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Some gems about shining a little light back on yourself…

Just at the same time as Chris Guillebeau is enjoying great popularity with the publication of his book, ‘The Art of Non-Conformity’ , he writes an excellent post shining the light back on his readers. That’s one of the reasons I love Chris and his work: expect the unexpected. I always get such a wonderful blast of fresh thinking and often the reverse of current trends; hence his specialty, ‘nonconformity’, I guess.

In his post, What’s your message? Why not share it? Chris starts by referring to the current trend in social media of talking about others more than yourself. Chris turns the spotlight squarely back:

..ultimately people will follow you because you are doing something interesting, not because you are good at passing on other people’s messages.

A point very well made with much relevance for blogging, tweeting and much of life really:

Be interesting. Be yourself. Do something worth talking about.

Chris then encourages readers to comment about their message. There is much to learn and enjoy in the responses as people focus back on their message and reflect it out again.

Danielle LaPorte’s post on ‘The initiated woman’  shone a light on a very deep place and I knew exactly what she was talking about. It starts with bleeding, vulnerability and giving of the quintessential:

she’s bled from poor decisions that sliced her esteem wide open; and from unguarded boundaries being obliterated; and she’s bled willingly because that’s what you do when people you love are anemic or have been hit by life — you give them your blood. Here, I have lots, it’s fresh and warm. I’ll make more.

And it moves from there to describe a place where the outcomes of experience become a wisdom and strength that can help others. Read it – it is the most beautiful piece of writing. It reminds me of the wonderfully understated words from the song ‘You’re a Heathen of Love’  by Marian Bradfield:

‘Cause experience in a woman never goes astray.

And because Chris says ‘tell us your message’ and ‘be yourself’ and because Danielle says:

She’s so tender she prefers to whisper about her true nature, or write a poem. Abstract. Protected.

…here’s a poem from me. It was written and crafted during my time in Sage Cohen’s highly recommended ‘Poetry for the People’ classes and was featured along with the work of my fellow students on Sage’s ‘Writing the Life Poetic’  blog.


She starts up high, facing north

towards slow mist,

watching the sea wash

into the rain’s drift below.

She is called to the beach

as if to a baptism, bride-like,

white as the air, stepping

down the rough rock stairs.

She narrates her life,

writes as she walks,

as if the sand and shells are

the bones of her story.

And the pieces connect her:

an imperfect white oval shell,

a fig leaf from a canopy,

the sketched black lines

of a creature’s moving home.

Cool and tight limbed,

she ends in another place,

as if washed by waves,

her contours, clear and shell-lined

as the Borromean grottoes

of Isolabella,

her white shining lights

coming home.


Image, Inishowen Mirror by Janek Kloss from flickr and used under a Creative Commons license with thanks