogs, cats, mice, birds, reptiles have been studied and found to have similar patterns. The actual source, reasons or meanings of each individual’s dreams are still pretty much a mystery. Some facets of dreams seem pretty elementary, yet, it’s an ongoing science with many theories, but no concrete answers.

Perhaps, as I’ve talked with, literally thousands of people during my lifetime examined their lives, behaviors and what appears, externally, to be their motivations, I believe a large percentage of the population, not just of Americans or developed country citizens, but people in general have stopped Daring. In other words, they have, in so many ways given up on their dreams, thus, limiting or restricting their personal freedom. It’s a sad commentary on society and civilization in my opinion.

Effectively, there have never been more opportunities in the history of the world then there are today. Yet, so many don’t take advantage or most or virtually all of them. I have met people who live only 75 to 150 miles from the nation’s capital yet have never been there. I met a middle-aged man in a Walmart the other day. He was amazed that he was talking with a man in the cereal aisle of that Walmart in a small WV town who grew up in sight of the Empire State building, had traversed the streets and sights of NYC and Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Auckland, Beijing, Prague, Dublin and who now called his official home a tiny town in South Dakota. That would be me, of course. During his lifetime he’s been to Baltimore and Washington, DC a couple times. I’m not sure he’s ever even seen the Atlantic Ocean. He grew up on a mountain in this rural area and has never left.

I’m not belittling this man. He as a very nice guy and was shopping with his grandson who was listening and, I could tell, processing as much information as he could. The wheels were spinning as we talked about the World Trade Center disaster and that I had been in one of those towers many years ago and had taken a unique photo of the towers and the once, tallest building in the world, framed between the two towers, the Wanamaker building. I wish I could help him and his grandson to understand that D2D=Freedom is a simple formula that can change their lives.

It is so gratifying to hear stories of individuals who claim their destiny instead of settling for the mundane by simply applying the D2D formula for themselves. Sure, not everyone wants to be another Steve Jobs or Henry Ford or Sir Edmund Hillary or Tiger Woods or Picasso or Mozart or Elvis Presley or thousands upon thousands of other examples. And, certainly, each of the individuals I named had very different dreams and motivations. To take this even further, each individual must define personal freedom in their own terms, as they want to experience it. Not everyone will have or has to have lofty personal dreams and ambitions to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, experience space travel, explore the world, soar like a bird, become a writer, artist, performer or whatever others’ dreams are for personal fulfillment

But, to be truly, personally free we should have the dream and desire to live lives with the least restrictions, limitations, laws, rules, regulations, covenants and controls imposed on our lives by others. Yet, I see so many who just conform, comply and cave in and just plod along day by day in an existence of limitations until they reach the ultimate destination we all reach – “the end of the road.” Imagine what the world or even what this country would be like if just 50% of the people existing as I just described were to dare to dream. Decaying towns and cities would be rehabilitated. Unemployment would drop like a rock. Schools would be teaching and exciting kids about an unlimited future. Inventions, creations, art, and music everything would expand exponentially.

Fortunately, some of this is happening. There are people who are still daring to dream. They are overcoming the laws, rules, regulations, restrictions and limitation imposed on them by all the outside forces and they are living lives of freedom and fulfillment. They are the good news stories that we don’t read or hear enough about. But, we need so many more people to jump in and apply the D2D=Freedom formula. If you’re reading this blog, whether a regular reader or a new reader, chances are you are one of these dreamers or aspire to be one. Challenge yourself. Challenge others including your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Forward the URL for this blog post on to them and DARE them to read it. The Dare them to Dream about their Personal Freedom and what it would be like to truly live free.

Tell me about your dreams. Do you dare to go after them? What are you doing? How important is realizing your dreams and achieving your personal freedom? Are you part of the problem i.e. malaise, apathy, inaction or are you part of the solution to a world of people living free and living their dreams? As always, I solicit your comments below or your emails. 

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