Today I want to talk about how to fight for your dreams, or FIGHT. FIGHT is what happens when you are FINISHED being a victim to circumstance. Fight is what I discovered just last week and it’s what I’m spreading like a fire breathing dragon.
Last week I had an encounter. I wish I could share the details but in the name of protection I can’t. Suffice it to say that this “casual” encounter was something that made me very uncomfortable. The person left and I stood there. A deep rumble came up from within me. “Noooo mooorrre!” it roared.
In a flash of clarity that was long overdue I realized what I needed to do. I saw my part in things. But more than that – in that exact moment I gave up all willingness to be a victim. On. Any. Level.
There is a place for process. There is a place for psychological understanding, for compassion and sympathy – and then there is a place for FIGHT.
This FIGHT that I speak of is not aggressive. It doesn’t cause damage, it builds worlds. Its your very essence screaming, “Choose life!”
The other day a girl came to me because her best (and only) friend dumped her. Tears were streaming down her face as she came in to my house to tell me what happened. She was miserable, sweaty and sad. She was heartbroken.
It was Shabbos, so I sat with her in the late hours of evening on the couch. We spoke about her relationships in school and how she was called weird. She felt pitiful, hopeless and discouraged
Forty minutes later, when she calmed down I looked at her and said “Remember all those reasons that girl gave you for not being friends? It had nothing to do with you. Right? She has her growing up to do. She has goals she wants to accomplish and she doesn’t know how this friendship works into that.”
“Guess what. You have goals too! You want to have friends! You want to get good grades! You have dreams! This is time for you to be the person you always wanted to be! You’ve had a rough few years. You know what it’s like to not have friends. Now it’s time to change things. Now you are going to create yourself!”
You can fight for your dreams!
She looked at me. “But I’m weird. Everyone says I’m weird, I’m just different and anyway no one in my class is nice.”
I said “Than you be nice. You be the nicest girl in the class. You go out and win an award for how nice you are! You be the role model of niceness for all humanity! Not only that, but you can get the grades you want. You can end the year at the top of class. You can!”
She had never heard me talk like that. Teenage kids come over to hang out in our living room all the time and usually they get licorice and popcorn and nice words. Not this time.
This time I knew that she had only two places to go – down into feeling worse for herself or up into FIGHT. This exact experience of loss could propel her into victimhood (noone wants to be friends with me not even my best friend) or triumph (at the lowest point in my life, I picked my head up and said, I am going to make something of myself.)
And these are my thoughts today. Feeling your feelings is important. Being sad or lonely or in pain or debt is real and it’s necessary. But after that comes FIGHT.
FIGHT for me is a code word for choosing, for triumphing, for fully owning adulthood and the fact that we get back what we invest and not a penny more. To the extent that we are willing to work for it (good health, a good marriage, money, friends) that is the extent that we will win. Winning doesn’t always mean getting what we want but it does mean having fulfillment, empowerment and accomplishment.
This week I read about a woman with Stage 4 cancer. Her doctors gave her 6 months to live. She prepared to say good bye to her family and friends. When after one year she was still alive – she decided “Oh, I’m not dying. In that case, I’m going to LIVE.
She began speaking and mentoring and blogging. Everywhere she goes people know her and are praying for her. On so many counts this woman is incredible. But you know what got me in that article? When she wrote “I blog every single day, even if I am exhausted from treatments.”
A small thing maybe, compared to her other feats of survival. But to me, it spoke of FIGHT. A choice.
I struggle to find time to write. I know in my heart that I am supposed to be teaching and sharing and yet days and weeks go by when I am too busy, too tired or wonder if it even matters.
What I learned from Chaya is that she is at choice. Cancer doesn’t stop her. Chemo doesn’t stop her. Fear of dying doesn’t stop her. She is at FIGHT. She is clear about what she wants to do and she is going out and doing it.
We live with demons bigger than cancer. We live with parent’s voices and depression’s voice. We live with the memories of disappointments and loss. And it is all too easy to let those voices make the choice for us. They do it all the time, even when we are not aware of it.
And this is why I use the word FIGHT. I am not a fighter by nature. I like peace and compromise. And when it comes to other people, that is the way to go. But when it comes to yourself, to the things you dream of, to the person you need to be and the future you need to create – that requires fight. You’ve got to fight past the “I’m weird” of an 8th grader and push for the medal.
Nina is an 19 year old girl from a terrible family situation. She has no support and her father, still wanting control, won’t release his financial information so that she can apply for financial aid.
All Nina wants is an education. She’s a smart girl and college is her ticket to her future. A month and a half ago a woman named Terry offered to help Nina with Fafsa (financial aid) and met with her once or twice to determine a course of action. Nina was excited. She finally had support. The dream could come true. Then the woman stopped returning her phone calls. Nina left message after message and for unknown reasons was not met with a response.
I’ve been trying to help Nina so yesterday I asked her, “What’s up with the Fafsa?” She looked at me with a frustrated grin, “Well. Tomorrow is harass Terry day.”
I said “Nina, WHY?” You’ve been calling Terry so many times and she hasn’t answered. Maybe she’s off helping someone else. Who knows? What you DO know is that you want to go to college. So let’s see how you can make that happen.”
“But how can it happen if I don’t have my paperwork? I don’t understand?”
Nina was nearly crying. Having spent most of her life being disempowered she couldn’t believe that anything could change. I saw her face struggling. My words confused her. She wanted to believe me but she couldn’t.
I said “Nina, this is your future. You want it. You’ve got to go out and get it. There are a million ways to get into college and we’ve got to find those ways. You will not sit here being a victim to phone tag while your dreams slip away from you.”
I pulled out a Sharpie and we began to write. In the middle of the paper – Nina. At the top of the paper – College. And then we began to brainstorm. Together we thought of ten action steps that would lead us closer to that goal of college. Ten steps that would probably lead to ten more steps. She had six things to do and I had four.
“Nina, I’m writing down these four calls that I need to make for you. I plan on making them . But if you don’t hear back from me very soon, I want you to bug me. Even though I’m taking responsibility for it, it’s your fight, it’s your dream.”
Today, though it was a tremendously busy day with a Doctor’s appointment and coaching, I made those calls. Because of her determination to fight, action started to happen! I did four out of my four tasks. And guess what. Nina did six out of six! She is on her way!
Do you see what happened here? Nina got her FIGHT on. No More Victim. And her fighting spirit enrolled me. It spreads! We wrote a mantra which I now keep on my fridge .
I am a fighter. I am not a victim to people or circumstance. I fight for my future.
Tomorrow is Yom Kippur. A day of Teshuva/Repentance/Return.
On Yom Kippur day, we will stand before The King of Kings and we’ll be asking Him for forgiveness and regretting our misdeeds of the past. But what about the future?
The future is up to us. That’s a choice. It’s not just a desire. “It’s Yom Kippur, I feel so elevated, I’m so inspired, I want to change.”
It’s more than that. It’s a look at where I’ve had enough of my choices, where I’ve been passive in life – and committing with absolute clarity to do things differently.
Change requires a willingness to let go of the old way. To say no more. And it takes work. When you change, you rock your world. But if you don’t FIGHT it through you will never know what you can be. You have dreams to fulfill and greatness to achieve. It is all possible!
May you be stirred towards your convictions, towards your dreams, towards life. May you be moved by the knowledge that YOU CAN DO IT and may you remember that the way to be written in the Book of Life is to choose it.
Fight For Your Dreams!
NOTE – Registration is almost closed for The Wholeness and Healing Through Creativity Retreat. If this Retreat is for you – FIGHT for yourself and sign up!