What will be your Legacy?Apr 05, 2023
Last weekend to a group of yoga teachers I asked them to ponder this question, what will be your legacy? What do you want to leave for your children or loved ones to remember you by?
When we consider our time on this earth, we only place our worth on monetary value, adulation for our services or material accumulation, but is this really what we want to leave behind as our message or story?
You may or may not know anything about me, and that’s ok; it's not necessary, but if you do know me, then you know everything I do in this life is for my three children.
If you question where children mimic behaviour, look no further than yourself (especially if you are a parent). No matter what age, they are incredibly observant as they witness how we talk to ourselves, how we treat others and the intentions behind our actions.
We don’t give children enough validation as to their intellectual intuition. They can feel emotions more expansively and become incredibly confused when one’s actions don’t align with their word or message. Our role is to keep our children safe and to provide a loving and non-judgmental place for them to foster their growth.
More importantly, it is our role as living examples of what it means to move through this world with more grace and humility. Our society places a great deal of emphasis on ‘goals’ or talents as it becomes the attachment or narrative of whom we become, but is this really who we are? The focus of being rewarded for a skill or a high level of intelligence isn’t the root of one's self-worth but rather the process it took to achieve the outcome that should be acknowledged.
This is called ‘process praise,’ and rather than raising children to attach their worth to their talent and intelligence, which is a fixed mindset, we teach our children to see the endless possibilities of how they can move through this world by recognizing their greatness no matter how big or small the accomplishment.
When I mentioned the word ‘legacy’ and asked the group to share their definition, everyone gave me a different statement. Our perception of the world and our interaction with others is based on our experiences, environment (home, school and peers) and genetic beliefs. No one will have the exact definition because we embody their meaning differently, and that’s ok.
In my yoga classes, I always say, ‘There is no right or wrong; it’s just different,’ and this applies to all aspects of our human existence. Everyone is entitled to their ‘opinion’ about a situation or another, but does it make it absolute? Your opinion of everything in this world is unique to you, but it does not make it right or wrong; it just makes it different.
Before I make a decision or assumption about a person or a situation, I retreat. I remove myself to seek solitude and question my own heart and intention. Am I being triggered because of my self-worth? Does this situation serve my higher purpose, and how will this experience allow me to grow? I might sit with these for a few hours or a few days.
The last two years have been profound. In my seclusion, I began to witness my patterns of protection for myself and my children. I was petrified of failing and humiliating my family and was encased by people’s opinions of me that were falsely represented. I was continuously justifying my actions or reasoning with people who held very little importance in my life, yet somehow they were consuming my thoughts and actions.
I began reconciling lost friendships, lost relationships and the incessant need to please everyone. I no longer have the space and capacity to show up for people or to live up to their unachievable expectations of me. I released my fear of not being liked or feeling left behind and, more importantly, the ‘never’ enough for anyone or everyone. Some people do not align with me, and that’s ok too.
If it no longer aligns with my purpose or the legacy that I have chosen to leave for my children, then I leave it exactly where it is, which is both somewhere and nowhere at the same time. The legacy I wish to leave for my children allows them to navigate their lifetime with more compassion, ease and deep self-awareness. For them to have witnessed my process of finding more harmony as I both pursue and enjoy all the happiness I called in. One where they will look back on our memories shared with a smile on their hearts, knowing I am always with them.
The focus of my purpose and this lifetime soon became very clear. The only thing of significant importance in this lifetime is my children. Their opinions (and my few loved ones) were the only ones that held any value in my life.
When I started to see everything from this bountiful lens, my entire life moved in a different direction. I acquired more boundaries, began to communicate my needs more clearly, released old patterns and friendships that were not honourable, and moved my energy toward building my legacy.
Why is this important? Because now, when an emotion or trigger boils to the surface, I see to myself, ‘Is this a part of my legacy?’. If the answer is no, then I let it go. If the answer is yes, I look at all the perspectives for a viable and healthy solution. This has given me the freedom just to be rather than try to be….
As with everything else, this sweetness and richness will take some time, so my teacher at this moment is patience. I will continue to sit in seclusion and stillness in the sanctuary of my home with my children and loved ones creating a life filled with exuberant memories to last through all lifetimes.
What will be your legacy?