Dancing in a full suit of armor is impossible. Throwing clay with your hands bound or painting when your eyes are covered are both equally unlikely. Sure, an elephant can paint. What we can’t know is if the elephant had a specific vision that their trunk-brush limited. We’ve all had dreams, visions of hope. We dream and then construct the tactical plans to attain the goal. We convert dream to reality.

Failure can lead to reticence. Misfortune causes hesitation. Uncertainty fosters procrastination. The constant friction steals hope and fades the dream. We guard ourselves against the poor outcomes. If it feels unrelenting, we shake the Etch-A-Sketch and give up the dream. Why dream? Why hope? What is the point? It is all too much, too hard, too improbable. Forget aiming lower, just don’t look up. Stay in your lane, do your small life and try to get at least that small part of the universe right! Right?

And with this abandonment, the heart hardens. Hope feels lost. Joy no longer resides nearby. You can’t even get to silly or fun. Joy and hope do not live – cannot thrive – without the pendulum of uncertainty and even failure. To win big, you must risk big. This is not the Manic-Depressive’s motto. It is life. LIFE. You cannot make something from nothing. There is balance and economy in the universe. To live is to die. To create, something must be lost. Think about compost. To grow a stalk of corn, the seed that was the kernel must die, be destroyed to become the next stalk of corn. The seed cannot remain a seed AND become new corn. It must give up what it was.

How to hold onto hope and dreams when misfortune has ground you to a smooth surface? It is far too easy to simply reside in that neutral zone, numb and ambivalent. Why try because everything might go batshit sideways? Not trying – not risking – means perpetual tepid, anemic, banal, anesthetized haze. Nothing feels bad but nothing feels good, either. Nothing is risked, but nothing is ever gained.

To step into the fray – again – after getting your ass handed to you over and over and over again is hard. The body, mind and spirit never forget the battery of past losses. But, it also recalls the blissful joy and elation of _____________. Fill in the blank. Getting the diploma. Winning the gold medal. Building that dream house. Running a successful business. Falling in love.

What is worthy of our hearts and minds? What endeavor do we aspire that makes us want to risk it all? Do we believe in our capacity to climb the mountain, traverse the hardest terrain, penetrate the thickest of walls? Can we muster the courage to try again, risk again, forge forward on that path towards the brightness of joy?

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