Here we are; the night after daylight savings time begins. Many of us are bracing ourselves for the morning alarm that will come an hour too early, followed by the school bus on a similarly early arrival. Some of our kids will miss the bus, and they will ask us to drive them into school. I got to wondering just how much our carbon footprint would widen from the daylight savings transition alone. How many gallons of gas will be spent carting our children to schools after missing the bus by mere seconds as the yellow glow disappears over the next hill? Then, I began to wonder what would the conversations be like on the way to school. Would the kids be glowing with excitement about the day ahead? Would we be glowing with excitement about the day ahead of us? Are we modeling the behavior and the life we wish for our kids? What could I share with them on the way to school that could leave a mark? What, if anything has left a mark on my life?
Admittedly these thoughts were generated by the fact that I just attended a fundraiser for Ithaca Biodiesel. I was inspired to imagine a world where we were able to create our own fuel from local resources and relationships. As the conversations progressed at dinner, I found the conversations to be most energizing, and I experienced a rise in my body temperature. The intensity in the room was electrifying and I began to witness and take part in many passionate conversations. When this sort of thing happens in science, we call events that create their own heat; exothermic. It was clear that heat was being generated by the passion in the room. I shared with people that I believed in the cultivation and proliferation of what I am calling Exothermic Relationships. Amazingly, people understand my thinking and agreed that there were times that they got so passionate about their mission that they literally started shaking. I believe this phenomenon could be the result of passion being converted directly into electricity.
For a while, I have been asking myself the question: “What would the world look like if we all went for our dreams?” Would there be conditions like obesity or depression or other anxiety disorders? What would people look like? Would we all be vegans? We would honor our health with the utmost respect, for our bodies are the machines we use to make our dreams come true? Would global warming be an issue? Could we truly appreciate and live in the abundance that was meant for all of us? Would we worry about the thought that someone had more abundance than we did?
I once attended a conference where I witnessed two community leaders embroiled in a heated debate that began to get somewhat ugly. These leaders represented different organizations who both had missions to bring about the end to homelessness. I got close enough to overhear the conversation, and it appeared that they had just learned that they had applied for the same grant. This created a tremendous amount of tension that, to me was wasted energy. I actually went up to the combatants and asked them, “So, I am curious….Are you afraid that his group will find a way to end homelessness before you do?” They paused, and for some reason, the charge of their argument seemed to diminish. I left that confrontation feeling cold and separated from other organizations with such similar missions. I consider this to be a good example of an Endothermic Relationship. I define endothermic relationships as those that take energy instead of make energy. We were on the same team at that conference, yet we acted like competitors. Theodore Roosevelt once said that “Comparison is the Theif of Joy!” I believe this to be true. I have run two full marathons and it took me longer to run the second than the first. If I took the time to compare the two times and that was the only metric for determining success, by comparison I could devalue my experience and diminish my joy. On the other hand; when I ask businesses to sponsor me for my next race and put their business name on my running gear, I actually tell them how slow I am. I tell them that they get more value in sponsoring me because their business name gets much more exposure during the run since it takes a while for me to finish!
At the Ithaca Biodiesel Fundraiser we knew that we were on the same team and our conversations generated energy instead of expending it. So, what does this all mean? What does this have to do with Dream Catalyst and the end of the experience of homelessness? Everything! I believe that collaboration generates energy, and competition depletes energy. I believe that people who believe in their own dreams, also create space and energy to believe in the dreams of others. If we believe that we are all collaborators instead of competitors, I am really optimistic that we will create the solutions to many, if not all the challenges that face our global community; including homelessness!
Another great outcome from the heat energy that is created from an increase in Exothermic Relationships, is that perhaps we won’t have to rely on turning up the thermostat to warm our environment. Perhaps we will consume fewer fossil fuels, because we will become self-sufficient power generators with internal combustion engines designed to make all of our dreams come true and sufficient heat along the journey. As we live into our dreams, we will not have time to worry about someone else’s dream being bigger than ours, or coming true faster than ours. Imagine a world that could look like that! Why not? I am getting warmer just thinking about it….How about you?