“Knowledge, integrity and love are so much more powerful,
so much more hip than wealth, power and fame.”
– Gary Mitchell Weinstein
A native of Brooklyn, New York, I spent my entire professional career working in the field of civil engineering in both the US public and private engineering sectors, in the construction industry as well as in the halls of academia, nationally as well as abroad.
Upon turning 40 and at the peak of my career as an internationally recognized expert in my field, I experienced a radical “awakening.” This awakening was so profound that in the summer of 2008 I walked away from my job, a lucrative income and my well-established career to follow my intuitive inner guidance.
The first part of this profound awakening was coming to the incredible realization that after almost 25 years of education and employment in my field of expertise, my “chosen” career no longer resonated with me. Upon return from a remarkably challenging research program conducted overseas at one of the most prestigious and oldest engineering schools in the world, École des Ponts ParisTech (the culmination of a 7-year long doctorate program undertaken at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, New York), I came back to New York a changed man in ways I could not quite understand at the time. I had returned and gone on to successfully defend my thesis and the ground-breaking research I had developed. I graduated with full honors, ranked number one at the top of my class. I then reentered the working world with a fantastic job, working for a terrific company, alongside outstanding people. After 7 years of incredible sacrifice, I had achieved everything I had so arduously worked for. It was all so perfect. But then I realized that something was very wrong – I was miserable.
Then came the real dramatic wake up call for me – I realized that, outside of my doctoral studies, the career and the work never did resonate with me. I was left wondering, “How could this be”? How could I have spent my entire career, my entire adult life in a truly outstanding profession like this, but one which I did not at all enjoy? It was as though I had been on auto-pilot during this entire 25-year period in my life, never following my intuition, my inner guidance which in retrospect had always been strongly telling me that this was not what I was meant to do with my life.
The next three years were spent in an often painful and deeply personal introspection, a sort of spiritual journey. Wary of seeking employment in what appeared to be just a myriad of “random careers” that did not resonate with me, and frankly afraid to again make the same life-altering “mistake” in career choice, I remained unemployed. All the while, however, I knew intuitively that there had to be something I was meant to do, and I was unwilling to compromise on it – the pursuit of my purpose in life, my dream. Most remarkable of all, I had not yet even understood what the dream itself was nor what I was meant to do. But at the same time there was something extremely powerful that was pulling me into it.
Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives
At the same time as I was beginning to come to terms with this profound realization regarding my career, something else was happening “behind the scenes”. Following my 7 years of intensive studies, it was as though all of a sudden as I entered back into the “real world” I was becoming immediately and keenly aware of and extraordinarily sensitive to what was going on in our world – one which had changed significantly from even the time when I had first begun my academic program in 2000.
One thing for sure was that I observed an absence of something very tangible in today’s modern world – simply put an ever decreasing emphasis on personal connections – seemingly between anyone and everyone – family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, you name it. With the increase in turn-of-the-century “techno-gology” (defined by yours truly as the ceaseless development of technology which serves no inherent purpose relating to the improvement of one’s quality of life), life as we once knew it began to accelerate at increasingly blazing speeds, and with apparently no end in sight. Although people throughout the world were now able to connect in ways once thought impossible in the past, these connections were for the most part becoming less and less personal.
Concurrently, across the globe it appeared the pendulum of people’s desires was swinging more and more out of balance, morphing into a ridiculously insatiable appetite for ever increasing amounts of individual wealth, power and fame. If you didn’t have it, and someone else did, you wanted it. If you had it, you wanted more of it – much more of it. I was left wondering, “What happened to the fantastically simple life and times of yesteryear?” People would often say, “That’s just the way things are today, there’s nothing you can do about it”. I couldn’t disagree more.
My “awakening” only intensified a longing for the strong and deeply fundamental, intimate connections between family, friends and community that I remembered from my childhood, one in which I was surrounded by ordinary people living extraordinary lives. A generation of remarkable individuals whose dreams were not self-centered on the accumulation of vast amounts of wealth, power and fame, but rather lives selflessly focused on the continual pursuit of knowledge, lives defined by unshakeable integrity and immersed in abundant love.
So what happened to the ordinary people? The extraordinary lives? The impossible dreams? Do you believe they still exist?
One might argue that deep down inside we each carry an extraordinary dream – an impossible dream. We may be afraid to admit it because in life, we believe that we ‘should’ do this or we ‘should’ do that … or we ‘shouldn’t’ or ‘can’t’ live that impossible dream. Do not doubt – you can do anything you put your mind to.
I know because just like you I’m an ordinary person, and following my departure from my career, I began to dream powerfully again. But then doubt crept in, and for the next three years I put my own impossible dream on hold – a new and powerful dream I had manifested. Three years of doubting myself, three years of avoiding any risk, while contemplating endless “what-if” scenarios that existed only in my mind, until one day I finally summoned the courage to step into a new extraordinary life and live my impossible dream . . .
Stemming from a series of life-altering experiences, and a realization that the world could indeed be truly changed for the betterment of all humanity, an idea – an impossible dream – was born. It begins with a simple question: Why can’t every human being on the planet live in absolute equality with one another? And if this is indeed possible, what is preventing it from being so, and how then can we make it become a reality?
So, I decided to begin to seek the answers to these questions, and in the process, strive to collectively awaken the consciousness of others all across the globe to this dream, as I continued to awaken mine. How? By authentically, personally and intimately connecting with ordinary people throughout the world, sharing their extraordinary lives and impossible dreams and stories, weaving a human quilt of spirit, imagination and possibility for the entire world.
And in doing so . . . supporting these same people in any way I can, while abandoning the seemingly eternally unquestioned and widely accepted, yet false premise that the illusion we call money is necessary to accomplish one’s dreams, and to live one’s life. After all, I know deep in my heart that indeed all that is truly needed is love.
So what impact could these stories and dreams have on others and their own untold stories, undreamt dreams, and awakening consciousness? What about our collective dreams? What about your own impossible dream?