Speaking with my brother-in-law this past Christmas, the subject of legacy came up. We were discussing about the meaningless nature of life and how unimportant we really are (in the big scheme of things). I argued that, even though it’s true that our “persona” is not so important, our legacy is. What I mean by legacy, is not something that makes us famous or that brings us recognition, it’s the impact of our beingness—the state of being that we emanate in a specific moment. It’s constantly changing, and stems from how we feel.
For example, when I’m on my way to a tango or acting class, or simply taking the time to enjoy a cup of espresso in the morning with my husband, I feel joy. This joy is contagious among my kids, who take this vibe to school, spreading it even further to teachers and classmates. This chain reaction that we start every moment of the day, accumulates over the years creating an overall effect that I call LEGACY.
I went to the local Barnes & Noble recently to check if my book was placed in their shelves. Indeed, there they were, two copies of my first book “What’s in the Way of Your Happiness?”. I took few pictures to share the good news with my social media tribe. The more I zoomed out, the more I realized who was surrounding me–Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, Panache Desai, Oprah–my book was in the same place as this spiritual celebrities. I felt completely overwhelmed and taken by emotions, not because I thought I had become famous by association, but because I could—so clearly—see that I’m part of something larger than myself, that all my struggles to get my little, insignificant, 70-page-self-published-book, were worth it because I had added a small step to this infinite latter of human effort to build a better life for all.
From this perspective, realizing our full potential—what we came here for, what makes our heart sing—is our contribution to humanity’s well-being. So for me, persuing writing, acting, tango dancing or simply being mom, is my legacy REGARDLESS of the end result of those activities. What I make people feel—what I can inspire by just doing what I do best—constitutes my legacy, and its impact is always unexpected and unpredictable.
But of course we aren’t always in a good mood, and the chain reaction can be started on a negative note. Still, just the awareness that we’re impacting others—in a historical proportion—can inspire us to take care of our feelings more responsibly.
In the end, is about facing all aspects of ourselves—compassion and resentment, empathy and jealousy—so we can avoid dumping our frustrations and unresolved conflicts on others.