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On November 6, 2011 I’ll be taking my second ride as a challenged athlete through the course of the New York City Marathon on a recumbent trike. I’m pretty darn excited about that. I’m even more psyched about being a part of Team LFF, having the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for Leary Firefighters Foundation. And I love the idea–the possibility–that someone who is differently abled, as I am, will see me participating in the marathon and realize that she could do the same.

I want everyone to know, to see, to bear witness to, to spread the word of, recumbent trikes. Because if you’re in any way compromised in body, if you’ve had the joy of movement and exercise, the community of recreation, athletic participation and competition excised from the realm of what you consider possible in your life – then you need to know a recumbent trike just might be able to give all of that back to you.

Or perhaps even grant it to you for the very first time.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m one of those who usually has to see something in action in someone else’s life before I can envision it as even the remotest possibility for myself. I think that’s the root of inspiration, the way we watch another living out his dream, and then become so chock-full of a burning desire to have that for ourselves that we borrow that person’s made-real dream as the seed and starting place, the foundation upon which we build our own dream. I guess you could call it dream-stealing. And if you were to call it that, then you’d have to characterize me as a Grade A Dream-Stealer, that’s for darn sure.

So, yeah, me:  Dream Kleptomaniac.

Dream-Stealing is how I ended up with an MFA in Poetry, got partnered with a service dog, created a poetry in the schools project, and became the 1st person to complete the NYC Marathon using a recumbent trike as reasonable accommodation for a disability. I’m not listing these things to toot my own horn, but to demonstrate that this stealing of dreams process actually works. I’ve made manifest several goals/dreams, and you can do it too.

I urge all of you, everyone I know and you know, to try it out for yourselves. Because it’s the kind of stealing that’s not only legal, but downright necessary to live an out-loud, coloring outside the lines, wild and wonderfulauthentic life. How ironic and yet perfect is it, that when we take inspiration from others, we fuel the essence, the growth, the colorful bud-bursting and life-force blooming of what is most original, special, unique & glorious inside of us?

Learning and putting into practice the art of dream-stealing will take you to places you never could’ve imagined you’d travel. Because when we plug into the dreams of others, when we avail ourselves of the wisdom and experiences, energy and courage and stories of those around us, what we do is craft acommunity of hope, imagination and innovation, creativity and camaraderie, compassion and loving-kindness. A kind of collective karma that is far stronger, more dynamic and more transformative than any earthly power.

I’m not talking about religion; I’m talking about connection. Dream-Stealing is kind of like using the realized dream–the evidence that this thing can be done–from someone who’s in fact done the thing. Premise: this has been done by X, therefore, if X can do it, then so can I. Conclusion: I can do this. Mantra? (Yes, we all need a mantra when going about the dream realization business) Mantra: I will do this!

In “stealing” dreams, you don’t take the mere idea of the dream, you take the whole thing. Most importantly, The Proof. Which is to say, along with borrowing someone else’s dream, we borrow the faith she possessed to bring that dream to fruition. Dream-Stealing is, at its heart,  Belief-Borrowing.

I think when we watch and listen to the stories of others, we often become co-conspirators in their dreams. And, in turn, their dreams often fuel our own. In watching and listening to the stories of those around us, we invest ourselves, we make ourselves a part of, we plug-in. We encourage and cheer-lead.

In sharing our own stories, we allow others to link into our dreams, we open the door–our minds and hearts and lives–to communion, to community, to Us and We. Which will always be greater and more powerful than Me and I. When we share our life stories, we’re basically making donations to the collective resource pool. The pool of possibility.

Think of it as a kind of Wishing Well, if you will, where anyone might look in and see, imagine, dare to dream. And once a glimpse of the possible-made-real from your story, your life, is had, the possibility and proof take root. A little of that other person’s dream-story mixes with yours, making it hardier. Your dream grows the way all of our stories grow, into something unique, fueled by our individual talents and desires and way of seeing the world. These stories begin with the seeds of other people’s dreams, the echo of their voices. But each story blooms and branches, grows and reaches, is fed and shaped and informed by a singular, sacred voice.

Your voice. My voice.

So, what’s your dream?

***Find inspiring stories, examples of dream-stealing & belief-borrowing, in the hyper-text links above!

PLEASE help keep my dream alive–

SUPPORT MY EFFORTS IN THE 2011 NEW YORK CITY MARATHON WITH TEAM LEARY FIREFIGHTERS FOUNDATION

I only have till November 21st to reach my fundraising goal and I really, really need your help!


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