every once in a while I am overtaken by the urge to help the real me feel loved and nurtured.  sometimes I just take her outside, alone, and let her smell and feel the air and look up at the mountains.  sometimes I light candles and spend time with oracle or tarot cards, sometimes I ask her to journal, sometimes I feed her donuts.  sometimes I buy her clothes that make her heart sing, or yummy smelling candles or lotion, and sometimes I try to buy her books.  books about creativity, books about living differently, books about being true to one’s soul, one’s inner artist, the deeper self that needs very very little to be satisfied.

the other day I bought her a book called the art of non-conformity.  written by chris guillebeau and published in september of 2010, the book emphasizes being true to yourself and refusing to accept pressures to be what society seems to want you to be.  it’s about charting your own course, designing your own life.  choosing to play by different rules than those established by “the powers that be.”

reading it was like taking in great big gulps of fresh air:  refreshing, clarifying, and reminding you to focus on the things that truly matter.

the book doesn’t tell me that I can become wealthy writing books, but it reinforces my belief that I will be happiest and most content when I am writing books, and that somehow, someway, I can find a way to make a living doing that which is most important to me.  it reminds me that just because Others operate in certain ways, I am not obligated to operate in those same ways.  the book encourages commitment to self, which is a beautiful way to let your unique light shine in this little world of ours.

one aspect of chris’s vision I find especially powerful is his suggestion that the things we do to create legacy are those things most important to our lives.  he quotes stephen covey, “the need to leave a legacy is our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning, purpose, personal congruence, and contribution.”  what this concept means to me is leaving a footprint behind when I go . . . hopefully a “footprint” that lives on through other people’s thoughts, lives, beliefs, and actions.  part of this happens through our children–hopefully–but also through the other people we touch during our time here on earth.  this isn’t about statues and wikipedia pages, but about heartfelt interactions with other humans, programs, writings, artwork, traditions, inspiration.

I hope to leave behind a number of books and essays and beliefs that people have considered, contemplated, and grown from spending time with.  I also hope to be a positive part of some programs or organizations that work toward social parity.  As for the rest of my legacy, I’m still working on that, and I expect new things to draw me in as I keep moving forward in life.

chris’s art relies heavily on listening to your inner self and finding ways to unleash your magical power, regardless of the situation you now find yourself in.  he challenges us to reject the status quo at times, and to have the courage to say no to what is expected of us. anarchy, no, individualism, absolutely.

I like keeping the thought of legacy in mind, and I offer that you might plant that in the back (or front) of your mind as well, and let it help guide us to always becoming the next best version of ourselves.