by Cara Lumen
Things are happening in my 77 year old life that make we want to be sure that I have been a contributor to this world. I’m not dying, I’m going for 114 at least, but it feels like it’s time to take stock and see if I have made a difference in my world.
Acknowledge yourself for the obvious
There are certain things that will immediately come to mind. I have four great children who in turn have had children and they are all very special people. That was a biological function and yes, I contributed guidance and a gene pool.
I have been a healer and teacher for a lot of my adult life and I know that what I was teaching changed lives. I didn’t always hear how they were changed but things like reiki, Bach flower remedies, Trager, yoga and metaphysics are life changers. I was just the teacher.
What choices did you make?
We make a difference by what we choose and don’t choose. My most dramatic choice was to leave my four children 8 to 16 with my ex-husband who was getting re-married to go off to New York City to have a career in theater. That didn’t turn out to be why I went, I went to get an amazing holistic education that I could not have gotten in the Midwest at that time. I had been raising my children alone and I didn’t see my value in their lives.
What that did for my children was to open up New York City for them. One went on to go to Columbia, another lived there for a long time, another left to go the Portland and another stayed in Kansas City. But they all had their horizons expanded by my move.
I chose to go back and get my Master’s Degree when I was 40. I choose to take EST in New York City. I temped in NYC and learned a high standard of doing business. I got my major holistic education in NYC. Those are some of the major choices I have made along my journey.
What difference did you make in others lives?
Sometimes we don’t know. In a teleclass a long time ago I had a 5 minute segment on forgiveness. 5 minutes in a whole hour. But in the next class one of the participants said she really resonated with that segment. She and her father had been estranged for a long time but that class prompted her to write him a letter. He called her in tears and they were on the way to reconnecting.
You just never know.
You don’t know if your actions set an example that someone is inspired to follow. You don’t know if your input helped someone find a new strength or talent in themselves. You don’t know if a kind action you took touched hearts. You just never know.
How you can change your legacy starting now
I need to be better at relationships. I need to practice that. I need to reach out and involve myself with others more. That will affect my life as much as it will those I reach out to.
I can get really focused about what I teach. My philosophical posts and radio shows are drawing more attention than the practical how to topics. I get to listen to that. What insights do I have to share that might open new paths for others?
What moments can I take with others that will change our lives? My grandson Gideon, who is five, is enchanted with his role as big brother to his week old sister. As I held her he came to be with me, to touch her, to pat her head, to care for her. I’ll remember that time with him and that special time we spent with our newest family member.
My son-in-law is great about creating special moments for my youngest grandsons – he takes them camping, or works with them in his shop to build things. He creates very special moments in his life and theirs simply by taking time to be with them and help them learn something new.
What time do you need to take with others that will change you both?
How do you need to change?
I’m fighting the feeling of being obsolete. Of being a part of the wind-down generation, where the energy to start and maintain something new wanes. And I don’t like it. So just because I am around people who are waiting to have their lives diminish, doesn’t mean I have to go that route at all. I get to keep myself motivated, and interested, and meaningful and relevant. And I can do that every day. And thank goodness for the internet because I am not restricted to my own community to find friends and support, I can go out there and find others who are interested in what I am and I can find places to contribute.
A long time ago I started an acknowledgement book where I wrote down kind things people said about me along with the date and who said it. When I would get dumpy about myelf I would read that and feel better – noticing what other people had seen in me that I was not seeing myself. Now I keep all the acknowledgements I receive on my computer and can go over them when I need to reassure myself that I have contributed.
You can’t do anything about the past except learn from it. Now is the moment to start changing your legacy. What do you want to do differently? What have you been putting off doing for way too long? How would you change your daily awareness?
I may have to move. I don’t want to. I love where I am. So what I’m doing is absorbing, acknowledging and immersing myself in my present surroundings and living deeply each day I am given with appreciation and gratitude.
Become conscious of how you affect others – through your attitude, your words, your choices, and make certain everything you do comes from your heart. That will help you leave a legacy to be remembered.
©2010 Cara Lumen