Empowering Others- Leaving a Legacy
It is important that we leave a mark on the World, -that we feel our lives had meaning. When I meet many people a the end of their lives, they often wish they had done more, seen more and left more memories in the minds of those they love. No one wants their life to simply be the dash mark between their birth year and death year on their grave stone. We want all our efforts and strifes and struggles in life to have meant something to somebody.
At the end of life, most of the time, it is the memories of other people that we care the most about. Will so and so miss me when I’m gone? Will they remember the baseball games I took them too or the time I took off from work to take care of them?
Other times the legacy we care about leaving may not be as individual, but in the memories of a collective. A researcher may have spent their life in a a laboratory and discovered a life saving medicine, or and engineer who designed the chair that electronically carries people up and down stairs so they can remain in their homes.
One of my greatest legacies will be my children. My focus in raising them has been to let them know that no matter what, they are loved so that they may go out into the World and give unconditionally to others. My husbands focus as a parent is more on creating self sufficient adults who not only have self respect, but have integrity in all that they do. There are many ways to create legacies without having children of your own, however parenting is an awesome opportunity to give to the World!
Empowering Tool #1:
Picture the people close to you in your life that have died or you no longer have contact with. See their faces and then see times that you interacted with them. How do you feel when you think of them? What memories do you have that rush in when you hear their name? Do you have memerobelia or photos you keep to remind you of your experiences with them and how they impacted your life? In every moment, you are keeping their legacy alive in your memories, stories and who you are because of knowing them. Not all memories are positive, but they can be turned into strength and compassion through us. We can honor our deceased loved ones’ lives by carrying the strengths we have learned from them through to others.
I realize this exercise may be tough as we all have regrets. We wish we had spent more time with those who have passed or told them how much they meant to us. The gift we give to them is holding their memories dear to us and living our lives in ways that honor them.
Now close your eyes again. This time picture yourself on your deathbed. You know you only have a few hours to live. If this was happening to you right now in your life, who would be gathered around you? Who would travel from their homes in other cities or countries to say their final good byes to you? In your journal write those names down. Now also write any names that you didn’t write down because you thought they might not travel or they have passed, but you would wish to see them one last time.
Now beside each name I want you to see yourself, on your deathbed, through their eyes.
How do they see you? Are they looking at you with sadness as you will be leaving them alone and they are so close to you? Are they talking with you about the good times you used to have together hanging out after work or playing tricks on your parents? Go down through your list and take time to see yourself from others perspectives and the memories or influences you have had on their lives.
These people who would come to say good bye to you and the ones whom you would wish to say good bye to, these are your legacy- your “circle of influence.” Take time to really See, Hear and Feel what you have left in their memories and how you have impacted their lives.
Now picture yourself seeing your doctor come to your death bed and tell you that your condition is improving. You are no longer dying and you are being released from the hospital. You now have a chance to create new memories with those you love and make any adjustments to relationships you noticed have regrets. RIGHT NOW. This is not a tool to put off. Make a to do list, reach out to those you can and tell them what what you want them to know. Create new memories for those who are in your life. Help them experience YOU in a way that you hope they will cherish. Look at yourself from the perspective of others and know that RIGHT NOW is your opportunity to interact with them in a way that reflects who you trully are. What other people “think” of us is trully not our busisness. We can’t act in ways “in oder” to change someones thinking. All we can do is act in ways that are true to our self and hope that there is a part of that person we love that resonates with that. Their thoughts are theirs, but the way we feel and act with them, is in our control and wen we lay down at “ the end of our day or the end of our lives,” We know we gave them a chance to experience our True Selves. This is Legacy.