Dreams are ineffective. Practice makes perfect. Effort is what sets us free to soar.
So, here’s where I admit to one (only one this time…) of my guilty pleasures.
I like talent shows - So You Think You Can Dance, etc.
Yesterday, I was watching America’s Got Talent, and I was mesmerized by an act called “Tiny Talent.” I got a photo or two of it. So, what I saw was this. (also see above, and below, for the actual video…)
The stage was set with typical dog agility equipment — a tube for the dogs to run through, boxes to leap up on and down from, planks to walk, etc. The contestant walked out, holding a Chihuahua.
She indicated that her act was an animal act with crazy Chihuahuas.
Next to her was a button, which read, “Rescue Button.”
Next to that was a box filled to the brim with Chihuahuas.
She opened the box.
The dogs raced out, ran around the stage aimlessly, and ended up scattered across the stage, backstage, and in the audience.
Two dogs just stood there, and then one mounted the other, halfheartedly.
The contestant looked totally bemused, and spent her time chasing the dogs she set loose. Eventually, the dogs scattered everywhere, and all Chihuahua lady could do was stare into the middle distance, no doubt wondering what she had wrought.
And then, there was Connor Doran, a high school student (and epileptic) who gracefully flies four-line indoor kites.
OK, so I watched the Chihuahua lady, then went to say good-night to Darbella. I tried to tell her about the act, but started laughing so hard I was crying. And I thought,
“It seems to me that most people I meet conduct their lives like the Chihuahua lady. She walked on stage, “let the dogs out,” and then just stood there while they ran amok. She occasionally raised her hands to the heavens, or looked offstage, apparently seeking rescue. Ultimately, she seemed to disappear, leaving the host, Nick, to run about, chasing after the remnants of a mediocre idea gone terribly askew.”
There is, of course, as Paul Harvey, used to say “…the rest of the story.”
Chihuahua lady had, at some level, the lofty goal of winning the million and conquering Las Vegas with her “scattered, humping dogs” act.
Or, she was a Zen master, and did the whole thing intentionally.
She had a dream, and a lot of Chihuahuas. So far, so good. The dream is not the issue, nor are the dogs.
The missing piece is in the hours necessary for planning, training, practicing, and executing. She looked supremely confident, until the door to the Chihuahua box opened.
Then, all she could do was plead for help–for rescue from her own plans, dreams, and ineptitude.
I say pretty simple stuff here — I confess to being a Simple Zen Guy, emphasis on simple. But simple has a thorny catch to it.
Simple becomes simple only with endless practice.
Dear Connor walked out, calmly explained how indoor kite flying kept him calm and helped with his epilepsy, and proceeded to simply, beautifully, and elegantly fly his kite… indoors… just using the motion of his body to propel the kite to great, if simple, heights.
Communication takes practice—not when you feel like it, but all the time, and especially when you don’t.
Deepening your relationship takes time, effort, diligence—not when you feel like it, but all the time, and especially when you don’t.
Sitting to meditate, or choosing to feel your emotions, or deciding to be in your body as opposed to lost in your head, requires commitment and follow through—not when you feel like it, but all the time, and especially when you don’t.
Throwing your hands in the air, blaming “the dogs,” looking for rescue (most of us don’t have a “Nick” to herd our “dogs,”) — all futile.
It is, on the other hand, possible to develop your art into your passion, into your life.
Connor demonstrates that, in spades. There is beauty, and simplicity, and, I am sure, hours and hours spent flying his kite indoors. He reached the stage with much effort, love from his mom, and a (excuse me, I have to…) dogged effort. And then, simple magic.
What “dogs” are you endlessly releasing on the stage of your life - messes and confusion — things that cause you to throw up your hands?
How often do you find yourself running in circles, little Chihuahua feetsies scurrying a mile a minute?
How often do you just stand there, hands raised, looking stunned?
And, don’t even get me started on the two dogs humping…
Life is all about getting your kite to soar in a windless room.
The kite soars, powered by you, by your effort, by your foresight, and by your determination. At every step of the way, there are corrections, strings to pull, and always, always, you must keep moving. Then, and only then, are you real, alive, and present.