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The Double Meaning behind the blog title 'Dream Follower:'
First, for 14 years I was a ballroom & social dance instructor, and have studied both leading and following. I feel that learning to follow is full of nuance and is often misunderstood. I made it one of my personal goals to become a really excellent follow on the dance floor, and will probably talk a lot about the art of following - both in and out of the context of dance.

Second, I am a huge fan of author Michael Ende, probably best known for The Neverending Story. The book is incredible, and the first film captured some of the essence. (Please don't watch the other two films...I urge you to read the book though!) Anyway, at least twice in my life I have been caught in a storm of my own indecision, and my inner Moon Princess yelled to my inner Bastian...'Why don't you do what you dream?' I tear up even now as I write this little blurb. The tension between being practical, keeping my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds (at the risk of compromising my inner vibrancy, true self, and who knows what else)...and reaching for my true dreams (at the risk of losing everything) is still a very real struggle. In fact, one of those struggles lead to my 14 years of teaching dance, so we can see which voice won the battle that fateful day when I was staring at the want-ad...

And so I strive to be two kinds of Dream Followers in my life. One has to do with connecting with others, and the other has to do with connecting with my inner Moon Princess and the world of possibility that opens when I do...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

natural helpers

In Tenth grade, I started at a new school, and I will never know how they conducted the selection process for inviting kids into the program, but I very much enjoyed the Natural Helpers retreat we went on. I learned so many things about myself and about stereotyping, and how to see past conventional boundaries by being part of this group. Perhaps ironically, they had selected people from various factions to represent the concepts and ideals of the program back to that contingent. We had minority groups, as well as nerd or rocker, etc.

We bonded with each other, and learned listening skills and tools. We were learning how to recognise warning signs of suicide or harm to others, and in general it was supposed to be a peer-based support system.

We did games, trust exercises, puzzles and physical team challenges.

It was at one of the last that I discovered something in me. I want to be patient, I truly do.  The group leader had explained the physical team challenge, and I remember all of us milling around, and myself also hanging back...

I was developing a theory for a solution, but also keenly aware there could be more than one approach or solution. My impatience overtook me in a moment of frustration, and I started to share my idea. My peers gathered around me, and decided my idea worthy of consideration and a trial, and it ultimately ended up working. I'm sure there were helpful suggestions as we started realising additional roadblocks along the way, but it was an environment that brought out of me a sense of leadership, a confidence in myself, and a feeling of self-worth. There were pictures of this exercise, though at the time I was oblivious to them taking pictures. I distinctly remember the feelings in those minutes, and the pictures of me explaining my idea in the circle of peers rang a proud bell for me. I remember hesitating, and thinking 'come on guys, let's just try something' and being certain that my solution would work, even though there might be a more elegant one.

I know I have leadership abilities.

perhaps I have become conservative because the risks have not been my own alone...


4 comments:

  1. Perhaps you've become more conservative because you are not allowed the freedom to succeed or fail, because any triumphs you have had have been stolen from you because "my way would have been better," or because any failures you were actually allowed to see through you couldn't learn from because "I should have just done it myself." A hostile work environment is not a good place to foster confidence and leadership.

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    1. Thank you for understanding. I have not felt truly empowered, honored, valued at work. It Will Change Soon.

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  2. If you can find your way back to that, you might be able to remake your environment into one you like more...

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    1. Great advice, and I will put some thought into manifesting that...thank you for engaging, encouraging, etc.

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