the international pursuit of a personal legend

“The International Pursuit of a Personal Legend”

I remember the day, about two years ago, that I bought a plane ticket to Costa Rica.

I sat down with my boss and told him I was taking vacation from work for a month.

“No you’re not.” He said.

“Yes, I am.” I told him.

*very long pause*

“No you’re not. You have two weeks of paid vacation that you’ve already used. This is THE most critical time for this company. It is unfathomable that you take leave right now. Maybe in six months we can consider some extended vacation. But right now? Absolutely impossible.”

“Well, I already bought the ticket. I’m leaving in three weeks. I’ll be putting in serious overtime before I leave to prepare for my absence and I’ve written up a plan on how to distribute the work load while I’m gone. I have no expectations of taking paid leave. I’m a serious employee and I love this job. Don’t make me chose. I’m leaving. And the decision as to if I am — or am not — welcomed back into this company when I return, is up to you.”

When I returned from that life-altering adventure, my boss said, “Well. You were right. Everything worked out smoothly, and looking back now, there was NO better time that you could have taken a month of leave.”

I think it was that confrontational day that my self-erected wall of “life rules” came crashing down, along with the authority in the words “impossible”, “unfathomable”, “absolutely” and “no.” There are so many rules to life that we just never question. We have so many freedoms that we never exercise simply because we’ve never tugged at the phantom-chains that bind them. Of course the first time we challenge those rules, the notion always seems comical….

“Ha! Imagine what my boss would say if I just bought a ticket to Costa Rica and left for a month!”

“How crazy would it be for me to just quit my job and travel for a year! What a dream!”

“What a silly thought…me? A scuba divemaster? I could never be a divemaster….”

OR…Could I?

The first time “I could never” turned into “hell! I just did!” – life irreversibly changed. Why? Because for one, I figured out that this world, this society, this system, doesn’t REALLY care about my individual life. I had broken the rules and the gates of hell did not open and consume me, I wasn’t arrested and sent to jail, my parents didn’t ground me, my friends didn’t disown me, and my boss didn’t fire me.

“Well look at this! Society doesn’t really care about me!” I realized.

I had slipped right through the cracks and landed on two free feet. My “silly notions”, “dreams” if you may, were perfectly real and attainable — and I had every right in this world to move those free feet and take pursuit of them. Now I take my “silly ideas” more seriously than Newton’s laws of physics. They STILL always start off as silly…laughable, but now that the pattern has been recognized, my giggles quickly transition to a grin and a “oh no, here it comes!” nervous anticipation of a oncoming challenge. Now I know, and can recognize my most wild but “serious intentions” masquerading in the sheeps’ wools of “silly notions.”

So what is this “international pursuit of a personal legend” business?

It’s the tag line of the new, that is evolving (as I am) and is currently being conceptualized.

A “personal legend” is a term coined by Paulo Coelho in one of my favorite fables “The Alchemist.”

“…whoever you are, whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth. To realize one’s Personal Legend is a person’s only real obligation.” — “The Alchemist”

Of course, I don’t feel as if I KNOW anything, let alone my “mission” on earth. But what I do FEEL, is that I must move. Pursue. As for WHAT I am pursuing, I haven’t any concrete idea. Nor am I really all that interested in what prize my hunt may capture. It’s that actual pursuit itself that I’m intuitively drawn to — that feels so “right.” And it’s the pursuit that has already filled my photoalbums and mind with memories that will provide for years of silent smiles when I’m old and am confined to my rocking chair with my grandchildren staring up quizzically into my distant eyes and asking, “Mom? Why is grandma always smiling all crazy like that?”

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. The world will not have it. Keep the channel open, follow your heart, and everything else will take care of itself.” — (?)

I love those three words — a “vitality”, a “life force”, a “quickening within” — for they come the closest to describing that feeling that moves me to make the choices I do. Why Guatemala? Why Spain? Why by boat? Why by plane? Why here? Why then? Why him? Why her? My choices and my directions in life are becoming increasingly dependent on that “quickening within.” But with each decision, Intuition has reaffirmed that my trust in her is secure and worthy.

So here on “rules” are out, and “intuition” is in. And how many of you have guessed by now that I have been spending extraordinary amounts of time in the Metaphysics isle at Borders Bookstore? I apologize if the my blog stew has been a bit mild on adventure and mushy in content as of late. Of course, it’s “taste” varies with environment, and the kitchen I’m cooking in is set up mostly for reflection.

As for my next adventure? It has still yet to reveal itself to me. But if I have learned one lesson in life, it is this; If I am silent and still and listening, the path will present itself TO me. It is only my responsiblity to be open to it, recognize it, and pursue it.

(And when it does chose to present itself, you will certainly be clued in to its arrival by the overuse of asterisks in this blog — a dead giveaway that SOMEONE is excited.)

*Who me?!*


As mentioned, we are currently figuring out the clockworks of the new If you have any feedback for me, I would LOVE to hear it! More visual? Less babble? A friendly introduction to the location of an online spell checker? A verbal kick in the butt to get back on the road? A rant on my my overuse of the annoying slang word “wicked”? Message boards? More stories? More quotes? More frequent updates? Links to like sites? More travel tips? Maps? Questions you’d like to see answered? WHATEVER. Send it to me. Thank you!

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