| July 23, 2011 | 1 Comment

Each of us, regardless of our present level of accomplishment, has a big dream that challenges us deeply. Most of us have had our idea for a long time. We may forget our idea for a while, but somehow it seems not to forget us.

Madra, a writer and an aspiring producer sat with me over dinner on New York’s Upper West side talking about her “baby” – the television series that would in her words revolutionize the programming landscape. This was the idea that had finally turned her on while holding out the promise of providing so much for so many. It would enable her to work full-time at something she truly loved. According to her, it would turn her nine-to-five administrative assistant’s life into a free wheeling adventure. She glowed and spoke of its possibility in reverential and guilt ridden tones. She was young, talented and resourceful, yet had started and stopped work on her idea several times over the last 10 years, never seeming to have all the pieces she thought.

“What do you think is missing?” I asked her.

“I don’t know” she said, “but this is something I must do”.

In the landscape of our minds our ideas are like active volcanoes, erupting after lying dormant for long periods at a time. With each eruption comes feelings of fear, guilt or shame for not having done enough to make it happen. Yet somehow we feel that we are not ready, even though we know we are not complete unless we act on our project.

For many of us, like Madra, in the course of holding down a job, managing a home or running a business, such a project can get lost. A period of rapid expansion or inertia may have left you with a sense of being overwhelmed and unfocused. Unwittingly, you may be going a circle. Although you may be accomplishing different things, you suspect that you are repeating the same experiences over and over again.

Recently, I re-read James Baldwin’s letter to his young nephew, published in his a collection of essays; The Fire Next Time. Although the following quote addresses the difficulty white people have in acting on racial justice in America, I believe its essence speaks to all human beings. He said:

“People find it difficult to act on what they know. Because to act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger. In this case the danger is the loss of your identity. Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shinning and all the stars aflame. You would be frightened because it is out of the order of nature. Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one’s sense of one’s own reality.”

To act without guaranteed consequences is a frightening challenge. When you act in a new way, how you know yourself now, and the way you see the world will be unalterably and unpredictably changed. This is a the root of all procrastination – the fear of the loss of identity. In this way your ideas and dreams which call for new action are the harbingers of your own personal deconstruction and evolution.

And as you evolve so will everyone and everything else around you. The idea that challenges you, though uniquely yours, is not a personal phenomenon.  As you are transformed the whole world transforms with you. You may have the tendency of second guessing your ideas, thinking that someone’s idea is better than your own or that the time for your idea is passed. But every idea that truly inspires you holds the future of the entire planet. Not just because it is a good idea, but because the process of its creation will change you. And we are all changed by others who are being changed by their own process of bringing their ideas to reality.

You and your projects are one and the path to personal and planetary transformation unfolds though you. Let your light shine!


Olubode Shawn Brown – Founder, The BLOOM Party


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  1. Allen Luther Wright says:

    Loud, clear and true.

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