"Your past is not your future; you have the power to make new decisions for your life starting today."
- Deb Sofield

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Dreams are Free

I have a lot of great opportunities but one of the ones I’m privileged to be a part of is TEDx for which I am the speaker coach.

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics – from science to business to global issues – in more than 100 languages.

For a number of years, every Sunday, it was my practice to choose and watch 5 TED talks on subjects I knew little to nothing about. It was a great, free way for me to educate myself on topics I never had even thought about in the comfort of my living room.

Recently, we hosted TEDx Greenville here in my hometown and I am the speaker coach for the presenters. I had such a grand time with these amazing folks that I am going to have a few of them on the show to introduce you to a world you may not know much about throughout the year.

We had a presenter this year by the name of Jody Servon. Jody is an artist but she uses more than a brush or paint, Jody engages people into her art and her TED talk was Dream for Free.

In her presentation, Dream for Free, Jody collects dreams from people in exchange for a lottery ticket. For every ticket that she distributes, she asks the recipient to write down his or her desires for what they would do if they won. On each occasion, she purchases 50 tickets and gives them to people she meets in public places such as city streets, restaurants, convenience stores, transportation centers, festivals, parks and laundromats. She says on her website that she understand that the lottery is a complex social issue, but she is using these tickets to encourage people to dream big-bigger than they would if she were to give away dollar bills.

What I love about Jody’s site is that she posts actual handwritten dreams of those who have taken her up on her offer of a dream for free. Let me share just a few with you and I encourage you to go to her site and read the rest. (http://www.dreamsforfree.org)

One person wrote they would finally get the dental care they needed. Many offered to take care of their parents home, car, or buy them a new stove, some would start a nonprofit, most would travel, open a business or music studio. Most would pay off student loans, family debt, and debts of friends; some would save for their future.

Many would give to charities like – Diabetes, heart health, or open a free health care clinics for the uninsured or donate money to HIV/AIDs research. Some offered to adopt children so they could have a home. Some simply wrote: help the poor.

And then there were those who dreamed big – buy an island, go to Jamaica, hire a polka band, and one wanted to build a roller coaster between their favorite coffee shop, house and their favorite bar.

Yes, dreams are for free and I love her site and the idea behind it.

I wonder, what is your dream? I know that life gets in the way and many of us put our dreams on hold until we have more money, the kids are grown, the job is finished. But if you had the chance to take a few minutes and dream, what is it that you would hope for? What would you like to do? Where would you like to go?

I like to be hopeful in my thinking and to do that many times I have to get out of my own way. I have to let my imagination flow then step back a minute and just go with it as I dream, or day dream in my case.

I have been blessed to have dreams come true. I’ve had a travel bucket list for as long as I can remember and in the past few years a few of those “dream-about-places -I’d-like-to-go” have come true.

I always wanted to go to Russia (my dear friend Nancy made it possible) and I was able to stand and behold St. Basil’s Cathedral there in Kremlin Square. It was a lifelong dream to walk into the church and admire the handiwork of years ago. Then while in Istanbul (my favorite city in the world) I had the good fortune to visit the Hagia Sophia. I had read a book called Jewels and the author had a ring handed down for generations. It was made from a few stones from the mosaic depicting angels billowing robes. It seems some great uncle had swiped some stones that he shouldn’t have, but now she is the owner of the ring that set the story in place. When I was there I discovered that, in fact, some stones are missing from the angels robes. Exciting stuff along with the opportunity to visit the Spice Market, which I had dreamed of all my life. You could smell the spices before you arrived at the market and although it was a lot smaller than I expected, it was still exciting to be there-simply a dream come true. I’ve been to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, and the Wailing Wall, and recently to visit the hospital where I was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Dreams do come true in one way or another.

I am living proof that dreams do come true and not just for travel but for opportunity and I believe the same thing can be true for you. And what I think is the greatest gift of all is that if you put your mind to something – somehow things just seem to fall into place. But I found the key is simply to dream and then to put feet to those dreams and set about to make something happen.

I love the thought that dream are free anytime, anywhere, anyhow you can stop and breath and let your mind break free of the current issues at hand you can set forth a path.

If I were able to offer you a ticket to dream today without thinking too hard about it what would you dream about? Dream to do? Dream to be or have or become? Kind of fun to think about on this spring day – the freedom to wish out loud and perhaps put plans in place, or at least prayers in place, to make something happen.

I know this is a lighter thought than my usual conversations. I listen to Jody tell about her project and the affect it has on those who, for just a minute, stop and simply dream. I find it life changing. Because as I go through my days with clients who are working towards a goal, or are digging out from issues that have been weighing them down, in a sense we dream together of getting through. We dream together of what it will be like on the other side of the issue. In that way I see real dreams come true and lives change.

There is a lot of work out there about dreams and how they can help many achieve things in life, both great and small. I’m going to share with you some of the medical science that proves that daydreaming or dreaming is good for your mind and body because it allow you some space to simply be.

If I were to offer you the chance to scratch off a million dollar ticket what would you do with the money? If only for an instance what is the first thing that comes to mind? What you answer says a lot about you in a good way it says you’re open to thinking on the bright side (if for just a minute) and allows you some space to breath and think and hope and pray.

And please note although I do not advocate gambling in any way. I do advocate for you the option to dream…because dreams are free and for many they do come true.

Don't go where the path may lead - go where there is no path and leave a trail. - Emerson