now. see the sky.

Thinly stretched over several planes of existence, it was only a matter of time before the snap occurred. It was inevitable really. I knew it was coming, I did my best. I tried everything, explored different methodology, I gave more, studied more, did more, sacrificed more… and honestly, went about doing life backwards.

When the tears finally hit hard, and my self could not take another step… I finally stood still.

‘There’s one last thing you haven’t tried…’ I heard Him whisper.

He was right. Slowly, I took out the heart-shaped box and unfolded the first letter I saw. I began to read – line upon line, promises upon promises – the letters He once wrote to me.

*

‘I struggle and emerge…’

With numerous deadlines looming ahead, it’s a real struggle to rest without guilt. Even when my body crashes in rebellion against late nights and long days, the first thing I do when my eyes open from slumber is to make a coffee, turn on the computer and reply emails.

Today was therefore, a real struggle.

Bleary-eyed with the remnants of sleep, I spent almost 3 hours (on my day off) answering emails and researching facts to substantiate my decisions. It’s a sad day when my coffee and breakfast are both ingested over the keyboard. Once completed, I washed up and the little girl came home. Sleep will have to wait, I told myself as I sat at the dining table and chatted with her about her day. I knew she was missing me terribly…

Two hours later, she was finally under the blankets for a nap, when the doorbell rang and the little boy came home. I repeated the entire routine with him till it was his turn for a nap.

I finally crawled into bed with a sigh, when my phone began beeping with text messages pouring in.

‘This is getting so frustrating!’ I screamed in silence. ‘I give up! I can’t do this anymore… I really need to rest. I’m literally falling apart. Can’t You do something about this?’ The tears were rolling down my face.

Ever since Mother left for Japan, the demands of life doubled, both at home and at work. The care-giver for my handicapped sister had to be replaced, the school-teacher called to highlight some problems with the little boy, the little girl grew emotional… every spare time I have left over from work is spent handling matters at home.

It’s not been easy at all.

And crafting time to relax has been the hardest thing to accomplish on my list. It’s not because I couldn’t craft out time. I could. I just couldn’t do it without feeling guilty when demands surrounded me on all sides.

Lying in bed, unable to sleep, I wept.

‘Are you really giving up?’ the Dream Maker asked.

‘Yes, I am.’ I whispered in reply.

‘Then I can be Your strength,’ He said. ‘Because these demands are not meant for you to meet.’

I scoffed. Easy for you to say, I thought. Who else was going to do it, if not me?

‘I am.’ He said. ‘I am your now, if you let me. I am your rest. I am your strength. I am your solution. Not your tomorrows, not your yesterdays… I am your now.’

I’m not sure when I fell asleep after that, or what transpired while I was at rest, but emerging from that moment, life seemed a little more manageable. Sure, there are deadlines I still need to meet (in fact, after this post, I’m going back to work) but the change wasn’t about the tasks. It went deeper.

It was my perspective.

I could finally see the sky.

‘Living is being happy: seeing, hearing, touching, drinking, eating, urinating, defecating, diving into the water and gazing at the sky, laughing and crying.’

– Milan Kundera

Saturated with the knowledge that the Dream Maker walks alongside me, I shall venture forth. One step at a time. And I will emerge from this journey with a smile.

Because I don’t live for my tomorrows, nor dwell in my regrets.

I live… now.

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dreaming it real

A boy in a wheelchair dreams of dancing.

It’s the biggest dream he has that fills him up with hope.

‘There’s all this new research that they’re doing and I think if I tried them all, one of them is bound to work for me,’ he smiles at his school counselor.

‘I read your file and… you know you are severely crippled,’ she answers him, holding sheets of medical research in her hands. ‘These studies take ten years or more before they are even tested on humans…’

And as the words of his counselor sinks into his heart, he bows his head and leaves the room. He lets go of his dream. Someone finally woke him up to reality.

‘It’s not going to happen, but I’m really okay,’ he says to his girlfriend. ‘I’ll make new dreams. I’ll dream of things that are possible.’

Yes, I was watching episode #19 of Glee’s first season and in my heart, applauded the scriptwriters for handling the delicate, nearly intangible topic of hope and reality, with dignity and grace. Year after year, thousands of hopeful wannabees put themselves out in American Idol auditions… and I am always amazed at how many people live in a bubble where all things are possible.

‘My momma says I’m a great singer so f%#k you Simon Cowell!’ I hear that statement repeated time and again on the show.

One of the hardest things I’ve had to handle, when auditioning singers in the past, was telling them that they didn’t have the natural foundations for what makes a good singer. Here I am, on one hand, telling people to build visions and dreams, while the flipside to what I do is bringing reality into what simply cannot be. I do my best to help them seek out their natural giftings and build on what’s already in them.

Dreams and reality – if there ever was a better conundrum, I haven’t found it.

‘Years ago, I couldn’t carry a tune,’ SoftSpeaker once said to me. ‘I know you won’t believe it but I never sang in public, and when I did, people told me I wasn’t cut out to be a singer. But it was all I dreamed of doing.’

She has since recorded albums and her voice is heard on at least two internationally marketed albums. She has performed in front of thousands and yet, here is a girl who says she couldn’t sing. What would have happened then, if she allowed someone else’s opinion change her course?

Can a dream be so powerful it changes the very elements of a person’s physical makeup, taking the impossible into the realm of possibility? Would that have worked for the boy in the wheelchair?

*

The first song I ever sang for my vocal teacher (more than ten years ago) was Dream A Little Dream (funny… I only just saw the irony of my selection) and because she was a jazz singer, she cut me off. I think I hurt her ears and caused embarrassment to her favourite genre of music.

Back then, I actually harboured dreams of performing on stage. My first vocal teacher (the temperamental witch!) was unyielding in her attack on my dreams and truthfully, I thank her for that because in injecting such mockery at my juvenile vocal attempts, she steered my dreaming into the right direction.

Today, I know that I’m not cut out to be a singer with albums under her belt. My ideals are lowered and I just want to sing well enough to hold a song without the cringe factor, while I do what’s necessary on stage. I have since sung in choir recordings, taught choir singers, done backing vocals, performed in musicals and my forte (if any) would be funny, dramatic and hilarious pieces. Yes, my singing is more a support role to what I do better – I am a communicator.

Do I still dream? Hell yes.

But I’ve also learnt the difference between fantasies and actual dreams. My definitions of both categories are based on a healthy combination of experience, brutally honest people, hope… and a sprinkling of all-things-are-possibility.

I fantasize about writing a book (while I battle deadlines for short articles), running a restaurant (I don’t even cook regularly though I must say, I eat well) and being in the top 20 fastest runners of a marathon (when I can’t even finish running 10k).

And my dreams? Ultimately, I just want to be happy and fulfilled every single moment of my day.

But that might just be made up of many tiny little fantasies… and that’s why it’s important to keep it all alive. With the power of dreaming and the Dream Maker’s ability, it might all come true.

Am I contradicting myself in this entire post? Yes. Because that’s precisely what dreams do.

They contradict reality and offer the solace that one day, what we want will happen, what we want changed will finally transform and what we desire most of all is really, already in our hands.

I say, dream on.

Now please excuse me while I go back to my fantasies.