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June 19, 2009


I have a great affinity for the Bell Jar dream. This fear of choosing, among others, kept me from starting my own business. In my case, I thought, "If I start Mind Full Tutors, I won't get married and have my own family." Choosing between success and love, I thought. Dare to Dream is teaching me about the falsity of this belief. But, I had to start choosing -- and choose quickly. I started with Mind Full Tutors...(the rest is still in progress!)

As to your project, atta girl! Wow. Might I humbly suggest another item to your list? Get money.

I've learned from experience that putting your research and plans on paper as a means to convince people to fund you is a) essential to actually doing it and b) an uplifting, focusing, empowering experience. In essence, you need backers. I have found that my backers are also my biggest helpers. They've hooked me up with the right people and steered me in productive directions.

I think you're in the right place, or at least headed the right direction. You've made a choice, and a much more do you need to start?

And I'm jealous that you get to spend time in the Baptiste studio--someday I'll go there. It's just too far away to justify the time spent coming and going.

I am struggling with some very similar things. The question I am asking myself right now (and I wonder if you have ever thought about this) is: Is it too ambitious (or even selfish) to think that I can have a bite of many pieces of fruit on the tree. Can we wear multiple hats at one time? How many hats is too many? Do we risk being mediocre by pursuing multiple dreams instead of trying to be exceptional at one?

Mercedes, what an amazing idea for a documentary. I've encountered a few doc.producers filmmakers in my realm of friends and circles and might be able to put your idea to people who might get it done. Feel free to email (Whitney has my contact info) and we could discuss further. Times are changing especially as we look at how the Iranian citizens are looking for their political voice and their dream. Many practices like female genital mutilation and honor killing that are part of a masculine dominated society will hopefully fall by the wayside as principles of equality, human rights and in some cases democracy reach these cultures.

You ask some provocative questions Erinn about wanting many hats. I relate to this - I have chosen many things - one to be Mercedes' mother. The list is long and broad in its scope and yet I have never really felt "accomplished". I am a good dabbler. When we are commanded to live a full life does it mean a dabbling life or an accomplished life?

Mercedes it was good to hear your story and of your choices. I agree with Janna: get money.

Wow! That's choosing BIG.
Way to dream, way to choose!

thank you everyone for your suggestions and comments!

lisle: if you get a chance i'd encourage you to come to bapiste. they have a deal where your can practice as much as you like for your first week for free. i know it is far away---but it is SO worth it.

emily: let's get in touch. i would love to meet or speak with anyone who is working in the field. what a kind offer!

erinn: your questions really get to the heart of what i have been struggling with. for a while i have been dabbling. i haven't felt particularly successful in any of the things i have tried, but i haven't put my whole heart and energy into anything either. at this point i feel like committing to one thing is what i need to do. that said, i'm hoping that sometime down the road my tree will be full of fruit and i'll have the opportunity to choose again. i still want to do it all.

janna/mom: you are both right. this project requires dough. add grant proposals to my to do list!

Sometimes I feel like I don't dream enough, and my fig tree is empty. Those such as yourself whose trees are laden are great inspiration to those of us more barren.

Amy Jo when I first came into contact with Whitney and the whole Dare to Dream concept, I confess that I felt barren too. I admire those like Janna and Mercedes and Whitney and Dana who have a really clear idea of what it is that they want. Does it suggest a certain contentment with what we have currently - maybe we are already living the dream? Or is it that we might be preparing and gearing up for something that will open up later? I don't have any answers except to tell you that I don't think you should feel bad about being barren. I was listening to a program on the CBC today that addressed this idea of being more? More of what? Doing more? Does this being more and doing more just mean more than someone else? If we take two lives and one achieves many things and one lives pretty basically whose life is more meaningful? To whom? Your comment has created a good deal of reflection for me. I just don't want you ever ever to feel that not having a dream is bad, inadequate or unworthy.

I assume you have heard of Sarah Chayes, who left her job as an NPR reporter to try to rebuild Afghanistan. Every time I hear her speak, I am blown away by her willingness to put her life on the line (literally) to serve the people there. Here's just one link (among many):

I recommend getting in touch with her. A quick (although not necessarily easy) way to gain credibility (and contacts) is to start holding fundraisers or setting up a foundation in Utah whereby people can donate time, money, or goods that Sarah needs. Or offer to market her Afghani products in Utah. (They sound pretty wonderful.)

Once you get into the "mix" of a certain cause or group of people, you will be amazed at the opportunities that eventually come your way. Opportunity is a mixture of preparation, luck, timing, and sometimes a bit of divine intervention. It will come your way if you truly seek it and are willing to sacrifice for it. Good luck! You are engaged in a worthy cause!

My friend Kimberlee McWhorter is currently filming documentaries; why don't you reach out to her via FB?

What an interesting project this will turn out to be! As always, Mercedes, I feel unable to contribute anything pertinent or intelligent, but I will attempt anyways.
I wonder what their views on western punishment is? I know I feel sick when I watch to Catch a Predator and see those caught get a week or month in prison- I'm a firm believer that castration may be better? What would I be thinking as appropriate behavior or punishable "crimes" if I had been born elsewhere?I wonder what the punishment for those sort of crimes I feel passionately about here would be in Afghanistan?
This is the first I have ever heard about honor killings and at the moment am feeling VERY blessed that I am having daughters in this country. I can't wait to see the finished product & help- i don't know how- perhaps a fundraiser? or I can always send you care packages?

I love the fig tree dream. What a wonderful time we live in where we have so many options but how horrible that by being able to do it all, women now think they have to do it all-that by choosing one we feel like we are not whole or missing out.
I struggle at times with the perception of being "Just a Mother", and what else I should/could be doing. If I look within myself and ignore everything else that has been taught to me; I feel not only content but thriving in this singular role.

Love you!

I can't add to these wonderful suggestions, but I offer you admiration and support! What a terrific choice to make.

Mercedes, I'm one of those who tries to pick and eat more fruit than I can handle!

Once you come to Utah, I can put you in touch with several film makers, so you can learn the craft.

I can also point you towards some great yoga!

Your mom has my contact info. Great project, good luck!

Love this idea. I'm like you, Mercedes, I don't have so much trouble dreaming, but concentrating on just one dream.
Great thoughts. I do have one potential contact for you. A friend from high school has worked for the State Dept in Afghanistan. I'm not sure if she is still there, but I would be happy to put you in touch with her. Email me at [email protected].

M - so excited to hear about your choice - that is OUTSTANDING.
Hardest part of a marathon is suiting up and taking that first step...
Way to go!

I totally agree with you. Daring to Dream is not difficult. The process of thinking through the choices and then making one is the difficult part. When I was young, I dreamed big dreams, and wouldn't think through a thing. I just dove it head first and experienced a lot of failures, and much success. What I learned at a very young age is that "I CAN". I can do whatever I choose to do. Confidence was never an issue. What I wished I knew then was more about priorities. However, life has unfolded for me as it has. I have lived many very complete lives in this one. I have been a successful and eager student fulfilling my dream to succeed as a learner and keep all doors open for me. I succeeded at being the first in our family to attend university and fulfill my chiclhood dream of being an educator. I did not allow myself to dream of being a lawyer. I thought about it, but there was onely one woman in law school at that time, and the "I CAN" wasn't ringing true for me about that issue in those days. I have the same friendships I entered into when I was 12. That is the fulfillment of an important dream. I have two beautiful daughters that are really good human beings and working to make a real difference in this world every day. Another dream fulfilled. I met the love of my life and am living out my later years in a quiet peaceful place where the sun shines happiness upon us every day. Do I still dream? I have lived a long enough life to have come to the very upsetting conclusion that I will not live long enough to fulfill all of my life goals. SO, I am working daily at making every day matter. Every day count. Every day accomplish something to make this world, or someone in it, better.
I have weeded my friendship garden and keep only those close to me that make me the best I can be. I have monitored my time to ensure I am getting the most out of how I spend each day. I have put aside the idea of the diamond ring for the tuition fee to a new university class or for an airline ticket to another country I haven't been to yet.
I have an insatiable appetite for learning, so teaching was the perfect life for me. I have an insatiable appetite to express what I have learned creatively through the art of drawing, or painting, or cooking for my family and friends.
I totally agree with your thesis about the HONOR being politically motivated. Theologically, honor killings are impossible. Honor is an aspect of integrity. There is no honor in any act that puts another in harms way.
There is honor in choosing to live your dream, and taking action every day to make sure you are on the right path, and if you veer off, you know you are doing so, as you are the one leading your own life's path. You are not a follower.
Thanks for the window into your future. I can't wait to see that part of it come true.
XO Valerie

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About this blog

  • When I took a sabbatical from Wall Street to pursue a different dream and help others live theirs, I learned that women in the U.S. may be placated, even pampered, but because we aren't dreaming, we are also desperate and depressed. Drawing on a variety of sources, ranging from academic studies to pop culture, dare to dream encourages us to dream. And then to act on our dreams.


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