I was poking around on here a few days ago, for the first time in months. I’ll tell you–there might not even be one of “you” anymore–what brings me back in a moment, but anyway, I found the post below, something I had written almost a year ago and the timing could not have been more perfect.
What brings me back is a lot of… well, I don’t know if I want to call it soul-searching, but a lot of trying to figure out what my “ant thing” is, or at least something along those lines. (Read the post below if you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say “ant thing.”) So often when I end up in career conversations with people whom I love, I ask them, “What makes you feel alive?” or “What do you feel like you’ve been built to do?” And if they tell me, I respond by advising them to do just that. The advice is not so easy, however, when turned inwards. Are you kidding? That’s scary? What if people judge me? Reject me? Or [gasp] don’t LIKE me???????
Paulo Coelho, whom I affectionately (and jokingly) refer to as my distinguished Brazilian boyfriend*, talks a lot about the notion of the Personal Legend. He writes, “When you desire your Personal Legend, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it.” There’s a lot out there these days about manifesting your own destiny; i.e., if you truly believe it will happen, it WILL happen. I think people tend to read Coelho–er, my boyfriend–‘s words and think them to mean that if we can only set our minds to it, we can make it happen. But, I don’t think this is what he’s talking about at all.
I believe the Personal Legend is that thing or set of things that is so intrinsically part of who each of us is. It’s what we are here to do, to learn, to achieve, it’s the journey we are to take, all that stuff. And while I certainly believe in free choice, I also believe that we have certain skills, personalities, strengths and limitations, and those largely dictate what we are built to do. Not what we necessarily choose to do, mind you (see “choice, free”) but nonetheless what we’ve been designed to do. And I don’t think that means we can’t be good at things that we haven’t been “built” to do. What I DO think it means, though, is that it will never feel quite the same as how it feels when you experience the peace, joy, fear, thrill, exhilaration, and expectancy of your Personal Legend.
Makes me wonder if those people who are absolutely miserable while chasing their dreams are chasing the wrong dreams altogether, if the universe is conspiring to not help them achieve those dreams because it knows (God knows) that it would lead to disaster.
It makes perfect sense to me that desiring my Personal Legend–that is, aligning ourselves with God’s beautiful and unique plan for me–would feel as though the whole universe has got my back (yo). I don’t for one second think that a life spent pursuing the Personal Legend is a life free of strife or struggle, but in the midst of all the crap, there is still something that feels so right about it, that you know you’re at least heading in the right direction. Something in your soul cries “YES” even though you are wondering what the heck you’re doing on this road, or desperate to exit stage left.
For me it’s become a process of elimination. I know what makes me feel alive, and conversely, what makes me feel dead. I think the Spirit of God has a lot of refining to do with me before I even have eyes to see specifically what it is I’m looking at, let alone gather the courage to go after it. But one of the things that keeps coming back to me is this: I love to write. I love everything from telling the story to creating a grammatically beautiful sentence. Heck, I even like the physical act of scraping my pen across a page.
Is it my ant thing? Will I glorify God by doing it? Maybe (I hope so!). I mean, maybe I’m wrong, but there’s always going to be a change that I’m wrong. So while my last few attempts to maintain a blog have been for entertainment purposes (I know, how silly!), this time around, I’m making a commitment to myself, and to what just might be my Personal Legend. I need the practice. I think we generally hold that we need at least 10,000 hours of practice, and I assume our Personal Legends aren’t exempt from this. Sweet. If I’m right, I’ve now only got 9,999.5 hours to go!
*I love him. Love, love, love, love, love. Normal people have the hots for Brad Pitt. I have the hots for old Brazilian men.