There are a few things I remember always knowing about myself, ever since I was three years old. I remember being in the back seat of the car, when I was three, hearing my parents and brother talking about someone getting into "Harvard". Something about that word rang in my ears. I asked what "Harvard" was. I don't remember what they answered, but I do remember thinking, "Someday I'm going to go there."
I let it go for the next fourteen or so years. And then I ended up going there for college.
At some other point in time, I remember falling in love with the sound of the French language. I loved learning a foreign language which enabled me to speak elegantly, fluidly, gracefully. It contrasted so much with the angular lines and frantic tempo of the Chinese dialects I heard in my family. And, like music, it was a doorway to a secret world that expanded my ability to understand others and express myself in a different way. I remember thinking, "Someday I'll study at the Sorbonne." It seemed like a throwaway thought at the time, but I remembered it. And I ended up doing just that, as a scholarship winner for six weeks during the summer between high school and college.
Six years ago I defrosted another set of childhood dreams. For as long as I can remember I have pictured myself living in California. I was fascinated with what it symbolized, and with the images of it in my mind. The sunshine, the ocean, and the ideas of freedom and innovation appealed to me inexplicably.
I also wanted to "be like my violin teacher" since the first moment I saw her when I was three years old. At the time, the image of a solitary woman walking into a room, commanding the respect of hundreds without raising her voice or raising a hand, was something that captivated me. To boot, she wore three-inch stiletto heels every day and a perfectly coordinated suit ensemble, with pantyhose, makeup, and perfect hair. Seeing her at least twice a week and sometimes every day of the week for fourteen years, I can count on one hand the number of times I saw her wear pants instead of a skirt or dress. Somehow she represented an exciting set of possibilities, so different from the other women in my life.
These were the images I carried with me to California to start my own violin school in 2004.
My dreams came true.
I became that image of "perfection" that I held in my mind as a necessary part of the package. Even though in my heart I intended for my school not to have the political in-fighting, favoritism, and vicious competitiveness among parents that was a constant undercurrent in my teacher's school, knowing what I didn't want was only a first step. I was swept away by the strong tide of other people's definitions of what success should look like. I knew this, and I observed with frustration all the things that were missing from my school despite its outward appearance of success, but I didn't quite have the awareness to envision and declare what I *did* want.
When I finally began to wake up to what I did want to bring into my life, there was a growing clarity that I needed to walk away and create something new.
The gift of walking away was creating the space for me to recognize that my dreams are always coming true.
What you are believing in each moment - with or without knowing you believe it - becomes the reality you create, moment by moment.
I've begun to get a lot more conscious and aware and specific about what I'm believing. I recognize that once I am able to see and clearly state a belief, and then truly let go of it (as my life has shown me time and time again), I can rest in the peace of knowing that all of my dreams are already coming true.
My life has shown me that I am truly blessed in every moment, and no experience is ever wasted.
On my "bucket list" of dreams are the following items, mundane and otherwise:
work as a barista in a coffee shop (a dream since high school)
teach yoga or do yoga outdoors every day
live in a tropical place
work on a farm
produce a Broadway-style musical, write a movie screenplay, or write for a character-driven television drama
write books (yes, plural, and not the kind that are glorified pamphlets...at least one of them will be a memoir, and another will be a tell-all fictionalized account of my adventures teaching violin to kids of Silicon Valley elite, a la "Nanny Diaries")
be a spiritual teacher
be a healing artist
be an inspirational speaker
dance and sing and be free
I smile, knowing that all of these dreams are already coming true right now. There is such peace in knowing that the only thing I need to do is allow.