Michael Franti: To Live Your Greatest Dreams You Must Say Yes To Life

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Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. Her dream is to publish this first book and teach the world how to discover their hidden joy. Her post day is Tuesday.
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Michael Franti: To Live Your Greatest Dreams You Must Say Yes To Life - Michael Franti of Michael Franti and Spearhead

“Hey, smiley,” Michael Franti of Michael Franti and Spearhead said to me, as he leaned down with his lanky 6’6” frame, wrapping his tattooed arms around me in a warm hug.

I’d asked him to autograph the CD cover of his new release, to be officially issued on September 21st, called, The Sound of Sunshine, and to autograph my T-shirt.

He signed the left sleeve of my yellow shirt, the lyrics of his song “Hey I Love You” printed down the left side, with a sharpie.

A peace sign and an “MF.” The CD cover was signed for “Lisa.”

Dinner With The Rock Star

“I won the cook-out with you,” I told him.

I’d submitted a bid in a silent auction to raise money for Michael’s two current favorite charities, CARE and The Hunter’s Point Family. The winning bidder would win a private cook-out for two with Michael Franti, who would do the cooking.

Shockingly, miraculously, much to my amazed surprise, I won!

A private dinner cooked by one of my favorite rock stars of all time, just for me. Really?!?!

I’ll take it!

Following Your Intuition Towards Your Dreams

This all came about because I’d happened to fly into San Francisco on the weekend that Michael Franti’s 12th annual Power to the Peaceful concert was taking place in Golden Gate Park.

As the Website states,

“Power to the Peaceful is an international destination located in the heart of Golden Gate Park – One of the largest free annual music, art and action events bringing together over 50,000 attendees, 200 exhibitors, social, environmental and humanitarian orgs, vendors, DJs, athletes, artists and speakers.”


Michael Franti: To Live Your Greatest Dreams You Must Say Yes To Life - Michael Franti and Spearhead Peaceful Power Concert

I had flown into town for my last “official” meeting of my Memoir in a Year class with best-selling author Ellen Sussman.

It was a bittersweet meeting.

Twelve of us had been gathering for a year at Ellen’s palatial Tuscan-inspired estate to write, dream, and talk about how exactly one goes about writing a book in a year.

How To Write A Book In A Year… (Write! Write! and Write Some More!)

I had learned so much in that year, including the fact that writing a book is a big investment that takes a tremendous amount of commitment and work; that in order to write 300 pages in a year you may have to loosen up your anal every-word-must-be-perfect-and-inspired tendencies that writers-trained-as-poets-first like me often have.

And, that living any big dream really does require a team.

My “dream team” includes (of course!) the amazing ladies here at 8WD, who have helped me dream bigger, keep the faith, keep my focus, and live my dreams out loud with them (and all my awesome readers like you!) to cheer me on; my supportive family and friends; my writing group in Ellen’s class; Ellen herself; and countless other friends, writers, artists and teachers along the way who have inspired me and believed in me.

A Sweet and Savory Ending

For our last class together, Ellen had arranged to serve a lovely lunch for us, featuring mushroom and ham and cheese quiches, salad greens with a homemade champagne and mustard vinaigrette, a few bottles of red and white wine, and a plate of cookies.

Sitting in Ellen’s lovely back yard by the pool and gardens, the lattice overhead dripping with vines, we toasted each other and our accomplishments, proud of ourselves and sad for this chapter in our lives to end.

It really is amazing to realize that you have made a lifelong dream come true. Now, I still have about 30 pages to go to hit page 300 in my book, and then need to edit, edit, edit.

It is still very much a first-draft manuscript.

But, my God! I have written a book!

I always knew since I was a very little girl that this was something I wanted to do, planned to do, would inevitably do. I just didn’t know when.

So a year ago, I finally took my own dreams and destiny into my own hands, and made it happen, the only way we ever can – by taking ACTION.

Taking Inspired Action – Saying YES Again and Again…

A year ago, I made the commitment to myself to write this book. A week or two later, I stumbled onto an email from Ellen, who I’d met at literary readings in the Bay Area, saying she had a few spaces still left in her “Memoir in a Year” class.

I was feeling overwhelmed about diving in to write a book – a whole long actual book! – and this felt like fate.

So, I wrote out the check and signed up. Just weeks later, I was perusing ads on Craigslist when I spotted an ad seeking a “fun, fearless female writer” who was living the dream of writing her first book to blog on a Website called “8 Women Dream.”

Think Big Dream Big

They are looking for ME! I thought.

I wrote an email right away telling them so, and submitting writing samples.

A few weeks later, I was on a plane to San Francisco to meet with my writing coach and interview live with the women of 8 Women Dream in person.

The rest, as they say, is history . . .

Yes I said Yes I said Yes I said YES…

The process of living this dream, like the process of winning a private cook-out with a favorite rock star last weekend, was all about following my inspired impulses, taking inspired action, and just saying YES and again YES and again YES and again YES when door after door after door opened for me.

It might seem like I’m simply “lucky” or have “fate” on my side, and yet I would say that my “luck” also has to do with the fact that I am 1000% committed to living this dream fully, am willing to do what it takes, am in action seeking ways to make it happen, and did not hesitate when the universe presented ways to help me fulfill my dream.

After all, any big dream takes a dream team to fulfill it. None of us really lives our dreams alone.

And the bigger we dream, the more we need a “dream team” to make it happen.

Dream Big and Big and Bigger Yet…

The wild thing, I find, is that the more I dream big, and the more I am in action on my dreams, the bigger my dreams get, and the more “real” those big dreams are.

They are coming to life! They are happening!

It makes me wonder why I was so fearful about pursuing my heart’s desires for so many years, including writing this book, because the rewards of living the dream, and just enjoying the journey along the way, are greater than I ever could have imagined.

I am SO proud of myself for doing it. I am SO grateful to my 8WD team and everyone who is standing up to offer their support to me now, as I round the bend into the home stretch of finishing draft one of my manuscript.

The final draft manuscript must be postmarked by 10/11/10 in order for Ellen to edit it. My amazing friends on Facebook, from around the world, have pledged to spend 30 seconds a day saying prayers and wishes for me to write an amazing draft effortlessly, and to finish on time or early.

What a gift that is!

Are You Saying YES to Life?

If you truly are committed to living your dreams, it requires saying YES sometimes to opportunities that arise on the dream path, even if they feel challenging, daunting, scary or inconvenient  . . .  in fact especially if they seem to be all of these things!

Our dreams do not just “come true” magically without putting some effort into it. The universe, I have found, supports those who take inspired action in favor of their dreams, who say YES to opportunities as they arise.


What inspired actions can you take this week to move forward with your biggest dreams? Is there somewhere you can say YES to life, even if it feels scary? Will you ask the universe to bring you opportunities to live your dreams, and when they come, will you LEAP?

  • awwww Cath I LOVE YOU <3 and am SO honored to be on this journey with you… THX for making our dreams COME TRUE! <3

    At Remy girlfriend you KNOW if I can have extra guests I will NEED a photographer… will keep you posted!!! :) Seriously!!! :)

    @Kristi BLISS ON lovely one… Sooo delighted to be connected with you angel! <3

    @Archana – love you beautiful butterfly <3

    @Laurie – WOOHOO!! <3

    @Kel let's talk this week re: catching up and coaching and EVERYTHING…. Miss you, love and you can't wait to see the new home! BIG HUGs! XOXO

  • KELLEY! :)

    Lisa Red!

    Sooooooooo excited and proud of u my dear… u have made amazing steps towards your dream and found so many opportunities and open doors along the way. With fun travels and dining with rockstars- what a bonus!

    This week I will continue talking with the May I Be Frank producers and Lululemon to continue creating my dreams… I am also following up with you on our Facebook conversation (soooo 2010- LOL) about coaching- this seems like the perfect time.

    You are inspiring me to write more too- time to start up my journaling again and start a blog.

    Keep doin’ what ur doin’ cuz it’s contagious. Come stay with us at our new home next time you are in the San Fran/ Marin area.

    Hugs and Much Love, Kelley! :O)

  • Laurie

    Book signings and road trips and good food and girlfriends!
    Woo Hoo
    Big Love, Laurie

  • Archana

    Hey shining light,
    This is sooo inspiring….we are all with you….

  • Love You!
    Yes Yes Yes Yes :)
    It is a fun journey to be beside you, to have our lives being entwined together to some degree :)

    “It makes me wonder why I was so fearful about pursuing my heart’s desires for so many years, including writing this book, because the rewards of living the dream, and just enjoying the journey along the way, are greater than I ever could have imagined.”

    Just listened to a call with Guy Finley, made some notes ;) So now I can share: There is a homeostasis inside us – trying to keep us at one place. In some cases (perhaps many even) it may be the homeostasis of imbalance, meaning that something inside us is trying to keep us from balance no matter how bad off we are.

    Funny, huh?

    Anyhow – I’m glad we’re away from there :D

    Love Love Love, Yes Yes Yes… Someday I’ll come and get my signed copy of your book… You can give it to me when I come over for breakfast ;)

  • Remy G

    This past year has been full of such growth and wonder for the group – with changes, additions, alignments, focus – and you’ve managed to ride it out with a smile. You have accomplished an incredible dream, there are always first steps…now the dreams of editing and completing lie ahead. Cant wait to hear all about your dinner with Michael – and of course, bring your camera (or invite someone who has a camera!) lol xox Rem

  • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

    Yes, we were looking for you. When you came aboard, everything changed for the better :-). Going after your dreams does take stepping outside your comfort zone, facing your fears and doing it anyway.

    I like the Sound of Sunshine – it sounds like sunshine!

    Hugs, Cath