In Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist he spoke of a person’s Personal Legend– what they wanted to accomplish in life and that of course got me thinking what’s mine, what did I want to accomplish? I thought a lot about that over the next two days even though it’s a question I’ve been asking and musing over in some form for most of my life. But all I could come up with were the same old conditioned responses so I decided that I wanted a fresher answer than what I’d come up with in the past and tabled my musing so as to give the question time to percolate in the cosmos.
Two days later a follower’s comments reminded me of an old Richard Bach quote from his book, Illusions and stimulated my earlier ponderings regarding the Personal Legend. Because I use seemingly unimportant and unconnected occurrences as an excuse to converse with the universe I went back to Bach’s book to see what else showed up.
Upon opening the book I found some written notes stuffed between the pages some three years ago. Interestingly the notes didn’t seem to correspond to anything written on the pages where the notes were stuffed, but was no doubt more about the way my mind wanders in that one word can set off a cascade of musings tangential to whatever I was reading at the time.
On closer inspection I noted a few lines scribbled regarding Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, Carl Jung, and Margery Williams. Under Roger’s name I had written about living fully in the moment with each moment being new. He also encouraged readers to trust in the inner workings of the whole psyche and then acting accordingly with all the activated feelings and reactions of the moment instead of being afraid of them and suppressing or retreating.
The Maslow note suggested that in order to grow and meet our greater needs we needed to move through the process of discovering what those were at any given time so as to identify our motivations.
The Jung comment focused on the process of integrating the disparate parts of the psyche in order to become whole.
But how does Margery Williams fit in I wondered? Then I remembered her children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit. The book was a story about becoming real and it was this idea of “becoming real” or “becoming whole” that showed up across my notes. In fact it has shown up recently for me through a number of iconic images e.g. Pinocchio, the Nutcracker, and the Velveteen Rabbit story all of which takes me back to Richard Bach’s book where the protagonist is pulled into a journey where he uncovers his own realness or wholeness.
Suddenly the answer to my question earlier in the week popped out at me in the form of “My Personal Legend is centered around becoming real.” But what does that mean?
I for the most part have lived my life as a fictional character imagining myself to live in a world the same as all others, but that isn’t true, my world is uniquely mine, not yours, not my parents nor my culture. To imagine anything else is fictional, it doesn’t exist. So what is “me” and what have others said is “me”, what’s real? That’s the journey isn’t it?
I also noticed that in those fictional characters mentioned earlier what all shared on their journey toward realness was one essential aspect of the universe; love. They were all loved into realness but it wasn’t until they realized the love from within that they were able to overcome the fiction of themselves. I think that the whole world is “loved” into existence but that we don’t become real until we love ourselves.
“If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.”
–Richard Bach, Illusions