Posts Tagged ‘dream’


July 16th, 2009

Crazy Horse MonumentIf you’re not from the Mid-West, chances are that you have never heard of the Crazy Horse Memorial.  This massive monument is dedicated to Crazy Horse, a doughty warrior of the Oglala Lakota tribe.  It is carved from the Thunderhead Mountain, a seventeen mile drive from Mount Rushmore.  It is of epic proportions – when finished, it will become the world’s largest statue at 563 feet high and 641 feet long.  To put this in perspective, the statue will be taller than the Giza Pyramids and the head of Crazy Horse will encompass an area greater than all of Mount Rushmore.

dsc_0725But the truly amazing thing here is not how massive the monument is, but how sculptor Korczak Ziółkowski dedicated 34 years of his life from 1948 to his death in 1982 to this project.  In 1947, he moved to South Dakota, built a log cabin at the the present Thunderhead Mountain site, and started blasting away millions of tons of rock.  Along the way, he married, fathered ten children, and grew a beard reminiscent of Rip Van Winkle.  He endured four spinal operations, heart bypass surgery, and countless broken bones but nonetheless, stayed course and continued working on the memorial.  Because he had the foresight to know that it would never be finished within his lifetime, he incorporated his children to help him. Today, Korczak is buried at the base of the mountain and his surviving wife, Ruth Ziolkowski, manages the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation while seven of his ten children continue working on this project.

Korczak had one thing in common with the great movers and shakers in history: dedication. Martin Luther King Jr. and William Wilburforce knew that the causes they campaigned for were bigger than themselves and would continue beyond their lifetimes, so they dedicated their lives to the cause.

I am reminded of what Glen Lewis told me in Washington D.C.:

If you’re not ready to die for what you believe in, you’re wasting your time.

In other words, in whatever you do, if you aren’t willing to expend significant time and energy, your attempts will be feckless and your dreams will never be realized. A TV producer I met in New Hampshire told me that he wanted to make a difference, to change the world and impact others.  The only way to do this is to dedicate yourself to the cause.  Anything less will be a mediocre effort that will yield mediocre results.

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Hello, El Camino!

June 2nd, 2009

roadtrip-090After a long and exhaustive search, I found another vehicle.  And yes, it’s another Honda Element.

The adventure rocks on, starting in Baltimore, MD.



May 6th, 2009

roadtrip-464It seems this roller coaster we call life runs in the dark.  We never know when it will turn, go upside down, or plunge into the abyss.  Failure is a guarantee in life, and disappointment is a subset of that.  Disappointment stretches across racial, social, economic, and cultural boundaries whether it deals with a friend, a job, an appointment, or a planned vacation.  We always tell ourselves that life will be better, only to find that once we conquer the hill, that the roller coaster dips, and brings us to another valley.  Only through proper planning and precaution will the roller coaster avoid the deep drops.

Off the Florida Keys there’s a place called Kokomo
That’s where you wanna go to get away from it all
Bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand
We’ll be falling in love to the rhythm of a steel drumband
Down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take you to
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo Montego, baby why don’t we go
Ooh I wanna take you down to Kokomo,
We’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow
That’s where we wanna go, way down in Kokomo.

Since I was a child, I remember hearing this song blasting through my father’s stereo system and thinking “That’s where I want to go, to Kokomo Island, where there’s the most gorgeous beach on earth.”

Turns out, Kokomo is a tiki bar, and there are no beaches around.  When I arrived last Thursday, it was closed.  The place I had dreamed of going to my entire life was not open.  I was told to come back in a few days, where Kokomo would be open and a live band would be playing for a party for “hundreds of bartenders from all across Florida”.  When the day came, Kokomo was once again closed, and there was no party.  It was no risible matter.

On the upside, I managed to stay with an awesome local for a few days at Big Pine Key.  He showed me the intricacies of crab fishing and boating.  I even managed to swim to a private, secluded island.


The dream

April 13th, 2009

I have met a handful of vagabonds on my journey and all of them share the same story – they have chosen this path.  Indeed, they have chosen wisely.  In the words of Georgia O’Keefe:

I always felt as though I walked the edge of a knife, afraid to fall off. So what? What if you do fall? I would rather be doing something I really wanted to do.

In the high pressures of Silicon Valley and beyond, one chooses his own vocation, whether that is one with the highest pay, one with the most prestige, or one that supports the family.  It is unfortunate when one works at a job that he loathes merely to maintain a high standard of living.  It is equally unfortunate, where, when one hears of a colleague or neighbor who makes more, desires himself to be at least on equal footing so that he can “get ahead” of the game only to sadly find out that the cycle repeats itself in a more furious fashion.  By then, the person is headstrong in his ways and finds it extremely hard to let go of his grandiloquent lifestyle and even continues on the unsatisfactory job that has left him in a state of inanition, convincing himself that one day, the problem will solve itself and that in the interim, the weekend will dissolve all worries.  For him, the work week is too long, the weekend is too short, and Monday seems to always come too quickly, but all is okay because better linens can be afforded, faster cars can be driven, and finer foods can be consumed.  Why should one submit to the feet of societal pressures only to be chewed, mangled, and spit out?  Thoreau elucidates this well:

… but as he began with tea, and coffee, and butter, and milk, and beef, he had to work hard to pay for them, and when he had worked hard he had to eat hard again to repair the waste of his system – and so it was broad as it was long, indeed it was broader than it was long, for he was discontented and wasted his life into the bargain; and yet he had rated it as a gain in coming to America, that here you could get tea, and coffee, and meat every day.  But the only true America is that country where you are at liberty to pursue such a mode of life as may enable you to do without these, and where the state does not endeavor to compel you to sustain the slavery and war and other superfluous expenses which directly or indirectly result from the use of such things.

There’s a commonly used ice breaker called “The dream job”.  In the past four years that I have played this game, I have met only one who is living his dream.  All others mention of jobs that they wish they could be doing, and I suspect that four years down the line, few will have taken steps to make this dream job a reality.  The majority of the conscious weekday hours are spent working.  Don’t succumb to a mediocre existence and lull in misery over a paycheck.  Follow your dreams.

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