From the monthly archives:

October 2010

Military dance troupe
Creative Commons License photo credit: tibchris

After writing this two-part series on following your bliss, I’ve come to realize one of the biggest obstacles to going after what makes you happy is actually standing up and bucking conformity if that’s what it takes to get it.

It’s all well and good to have figured out what brings you lasting and authentic joy, to acknowledge you want whatever that is, and to accept that being in alignment with it will make you happy.

It’s a whole other thing to stand up to the forces that be and declare you’re going to go publicly do whatever brings you joy, especially when it’s not the norm.  And that, dear readers, is exactly what makes Chris Guillebeau’s debut book The Art of Non-Conformity (affiliate link) so timely, reassuring and downright practical.

The Young Grasshopper of Non-Conformity

I’ve been following writer and world traveler Chris Guillebeau for about a year.  Sensing a kindred spirit (we both love to travel, travel-hack and write) after connecting with his blog, I immediately raised my hand for an advance copy of his book when he offered it and was lucky enough to get one.  Now about half-way through my read, I realize we share another key trait: non-conformity.

Chris Guillebeau Art of Non-ConformityLike many readers of Chris’ book will undoubtedly discover, I owe him a debt of gratitude for emboldening and empowering me to set my own rules and go after the life I really want.  Because you see, Chris is a freakin’ non-conformity master.

In his early 30’s today, Chris is a man who refused from an early age to accept the status quo.  He dropped-out of high school after two years (mostly from what I construe as boredom) and went straight to college.  Taking classes simultaneously at a community college and local university, he graduated with not one but two (count ‘em, two) bachelor’s degrees at the end of his second year as a college student.  His friends from the brief time he’d spent in high school were just finishing their freshman year.

Chris then went on to do a variety of non-conformist things including a short stint working the night shift at Fed-Ex at age 20 followed by starting and running an eBay business, and more notably, spending four years as a volunteer aid worker in West Africa.  While in Africa [click to continue…]


Plan management trainee, nancy from Ghana and me
Creative Commons License photo credit: Frerieke

In part 1 of this series I explored internal alignment as an alternative to thinking in terms of absolutes.  I invited you to see all judgments as a matter of individual perspective and a chance to move away from the narrowness of right and wrong, black and white, either/or.  Then I suggested that if you’re going to peg your internal barometer to one thing, if you’re going to pick one state by which to measure your alignment, make it joy.  But many are asking “Why joy? And how do I know the real thing?”

Contrary to most mass religions and popular belief, I believe our human journey is not intended to be a path of suffering, nor a massive test we’re supposed to pass.  Whether you honor your inner guidance system or not, however, will determine if you make it into one.  And of course, it is absolutely your choice to believe as you wish.  (Recognize, however, as you believe so you will create.)

The good news is, we haven’t been sent here without an internal guidance system. We all have one – our emotions. Those emotions we call “negative” are there to steer us away from what is [click to continue…]


Creative Commons License photo credit: h.koppdelaney

The moral judgment barometer is rising in the US. We’ve got Glenn Beck and Fox News scaring the crap out of the conservative Christian right (haven’t you heard? judgment day is a-comin’ long before any of that 2012 shit hits the fan!). Then there’s Jon Stewart and Co. making a career out of poking fun of Glenn Beck and Co. Somewhere in the middle there’s Rick Sanchez pounding the pavement for a new gig after being fired for calling Jon Stewart a “bigot”.

Add to this world of opposite extremes the fact that it’s now okay for blacks to call each other “nigga” (have you seen the new Cee Lo Green video? If not, just type his name into YouTube – but be warned, it’s got the n- AND f-words in it) but still taboo for whites to use the same word even if they’re not actually directing it toward a person (don’t think so? ask Dr. Laura Schlessinger). And let’s not forget the battle over the Islamic center proposed to be built near ground zero in New York. There’s a divisive issue for ‘ya – anyone who hears about it (and isn’t ignoring it) feels compelled to pick a side of that argument.

These days, it seems you’re right or wrong, good or evil, black or white. There’s not a lot of middle ground out there, and that’s a shame because the middle ground is where we can walk in one another’s shoes for a while and as a result be able to peacefully co-exist; (dare I say it) maybe even harmonize. Sometimes with a little compromise, sure, but harmonize nonetheless. (And gee – isn’t our President a literal expression of such harmony in race – half black and half white? But I digress . . .)

What if instead of thinking in terms of moral absolutes, we adopted a new paradigm? What if [click to continue…]

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