Listening to My Mentors
And Dreaming Impossible Dreams

For those that read my essays even occasionally, they know that I am driven. For those that this is the first time on Wolverton Mountain, go to my article index page.  Then look to the right side of the page. The vast majority of what are called Critical Issues links to their index pages are due to my dancing with death and my trip to Myanmar (Burma).

Doing the dance twice taught me to live. Anyone who is old enough to be able to read this essay knows full-well that people don't live forever. I knew that. However, until you do the dance, that reality is two dimensional. Dance with death and then you KNOW that you aren't immortal. There is a vast difference in truly comprehending that truism.

I have written dozens of essays about how that realization transformed me. If you think that I am tooting my own horn, this is a list of other dancers with death: Randy Pausch, Steve Jobs, Miguel Cervantes, Kurt Vonnegut, Oliver Sachs, John Donne, Alan Seeger, John Kennedy, Steve Biko, Carl Sagan, Abraham Lincoln, David Hume, Saul Alinsky, Henry David Thoreau, and Alexander the Great. Now that I have gotten your attention, believe me. Doing the dance will positively impact your life. Hopefully, you will have that opportunity.

That is the backstory. In the past couple of years, having realized that I have limited time remaining, I acted. I want to return to Myanmar for several, for me, critical reasons. I still want to interview Aung San Suu Kyi, the Lady, and help some people that I met while traveling in that country.

However, I am not in the financial position to spend a lot of money to return with merely the hope of getting an interview with the Lady and helping some people. I am 73-years old and am semi-retired. I still teach online, but I need to watch my cash flow issue. Therefore, I have spent several years attempting to do some additional work following Randy Pausch's insight, "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."

Those people, who know that I attempted to get an additional job also know how driven I on steroids.  Well, I may have been on steroids, but the group, which was the most logical group for whom to work, after interviewing me said that they would get back to me. Well, that was nearly two years ago. In that timespan, I haven't been called or emailed at all.

I was frustrated. I had done the dance and understood about living and wasn't able to convince the group that I had something to offer them. They were on life-support themselves. Beyond that reality, I felt like Lazarus in the New Testament.


We both have done the dance.

I had done the dance and wanted to help others, which included those within the group that interviewed me. It was like Lazarus saying to that group, "Yo, I've been there, but I'm not there anymore. Let me help this organization to come alive again."

Wouldn't you think, if an organization is on a corporate type of ICU, that they would listen to someone who had a 50/50 chance of making it through surgery and spent a month in ICU had something to offer them? I wasn't asking for big bucks. All that I wanted to do was to help that organization and use that money to return to Myanmar. To be honest, irate was the feeling that I had for several months. They were holding up what I wanted and needed to do.  However, even though that organization was on life-support, and it wasn't going to act.

When I was in ICU and was on life-support: a breathing device, a drainage tub to remove the blood from my brain, and a dozen IVs, I acted. I didn't want to vegetate in ICU.  So, I took control. I pulled all the tubes and IVs out of me and tried to get out of the hospital. I had fallen off a ladder resulting in a subdural hematoma or traumatic brain injury. The surgeon cut my head open, removed about 25% of my skull so my brain was able to expand as it adjusted to the swelling, and I spent a month in ICU recovering from the surgery and brain damage.

Granted, having a traumatic brain injury isn't a great basis upon which to act. However, my point is that even with an extremely limited use of my brain, I acted. The organization isn't in the same critical situation that I was...and they can't function.  At least, I could. Because I acted, I wanted to help them. I have a good friend who said not to give up trying to get through to the group even though they hadn't done anything yet. However, I will not waste the time that I have messing around with that group slowly dying on the vine of the gift of life.

Therefore, I want back to reading Randy Pausch who said, "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." I was wasting time messing with a group that wasn't going to act. I realized that, and I acted. While I need the extra money, I wasn't going to get that job. Therefore, I gave up my desire to interview the Lady, which frees me to address helping others. I can help them without having to fly to Myanmar.

Talk about a change in me.  I was free. Hey, I gave up on attempting to contact the most important world leader in human rights about interviewing her, but I am dealing with the other issue of helping some people in Myanmar. I kid you not; I was up. I acted. I was happy. Trust me.

And then it started, my hauntings. Again, I was reading something else that Pausch said, "It's important to have specific dreams. Dream Big. Dream without fear."  Pausch, who resolved my irritation regarding the organization's indifference to addressing their being in ICU, wants me to dream big without fear. My fear is based on money. I can live on my pension, savings, and teaching salary, but the fear of expanding my expenses without additional income stopped me from attempting again to try to contact Aung San Suu Kyi.

Having said that, Pausch has changed my life and merely wants me to trust him once again, which I do.  Interestingly, that dissolves my fear regarding money a great deal. I can now live with some financial abandon. The reason for this is that I know that I will die someday. I don't want to be on my deathbed and think that I should have tried again to contact the Lady. I assure you, when my journey down my yellow brick road is complete, I won't wish that I had tried. Trying and failing is better than failing without trying.

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Finally, Pausch said, "You can always change your plan, but only if you have one." I promise you, my readers, that my plan is already operational. It is merely getting a couple more ducks lined up.

So, like one of my other mentors, Don Quixote, I have picked up my lance and will joist with the windmill of Myanmar. I will attempt again to talk with the Lady. I think that Randy Pausch and Don Quixote would be proud of me about dreaming BIG what seems an impossible dream.

I am on my quest...again, thanks to Randy Pausch and Don Quixote.

Burma flag

Burmese independence flag

Visit the Burma Independence page to read more about this topic.

On Seeing the Light

On Seeing the Light

Visit the On Seeing the Light page to read more about this topic.

Connecting The Dots

Connecting the Dots

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Darkest Before Dawn

Darkest Before Dawn

Visit the Darkest Before Dawn page to read more about this topic.

The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

Visit the The Last Lecture page to read more about this topic.

My Hauntings

My Hauntings

Visit the My Hauntings page to read more about this topic.

Dancing with Death

Dancing with Death

Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.

Don Quixote

"Don Quixote"

Visit the "Don Quixote" page to read more about this topic.

An old man and his grandson

An Old Man and His Grandson

Visit The Mentors and Me page to read more about this topic.

Best of Times

Best and Worst of Times

Visit the Best and Worst of Times page to read more about this topic.