The moment we begin to bring awareness to the basic idea that we have, and will have, a legacy, we begin to create one.
In the end, we all want to have lived lives that mattered. We all want to have left a lasting imprint on the hearts of those we loved and on the world as a whole. We all want to be remembered for the best of who we are and wanted to be.
Opportunities abound to fulfill these deeply human longings. They abound in every single moment that we are alive. But we often miss making the connection that now is the only doorway to then. We miss seeing that the choices we make at every juncture of our current moments and decisions either lead us toward or away from the possibility that we will have touched what we wanted to touch in ourselves, others and the world…in the end. We forget that living fully today is the only way to be remembered as we most fully want to be remembered when that great unknowable culmination of life finally arrives. We forget to remember that it is worth everything to live wholeheartedly in all the moments that we can.
We cannot live lives that truly matter without consideration of the things that truly matter.
When we befriend the fact that our lives are excruciatingly sacred and temporary, we are better able to take stock of what matters and to discern where wisdom directs our attention and choices. We long to say yes and dive headlong into life as the precious, passing invitation we know it is. Yet, facing and befriending the idea of our mortality seems to be the one thing that many of us most heartily avoid.
We cannot live lives that truly matter without consideration of the things that truly matter — and our impermanence is one of these. The moment we begin to bring awareness to the basic idea that we have, and will have, a legacy, we begin to create one. With our attention. With our choices. With our actions. Acknowledgement of legacy itself brings home the realization that we will not live forever and that we are shaping and living it now.
Whenever we embrace the vulnerability that comes with being alive — that inherently accompanies living gratefully — we are reminded that time is limited, so we should treasure what we have now. Holding this perspective is how legacy is created — not missing an opportunity while opportunities are available to us. How might we best embrace vulnerability and avail ourselves of life’s many opportunities? By learning to lean into — and trust in — life.
How do we hold awareness of the preciousness of life and its impermanence simultaneously?
Trust in life is a lesson with which many of us may wrestle in many ways, and it can support us in holding the wholehearted perspective that is the foundation of legacy. What does trust in life mean for each of us? Surely the idea lands differently into each of our lives, at different stages, and even at different times of day. Trusting life is a powerful perspective and practice. One we can commit to hold, allowing all of what surfaces in its exploration. Like mindfulness or grateful living practice, it is not when every moment is a perfect expression of our commitment that we consider ourselves to have a “successful” practice. Success is in noticing one moment more awareness, one more centimeter of possibility, one more instance of trusting life. Success is earned in returning again and again to the invitation and opportunities that the practice extends to us to live more wholeheartedly.
It can be very difficult to know how to live with the recognition that both so much and so little is promised us in this lifetime. It is challenging to remind ourselves that we navigate our lives, always, in the sublime truth of mystery. How do we hold awareness of the preciousness of life and its impermanence simultaneously? How do we offer our trust in life knowing that everyone will die and that difficulty and hardship are inevitable? How can we survive the balancing act of living in this way, much less cultivate and let it guide us? Gratefulness is an extraordinarily potent answer to many of our deep and far-reaching questions, inviting us to heed its invitation to live gratefully in the fullness of every moment…starting with the very moment that is here for us now.
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Br. David’s words Trust Life have been in my thoughts as I navigate my own life as I age and see the moving picture of our country going through a time of the intense choice about doing the right thing or not. Your beautiful reflection on each moment and the opportunity for Trusting Life is so timely as it is too easy to question, HOW?
Thank you Missy for your loving comment. It is so compelling to combine Br. David’s teachings on trusting life with his wish for all of us to have and act on “passion for change” in his holiday letter this year. It is a worthy hybrid path for all of us to deeply contemplate. In partnership – K
Kristi, Happy New Moment – you have captured a wonderful theme as the calendar turns. Actually each day of turning calls us to the awareness and aliveness that you articulate. Legacy then can simply being known for being fully alive – a wonderful and daily exercise. Thanks for your insight and openness as always.
Drew – You are exactly right! Most beautifully said. Unconditional, full aliveness – and availability to life as it is – promise the moments we long for most deeply. Being present to life is such a gift. Thank you for your wonderful words. K
Thank you Kristi. This is an inspiring cracking open of the word “legacy”. Lots to unpack as I embrace my emerging elder self. I look forward to your forthcoming book.
Thank you Elaine. I love that you are interested in unpacking legacy for the many treasures it offers us as we mature. There is much for which to be grateful in the midst of this life we have. Blessings on your path of deepened awareness and I am so glad you are part of our community. Keep in touch – K
That is my goal this year. To develop more trust in life. I would like to read more about how to do this.
Susan – Trust in life is a big teaching and one that asks us to step into many places where we have withheld our trust and therefore suffered. Committing to “work with life as it is” allows us to move from resistance to greater trust. Br. David has much to offer us on this path of liberation and joy. I hope I can humbly add something to that path… K
Hi Susan, Good news! Kristi just finished writing a book that includes ‘how to’ suggestions on topics like this. Her book will be published and available later this year. We invite you to use the search bar on our site, you’ll find a good deal of content on this topic. Here is an example from Brother David
https://gratefulness.org/resource/trusting-life/ Wishing you peace, light, love and trust in the coming year.
Thank you. I found this wonderfully inspiring and uplifting.
Thanks so much Patjos! You have honored me with the gifts of your time and praise. May you continue to be uplifted in gratefulness. K
My experience has been that in order to strive to practice virtues (e.g. Honesty & Open-Mindedness) spiritual awareness is essential. Being aware allows for that spiritual/emotional “space” to center my thoughts before responding – or, indeed reflecting as to whether a response is warranted in a situation or to a stimulus. Perhaps then, my “legacy” takes care of itself because it is more related to interpretation. My first gratitude is for awareness – a conscience that is capable of a reasonable interpretation of reality and making a loving decision – where warranted – to react.
Dear KenD, thanks for the hint of “….. making a loving decision …..” includes so much. Bridging the Brainmind and heartmind as ONE (and still handled step by step….) affects me and talks, and encourages me to contiune that path of gratefulness as key to access and act und dwelled in TRUST into life..
Thanks for the encouragement.
Ken – what a wonderful addition to the conversation: aligning with our deep spiritual principles helps us to know what is right and loving in all our circumstances. Thank you so much for this reminder and for adding to the conversation. K
Indeed! The preciousness and fragility, especially when it’s mixed with the actuality of our worldly worlds as opposed to reality, makes for a very challenging and valuable point of reflection; brava. Thanx for all you do. As well, may this New Year never find you not new; all the way through 🙂 reality
A beautiful reflection. How wonderful that “Reality” reminds us that life is precious and fragile and begs for our fullness. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and kind comment. K