Accomplishing Things in Life...
Even Long Shots

Perhaps, I should start this essay with one characteristic that I possess.  I am a dreamer, which I consider an asset.  Nonetheless, merely being a dreamer doesn't guarantee obtaining the dream.  Often, I am caught on the horns of a dilemma.  One horn contains the dream and the other contains possible failure.  Additionally, the larger the dream can cause a larger failure. 

I need to address this tension of between being lauded by people for being successful and being laughed at by the others as a fool.  When I get up in the morning and shave, I face a haunting reality while looking at myself.  Will my dreams come true or will they be dashed?  Talk about a reality check.  Having the ability to get wound-up and excited about another Don Quixote-esque quest is tempered by looking like a fool.

Do you want me to be absolutely honest with you?  I have wanted to interview Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Lady, for years.  In fact, I spent months prior to traveling to Myanmar (Burma) trying to contact her.  When in Myanmar, I continued my effort to get to someone who could convey to her my desire.  And I failed. 

So, what did I do?  I went back to the drawing board and redesigned another strategy.  You are probably wondering why I would attempt again to interview the most important human rights leader in the world.  What makes me different from others who have wanted to interview the Lady?  In the hierarchy of important people in the world or even in my neighborhood, I don't rank high even on the neighborhood scale. 

Nonetheless, I can think of three things.  I have danced with death twice.  Both times, I was able to lead death on life's dancefloor.  That success taught me something that, if I hadn't done the dance, I couldn't have known.  I know what it felt like to be in a hospital in a semi-vegetative state.  When I successfully did the dance, I knew the reality of living life at a more intense level than I knew it before the dance.  Dancing with death can cause one to come alive. 

Aside from my two dances, my trip to Myanmar was transformative.  During my life, I have traveled all over the world to places in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.  Of all the countries in which I have traveled, Myanmar changed me.  I thought that I was driven during the 60s during the civil rights movement in America.  Well, going to a protest rally near Sule Pagoda in Yangon has heightened my level of drive on issues related to human rights. 


During the past three years since being in Myanmar, I have tried again to contact the Lady.  This time, I came up with a new and better approach.  I remembered that when I was in Yangon that the US Embassy was located next to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's home.  Therefore, I asked my congressman, Rep. Pete Visclosky, to send my email to the American ambassador in Yangon so that he could forward my email to the Lady requesting an interview.  A day or two later, I heard for the American embassy that they forwarded my email to the person in charge of dealing with interviews with Aung San Suu Kyi.  However, I was told that this is a long process and will take time even if I am granted an interview.


The Lady

While I am waiting, I have attempted to do several things like getting an additional part-time job.  I am an adjunct professor at a local college, but I am semi-retired.  However, I wanted to do some additional work to financially make a return trip to Myanmar easier.  My initial effort failed, and I told Moh Moh, one of my tour guides in Myanmar, about being disappointed about not getting an extra job and not hearing about whether I could interview Aung San Suu Kyi.  A couple days after sending Moh Moh my email, she replied and essentially told me to be more like another mentor of mine, Don Quixote. 

I listened to Moh Moh.  I still believe that I will return to Myanmar and interview the Lady.  As a reader, would you like to know what I have done...while waiting?  I have gotten a new passport, gotten some needed shots like a typhoid booster, gotten anti-malaria pills, special antibiotic medication, spoken with the college at which I teach regarding teaching online, gotten additional memory sticks and batteries for my camera and video camera, gotten some essays written and ready for my webpage while I am away,

In conclusion, it is interesting how my dreaming works.  I have many mentors who have assisted me in my dreaming, like Bobby Kennedy. He paraphrased George Bernard Shaw when Kennedy said, "Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not."  I have used that as my email signature for decades. 

Teddy Roosevelt delivered a speech at the Sorbonne in Paris over a century ago.  The following is what historians call the Man in the Arena paragraph.  I get Roosevelt's message that I should dare greatly even if I fail.  At least, I won't be like "those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Dancing with death has taught me how to live life...while I have the gift of life.  There will be a time in the future that I won't be around.  I need to dream my dreams and hopefully accomplish them.  However, by my dreaming dreams, I can demonstrate to my children and grandchildren how to dream in their lives. 

This is a video about success in life.

Bobby Kennedy

Bobby Kennedy

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On Seeing the Light

On Seeing the Light

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Connecting The Dots

Connecting the Dots

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Darkest Before Dawn

Darkest Before Dawn

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The Last Lecture

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Dancing with Death

Dancing with Death

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My Hauntings

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Don Quixote

"Don Quixote"

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An old man and his grandson

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Best of Times

Best and Worst of Times

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