Thursday, 19 February 2015


Designing Dreams has changed its address, seeking for a platform that suits it better. You can read the newest posts here. Thank you!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

[breathing #17] life is a bamboo tree

Nothing happens by chance. This is one thing I believe on. I discovered Les Brown today. I never heard about him before, let alone hear one of his talks.

He's a great motivational speaker: inside him there's passion, knowledge and the will to share. I also admire his strength, however what most inspires me in his life story is: he never gave up. That's a great lesson we need to learn.

"If you can't see it, it doesn't mean it isn't working".

In this video I'm sharing with you, Les talks about nurture, constant nurture. That metaphor of the Chinese Bamboo tree is a great reminder, and the seed I needed to continue to pursuit my goals. To remind myself that I'm capable enough to achieve them.

We live in a world of instant rewarding, he says. We want what we want, right here and right now. But life isn't a one ladder stairway. Or has a trampoline that let us jump from the first ladder to the last. I lack this asset: of being patient. It's something I need to work on.

Right now, I think I wouldn't be able to water that bamboo tree every single day for 4 years. One day I would forget it, another I wouldn't feel like having all the work to just water it (and just tell myself "it's just one day, what harm can it make?", and then make of this an habit), the following day I'd question myself "What's the purpose? I can't see any outcome" or "I must be doing something wrong. But what?". One day, I'd be so full of excuses that I wouldn't be even conscious that I haven't gave any chance for that tree to grow. Here's my opportunity to change and grow.

I do it with most of my dreams: I do something and nothing happens. I continue doing it for some time and, still, nothing happens. I change here and there, but, well, nothing happens! So I quit and try another dream. I do this in a loop, growing to infinity. This talk taught me that I'm doing everything wrong, even when I'm thinking "I must be doing something wrong". My efforts are an Escher painting, with all that climbing and downing stairs.

Nothing happens by chance, and yet it's curious that, once again, another big lesson in my life is carried in the voice of Chinese history and culture (and nature!). I admire Chinese people very much for all this reasons (and correct me if I'm wrong):

  • They fight endlessly, no matter the obstacles;
  • Everything in their lives has a purpose and is useful (aesthetics aren't a purpose);
  • They search for an equilibrium in all areas (mind and body, traditional and western medicine/philosophies/wisdom, history and innovation, among others);
  • They are always polite and grateful.

I once read a wonderful article by Garr Reynolds in Presentation Zen (still one of my favourite blogs!), which talked about this bamboo tree. I think you should read it too.

On my endeavours about this awesome Chinese plant, I discovered a great YouTube video, with all the lessons we can learn with a simple seed:

Also, even if you don't like animation movies, you need to watch Big Hero 6. This is one of the best Disney movies I saw for some years now. It teaches us to persevere, even when everything goes wrong or we don't know what to do any more. The motto is: keep doing and keep failing until you make it.
I've made a clip with all the tests Tadashi ran, in order to Baymax to work (84!). Subtitles are in Portuguese, because it's my mother language. After the clip, I'll transcribe the whole dialogue, in English.

Baymax - Tadashi is here.

Tadashi - Here is Tadashi Hamada. And this is the first test of my robotics project.

Baymax - Hello. I am Baymax.

Tadashi - Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop.
Tadashi - The seventh's test of my robotics project.

Baymax - Hello. I...

Tadashi - Ugh! Wait. W-wait. Stop there. Stop.

Tadashi - Tadashi Hamada again. And this is the thirty third test of my robotics project.
Tadashi - *sights* I'm not giving up on you. You don't understand this yet but people need you so let's get back to work.
Tadashi - This is... uh... Tadashi Hamada and this is the eighty fourth... test... *sights* What do you say, big guy?

Baymax - Hello. I am Baymax. Your personal healthcare companion.

Tadashi - It works. It works! Oh, this is amazing! You work! I knew it, I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! You work, I can't believe it! 
Tadashi - Ok, ok. Right, big moment here. Scan me.

Baymax - Your neurotransmitter levels are elevated. This indicates that you are happy.

Tadashi - I am. I really am. Oh man. Wait until my brother sees you... You're gonna help so many people, buddy. So many!... 
Tadashi - That's all for now. I'm satisfied with my care.

This scene was my favourite one, from all the animation. Here you can see a young boy, trying to change the world by helping people. Quoting a wise man, he is mad enough to believe he can change the world, so he changes it. His early efforts are unsuccessful, but he has faith in the project so he keeps going. He wants to help people so much that giving up is not an option. So he tries and tries again: one, seven, thirty, eighty four times. And then he gets it. Can you see the excitement on his face? How much is he happy? He can't contain himself. And then, we wants to share his victory with his brother, Hiro.

Love and confidence can really change the world. So, don't ever give up on your dreams. Don't listen when others say you won't make it. Erase your thoughts when your conscious whispers on your ear that you don't have the skills yet. Those are all lies, obstacles you need to surpass. And those obstacles are the ones that will show how much you want this dream. So, open your wings and fly. Open your heart and be amazed. You can do it!

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Friday, 30 January 2015

[here and there #15] dead-end

Dead end by Alshain4 on DeviantArt

When I think about my grandfather, I think about death. Maybe that's why, on this Era, we treat old people so bad. We don't want to see them, we don't want to hear them, we don't want to be them. Because we know, sooner or later, we'll be dead as well.

But death has no age. She's the perfect human being, actually. She doesn't distinguish between babies and grown-ups, boys or girls, Catholics or Muslims, the black from the white. The only certainty we have make us tremble, and yet we fear the uncertainty. As we never know when our time is to come.

Death always made me shiver. And I never believe when someone says to me they aren't afraid of it. Of her. They're just hiding in a time capsule, telling themselves they have still much time to think about it. To deal with it. We haven't.

Death is all around us. We hear it on the news every day, every second. But the death of those others are meaningless to us. We don't feel their pain. We feel compassion only for a few seconds, and then forget. When someone close to us die, we suffer for days, months and years. But once we get used to it, we forget it too. Our escape is our daily routine.

I'm not really afraid of dying. I'm afraid of remaining dead for eternity. Eternity is a long time, too much time. Eternity scares me no matter the shape it takes.

I wonder if there really is a time, or just an illusion we made for ourselves. The "now" is the only thing that seems real. My past, my memories are only on my brain, how can I be sure I captured it fully? (That's impossible...) They are just images mixed with emotions, too much similar with the ones I get from films and books and dreams. So alike that sometimes I get confused: I forget which ones were real and which were fiction. Well, they're all fiction now, anyway. And future... who knows there is one? I might not be here on the next very second. Eventually, the next second won't exist. The next second always makes me crumble. Nice play of words, isn't it? The next second is an empty void. My black-hole.

When I'm with my grandfather, I want to collect all his stories. They're a precious treasure for me. I don't know how much time he has for me, to share his world with me.

I never got to know him, I'm afraid I never will. My only grandfather. My family doesn't talk much about themselves, only a few happenings here and there. However, they're never enough to grasp their identity, their unique personality. I don't know who my grandfather is. And when I say my grandfather, I'm saying my mother and my father. My sisters and my cousins. My uncles or other relatives. When I say I don't know my own family, I'm saying I don't know a big part of myself: my history.

Maybe that's why we invented time. To know our history or inventing it as we please. Maybe we invented time in a strike of being immortals. Maybe that's why we do anything: to be what we never can - alive for eternity. That also scares me - to be alive eternally.

It will be perfect to switch between life and death. (But nothing is perfect, is it?) To have the chance to be another person and another being.

I'm wondering if there's a limit one can explore themselves: if we can reach our full potential at all sides, if we can know ourselves in all dimensions and situations. But, on the other hand, will that make sense? Is that a valid purpose for one's life? Will that mean live in eternity in a single body and soul? And do we have just one soul?

Life goes by really fast, terribly fast (and yet we get bored!). I'm almost 31 one years old and I didn't do half the things I want yet. I know many of my dreams won't see the light of day (or night) and I'm OK with that. Sort of. But it also feels I could have done more. I still have time (or have I?), let's start doing them!

At my teen years, I was very angry at death. I wanted to kill her. I lived in constant fear, insomniac. All my writing was about her. She was my muse. Ironic. She lived inside me when I didn't want her to meet me at all. Oh, but she knows me very well.

And I do want to meet her, I just don't want to be her. (Now I have this image on my head, of death as millions of people running after you.) Yes, I'd like to know how it feels to die. I want to know what being dead means, not what I suppose it is. Something like that episode of Dr. House. If death was another form of consciousness, I would have no problem at all to embrace it.

Although being a spooky subject, I have the necessity of talking about this happening that makes part of life, without making part of it. That destroys it while making space to create it. It's my way of understanding it, of taking away the fear. Even if I won't sleep at night after doing it. Or fill my mind with questions and fall asleep by exhaustion.

There are only two poetics sides of death, as I see it. The fact that everything comes from and goes to the same place (We Are All Made of Stars). And that we're sacrificing ourselves in order to others can experience this amazing gift. Right now, I'm thinking that my death will give room for my son to grow.

Even death has its good side, it appears. And eternity is a long time. They also say hope is the last thing to die. As long there's hope, anything can be possible. Maybe we will find a way of being dead, and yet to be alive (and not in a metaphorical way).

We live by choices. The only thing we can't choose is to stay alive. We can't choose to not die. However, we can decide how we want to live, we can decide how much we enjoy life. No matter for how much time we live, we can always take the most out of it. If it weren't death, will we experience life the best we could? Would it be such a precious gift? Would it be as wonderful to our eyes as it is now? Remember, the only thing worst than dying is to be already dead, while still alive.

The absolution of death creates the magic of life. Full stop.

(And while you're thinking about this, listen to my playlist having death as the main character. She's always here, no matter how you try to scare her away.)

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