The Acorn and the Tree

Image from Robinsharma.com

Not too long ago I read a tiny sentence that really resonated with me and changed my outlook. I mentioned it in an earlier article, but it was bogged down by other rants at the time. I firmly believe this topic cannot get enough air-time, so I'll share it again:

'Realisim is just a socially acceptable form of pessimism.'

Nowadays, I'm all for dreaming as big and crazy and radical as I can, but before reading that sentence, such was not the case. Pre-epiphany I would allow myself to dream, but these fantasies were always accompanied by a certain kind of guilt - I felt guilty for asking so much, foolish for believing something like that could happen to someone like me; I would feel small when I thought of confessing these dreams to others and have them laugh at me.

The truth is, this is what society has conditioned us to feel. When we were younger and some giant of an adult asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, we would be answered by adoring smiles when we said 'ballerina, footballer, astronaut, singer, writer, princess.' As we got closer to adulthood though, those same aspirations would receive half-humoured smiles and the follow-up question: 'but what will you really be?'

Time and again, whether vocally or by some other means, we are told to be realistic, to only aspire to things that are within our reach. After all, it saves a lot of disappointment in the long run, doesn't it? There may be something in this, but I know when I only allow myself to dream within society's boundaries, to aspire to things that have been tried, tested and achieved by millions of others before me, my soul feels like a bird trapped in a tiny cage.

Why can't we be big? Why can't we ask for the most wonderful things for ourselves? Why can't we allow ourselves to dream such fucking huge dreams that it sends our souls soaring just like in Mary Poppins - up to the highest heights? Why must we place these limits on our dreams, on our destinies? After all, haven't these miracles been achieved before by other someones just like us? We only have to believe, and be willing to let go of that little us, the one hemmed in by boundaries of realism.

If an acorn was to ask the universe what was in store for it, it would receive an image of the tallest, most magnificent tree. Now, to a tiny seed, this must seem impossible, but an acorn has never been told to dream within boundaries, so she prepares herself, she lets go of the little life she has known, and allows herself to be cracked wide open to meet her destiny.

Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are satellites in space. Dream big and aim high, then don't stop until you have achieved more and gone further. Then, when you get there, give yourself a new dream that's so huge it makes you feel sick with fear and excitement, and when you get there, lather, rinse, repeat.

In order to be the acorn, the us, here and now, we need to be the tree, for what use is an acorn, what point has it, if it will never allow itself to become the tree?