The alchemist knew the legend of Narcissus, a youth who knelt daily beside a lake to contemplate his own beauty. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning, he fell into the lake and drowned.
When Narcissus died, the goddesses of the forest appeared and found the lake, which had been fresh water, transformed into a lake of salty tears.
"Why do you weep?" the goddess asked.
"I weep for Narcissus", the lake replied.
"Ah, it is no surprise that you weep for Narcissus," they said, "for though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his beauty close at hand".
"But ... was Narcissus beautiful?" the lake asked.
"Who better than you to know that?" the goddesses said in wonder. "After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate himself."
The lake was silent for some time. Finally, it said:
"I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected."
from The Alchemist
Sometimes I feel that the pursuit of a fit lean body is "narcissistic" - a vain, self absorbed, shallow endeavour. There is a small voice that tells me that my drive and energy could be better spent teaching poor children or feeding the homeless.
But the actual form that my Personal Legend takes is immaterial. What matters is that when I am pursuing my dream, people will look into the depths of my eyes, and see their own beauty reflected.
They won't necessarily see my courage, determination, commitment, and passion, but by looking into my eyes, they will know it is possible for them too, to love themselves.
By changing myself, I can change others. By following my dream, others believe that they can follow theirs as well.
I can be an inspiration.