Barely more than two weeks into 2016 and they are dropping like flies. The internet is awash in #fuckcancer and memes about putting protective circles around Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan (I am more worried about Sean Connery. Oh wait, Charles Xavier and Magneto…hurry, folks, let’s run).
And I agree cancer is a bad thing, but let’s be cold and REAL here, people. These are men, who lived their lives, fulfilled their dreams and loved on their own fucking terms. Let’s celebrate their example.
The problem is that the worst form of cancer is the one that eats away at our souls and steals our dreams. It begins from the moment we enter this world…and even the best and most progressive parent can only buffer and minimize its effects. And too many actually spread its venom…exponentially increasing its damage. Schools do it. And society is the very root cause of it.
The truth is that Lemmy, David and Alan were not any more talented or privileged or special than the rest of us. They simply had the COURAGE to pursue their dreams, be REAL and live the lives that would make them happy…with their middle fingers and heads held high to society and those who would pull them down. That is their true legacy.
All of us are born with the seeds of greatness inside of us, but most of us never have the courage to let them grow.
But the good news is…you are alive. You still have the chance to plant, water and grow your seeds. It is never too late to plant your garden of greatness. Will you become a revolutionary gender bending musician whose life opened doors for LGBT individuals around the world? Will you become an actor with memorable roles as the villain we all love to hate? Maybe. Probably not. But that may not be your destiny…your seed.
What I can promise you is that in doing so, by embracing whatever your Fate is, you will find peace and happiness that you have not known…no matter how hard that road is to walk, how rocky, how steep.
For some people that is as simple as taking the risk and signing up for that on-line course you have been looking at for months/years. For others it is typing away on keyboards, getting out those brushes or finding that guitar at the back of the closet.
Sadly, for all too many, we have actually forgotten our dreams. We simply exists…day-to-day, on the routine of others, numbing our pain as best we can. For them, they must re-discover the fires burning inside of them and fan the embers before they can do anything else.
For those individuals here are a few exercises to facilitate that process…
- Think back to your childhood…as young as you can remember. Remember a particularly happy time. What were you doing? Who were you with? What made you happy?
- If you have trouble remembering, ask family and friends. Just sit down and talk it through, a guided walk down memory lane.
- What were your favorite books, television shows, movies and music as a child? Why? How did it make you feel? What passion did it ignite in you?
- Who were your childhood heroes and heroines? What did they do? What about them inspired you?
- What parts of your current life do you really enjoy? Why? How could you have more of that?
- If you won the ‘big one’ Mega-billions of bucks, what would you do? Write it all out…a business plan of you.
- Spend a couple of hours thumbing through old magazines…but out photographs and articles that speak to you. Now get glue and some cardboard, a cheap canvass or old board of some type. Make a collage. Yes, you could do that on the computer, but there is just something about paper, scissors and glue that seems to ignite the creative side of your brain.
Then once you know what you want to be when you grow up, you can begin planning how to get there. Just like all of the rest of us.
One more thing that I touched on earlier, our roles as parents. It is the single most important thing you will ever do. I HATE one episode of The Amazing World of Gumball in particular. In it the mother, in the name of avoiding bullying, crushes her children’s dream. This is the song they sing after her ‘motherly advice….
Don’t! Just don’t do that to your children. Those bullies, the teachers and this world will do all they can to extinguish their genius, those dreams. Your role is their advocate, their cheerleader and their number one fan…even if they suck at singing, baseball or ballet. You cheer so loud that you drown out the hissing and the boos.
The best way that we can honor men like Lemmy, David and Alan is to emulate. Rediscover our dreams. Take those first steps or the huge risks to transform dreams into REALity. Foster those seeds of greatness in our children. Then we celebrate their lives and not mourn for our own lost seeds of greatness.