In the lobby of the Actors Equity Association offices in Manhattan is a wall of Hopes and Dreams. It's called the New Year's Eve Wishing Wall. On it you will find little pieces of graffiti from a past New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square, whereupon people have scribbled their hopes and dreams – for themselves or others.
I stood there for a while reading those little slips of paper and I was transported. I left my own little world with my self-absorbed worries and concerns and was given a glimpse into other people's lives. I saw what they were hoping and dreaming for. I saw what was important to them. I saw things like…
"This is the year I will kick cancer's butt."
"I will learn to walk again."
"My son will overcome depression."
"I will finally get a job as a dancer."
Wow. It's like someone pulled back a curtain and said, "Here you go. Look into the hearts and souls of other people for a moment. Look, see and feel what is important to them." And I was reminded.
Everyone has hopes and dreams. Everyone. Even the crankiest, snarkiest most negative person on the planet. They may have buried their dreams so deeply that they can barely remember what they are – but they do have them. And maybe my job as a person (not just as a motivational speaker) is to remember this. Maybe it's to consciously bring this awareness to all my interactions with others. I have a feeling it would bring me a lot more acceptance, understanding and compassion.
Right now – to help me remember to do this – here's my plan (and I invite you to join me if you like) I'm taking a little post-it note (about the size of a piece of graffiti) and write one of my dreams on it. I'm putting it right on the margin of my computer monitor with the intention for it to do two things. 1) To actually REMIND me of my dream and 2) To remind me that OTHER people really are just like me. On THIS "hope and dream" level, anyway, they are just like me.