Maybe you’ve been there. You go to the grocery store and get a nice, fresh bunch of bananas and proudly set them on your countertop at home. But, you think, “I’ve got time to eat them, they look so good, so fresh, I’ll just admire them for now”. A couple of days pass and a few “banana freckles” appear. You want to eat one, but you’re not in the mood. You know you should eat one, but you don’t. After all, you’ve got time. Another few days go by and the bananas start turning brown. Now you want to throw them away, but they’re not completely rotten – not yet. They just sit there, looking at you. You are now experiencing “fruit guilt”. You start to wonder, why did you ever buy these in the first place? Next, you wait until the bananas turn into little leathery brown tubes full of goo, which you could still make into banana bread, but instead you wait until they’re black, fuzzy and with regret, toss them.
The same idea applies in our lives when it comes to our visions. When we’re young, just starting a new career, job – or a new year or season – we’re full of promise, hope and we’re buzzing with dreams about the road ahead. Time goes on, we encounter some resistance, get busy with the daily grind, family responsibilities or setbacks and our visions start to look a little aged – a little “freckled”. We start to wonder why we ever dreamed such things in the first place. With time and effort, we could still make them happen, but we pause. More time goes by, we become older, are firmly grounded in our new normal and now, with regret, we toss our dreams away. Don’t do it! Eat the bananas – follow your visions!
In our Native cultures, visions weren’t taken lightly or neglected. In fact, they were so respected and honored that we did special ceremonies like Vision Quest to discover what they would be. My profound experiences through four years of Vision Quest is what has put me here. Now. Because once people had their visions, they shifted their lives and made sacrifices to make them reality. They didn’t wait for them to happen – they made them happen!
I’ve heard it said that sight is what you see with your eyes, but vision is what you see with your mind. The Creator gifted us with this amazing ability which makes us so unique in nature. If you are still skeptical about how powerful this concept is, I’ll ask you a simple question. What do you have in your life right now that started as just a thought, just a vision? Is it your career, job, family, kids, your education, a skill set, where you live, how you live? You see, our lives are presently filled with examples of our past visions. To create your future, simply answer this question – “what are your visions right now?’
Perhaps the deepest joy I’ve ever known is the joy of creation. From my earliest childhood, I remember the thrill of drawing pictures, building crafts, sandcastles or writing poems or telling stories. In my adult years, even deeper joy came from creating a business that impacts other peoples’ lives, writing books and articles that uplift people, creating healthy relationships with my wife and daughters. Maybe this is why we feel so good when we create – it is what we were designed to do!
Like in the story above, many people I meet have such wonderful ideas and assume they have time – or worse, assume it’s too late. An elder once told me, “it’s only too late to achieve great things in this life when you draw your last breath – until then, anything is possible”. If you’re reading this, it’s not too late. Recently at a conference I spoke to a woman who was so frustrated at my perspective on this idea. Exasperated, she said, “Well, I’ve been wanting to go back to school, but I have a family, a job and no time. And besides, I’m 42! Do you know how old I’ll be when I finish my degree?” And I said “Yes, I do. You’ll be the same age as if you don’t get your degree.” With that, I got a hug and a smile, and she got a new perspective on her visions.
So remember, eat the bananas and go for the visions while they’re still fresh! I’m sure you’ll find that doing so really makes life taste sweeter.