Another Lesson from the Bears

LESSON # 2: Visualize, Maximize . . . Dare to Dream.

Don Rutledge, the man we had hired to sculpt the 12 foot tall grizzly bear and the 6 foot tall cub out of our massive blue spruce tree, was totally enraptured by his project. 

I came out of the house one morning to find Don just sitting on top of the picnic table staring at the fifteen foot tall stump. He was smiling, but totally ignoring me. I thought to myself, “If I were going to get started on sculpting a giant bear out of a 450 year old tree, I would be there with a measuring tape, a French curve and a can of spray paint to give me some direction. But, not Don, he just sat there on top of the picnic table, smiling, with his eyes glued to the tree. He finally acknowledged me by saying,“I see a bear in there and I have the chance to help him come out of that tree.”He must have heard my old dad saying what he used to say to me, “No one accomplishes a thing in fact that he or she does not first accomplish in the mind.” 

In our home our parents helped us to understand that there were steps to goal setting and achievement. Those steps, they said, were to Fantasize, Crystallize, Visualize, Verbalize, and Materialize. “If you don’t know how to get where you are going, you had better dream a way to get there.” Fantasizing isn’t something weird. We have the freedom to be creative in our imagining, and literally kick the sideboards out of the mental box into which we are sometimes placed by circumstances.Creativity walks through the unlocked door of the dedicated imagination. 

Don inherently knew that before he started his assignment a vivid mental image had to be projected on the screen of his mind. He was seeing the bear clearly enough to be able to say to me that he was going to “help the bear get out of that tree.” Likewise, he had to be able to see himself as having already accomplished what he was setting out to do. Now, he was verbalizing it to me. 

I can recall in the early days of Project C.U.R.E. I could see in my mind’s eye the loading of medical equipment and medical supplies into ocean-going cargo containers and their arrival in ports I had never seen. I knew before it happened that God would enable us to take help and hope to people we had never met. We dared to dream . . . and then we had the thrill of watching the dream come true. 

Don had to live within the limits of the spruce tree stump, but he also recognized that he could push his possibilities to the maximum edge of those limits. It was necessary for Don to Dare to Dream.