Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Leading A Legendary Life
Leading A Legendary Life
Identity as Art and Living Within the Context of Legend
By Shiloh Sophia McCloud
What does it mean to live a legendary life?
Choosing to live a legendary life means giving ourselves permission to be amazing. We define what ‘amazing’ is for ourselves. It is not the “what” of living, but the “how.” Choosing to be legendary is more than an attitude and more than a way of being. When we choose to be legendary we have decided that we are defining the context in which our lives will be lived and experienced. Do you want vitality? Self expression? Do you want to feel like your life is on purpose? Do you want to live as an artist, with creativity as a central theme? There is a sparkling destiny waiting for you to say YES!
The incredible good news is that as soon as you choose - the legend begins to do its teaching.
We begin to put in context what has already occurred and what we are creating as a part of the whole design. We are the designer, and our life is the creation. The more we choose to create a life of meaningful relationships and projects, the more we call towards ourselves that which is in alignment with our legendary values. But even before we can define what is legendary for us we have to define our values - what is important to us. When we are clear on that - we then can proceed to invent a way of approaching life that creates it as consistent with our values.
To choose to live a legendary life means we are the opposite of the victim, while we are cognizant of our story so far, and we don’t need to get “rid” of it - we learn to use it to create our legend by putting it in context - we claim it and stop resisting it. The ragged story is disempowering us through the our keeping active the suffering of the past. All that we have been through can be used to create our living legend in the present. A life lived this way is a design process, not a reaction process. Therapy only goes so far, then it is time to take responsibility for how we respond to everything that comes from this moment on.
For example, a woman who can stay home and raise her children without having to “make a living” can consider herself living a legend of being a full time mama. Now days, this is a luxury. How she thinks about this privilege will define the benefit her and her child and her partner will receive. Another woman may be able to run a big company while raising children with the help of her family - it is up to her to create the context through which she is viewing her experience. Her gratitude and presence of mind and heart towards what is, will empower her to create more of what is possible. She feels like a legendary success because she can “have it all’ and make it work.
Another example may be regarding woman who is abused becoming an advocate for abused/disadvantages women. Her own story adding to her ability to tend the wounds of others - therefore, her story, which once oppressed her, can be transformed into a healing legend. On the other hand, a woman who is abused who cannot break the pattern and finds herself continuing to abuse self or others, has not been able to transform her story into a legend. She does not have the proper tools to make the transition. Having access to the proper tools is a privilege. Many people around the world do not even know that others of us have a choice. And even closer to home, many of us just struggle from self esteem which will prevent us from creating a context in which we can thrive, and express our calling. While we may uplift others who endured hardship for their overcoming spirit - we tell ourselves we do not have what it takes, therefore avoiding doing the work of being amazing, first to ourselves and then in the relationship with others. What is your legend about you? How are you holding yourself back from being your most wonderful self? What will it take for your heart to open towards you and others? When our love expands beyond our story, and we begin to create a life that is not limited by the past, but informed by it,
healing occurs. Victory is in the making. But how does it happen?
An awakened heart is the ground work for being able to transform our legendary life into a life
that serves others and becomes a blessing to the world. The true joy of life is found through being a blessing to others. When it is a part our legend to ease suffering, “others” will be not only a focus, but an inspiration to continue to maintain the power of creating ourselves as legendary. We do not become legendary out of a desire to be ‘great’ as in famous - but out of a desire to first be great, as in our own eyes.
Practicing self honor is an integral part of creating our legend - and in fact it is the substance of self honor that actually informs the legend itself. To practice self honor is to come from the place of love for oneself - which naturally becomes love for others if we continue to strive for the next chapter in our unfolding legend. We can all find ourselves being stuck, the day in and day out of survival is enough to put us into a stooper - we are aware that life can be stooper inducing we can make a commitment to “RESIST” mediocrity, whatever that is to us.
How, we might ask, are we to begin this journey of self invention and the creation of the legendary self? The woman in possession of herself and her identity. The woman who knows what she wants and stands for herself. A woman who does not allow herself to continue in ways of being that enforce self degradation. A woman who is actively and consciously pursuing her life purpose. A woman with a vision!
The first step is to make the decision to be legendary. Then begin a series of questions and explorations in your life, asking things like: What makes me feel proud? Happy? In what wasy do I want to express myself as an artist? When have I felt my best? Who are my sheroes/heroes? Who do I want to grow up to be? What have I always wanted to do? What would bring me bliss? What would I be wearing, where would I be going, as my legendary self. Our legendary self is a combination of what is, what is next, and an active imagination. The dictionary describes legend as myth, saga, epic, tale, story, folk tale, folk story, fairy tale, fable, mythos, folklore, lore, mythology, fantasy, oral history, folk tradition; urban myth. You don’t have to share it with others. It does not have to make sense. You just have to practice being legendary in the privacy of your own wild heart.
Want to know a secret? You will know it is your legend if it excites you. If the hair on your arms stands up. If you want to dance and you don’t know why. If you smile when you see yourself that way. Creativity is the substance through which your search will occur. Art is the medium that legend is born through. Whether it be a dance, a painting, a poem, a chicken soup, a quilt, a beaded necklace or shawl - bringing FORM to our thoughts creates a shift within us that grants access to the inner workings of the legendary self. Our identity lives inside of our creative soul. We cannot just think it. We have to do it. That is why practicing art will be the most powerful change agent that will inform your process. It does not matter if you are good. If you know how to do it. What matters is that you do it with intention. You approach the canvas, and you invite your legendary self to come forward. What are her colors? Her symbols? Her patterns? Her sounds, shapes, songs and stars. Does she wear a cosmic cloak? Red cowgirl boots? Does she look like shaman? Does she heal? Sing? Dance? Create miracles? What is her role in life. Ask her!
Through contemplative creativity begin searching your life, past, present and future for your legendary woman self. Invite her to tea. Invite her into your journal. Let her out of your closet. Go and buy her a pair of new shoes. Cater to her. Take her to the museum, to the park. Listen for her voice. Listen to your heart. Take notes. This is your official permission slip to begin!
Why not be legendary?
Did I mention how much more fun life is when you identify as a legend?
Self IMAGE - Where have we gone wrong?
We have, with the continual prodding of parents, authorities and media joined who we are with a self image perception and made the two, one, which are meant to be two.
see yourself as others see you
Create yourself based on what you love.
Use imagination to “invent” a story about your unfolding life.
Recognize that becoming who you are is a continuum not a destination.
Begin to recognize your affinity - what comes naturally to you, what you naturally come to .
Who you are is not something fixed, you are a combination of what is, and what is possible.
Recognize that a life lived with purpose creates a life of meaning.
Choose a focus during all times that answers the question: What are you excited about?
Know that you do not have to stay with a focus forever, but you need to find one now.
You MUST have a focus in order for the next one to make itself available to you.
Choose to believe that you have a purpose, and that you ARE on purpose all the time.
Make a decision to measure all decisions within the context of your legend.
About all things, ask: Does it add or take away from my legendary self?
Say no to all that is not consistent with your legend.
Choose to NEVER not be working on your focus.
Once you have a transformation or healing regarding an old story - choose to remember
that you have already dealt with it.
Make a commitment not to let your old stories/patterns take up more than 20% of your thoughts.
Move towards that which makes you uncomfortable.
Choose design instead of reaction. Be prepared.
Invite others to join you in creating a legendary life.
Create yourself in words and images for others.
Care how you are perceived by others.
Make giving and receiving an integral part of your daily practice.
Be interested in others. Truly.
ORIGIN Middle English (sense 4) : from Old French legende, from medieval Latin legenda ‘things to be read,’ from Latin legere ‘read.’ Sense 1 dates from the early 17th cent.
1 Arthurian legends myth, saga, epic, tale, story, folk tale, folk story, fairy tale, fable, mythos, folklore, lore, mythology, fantasy, oral history, folk tradition; urban myth.
2 film legends celebrity, star, superstar, icon, phenomenon, luminary, leading light, giant; informal celeb, megastar.