Living a Life of Continuous Value
By Robert E. Staub, Best selling author of The 7 Acts of Courage
The poet Rainer Maria Rilke created a powerful legacy for all those who read his poems. He celebrated being alive and being connected to nature, and to life itself. His quote above, just one line of text, is a gift if you let it resonate deeply within you.
What would it be like if you were to pause just a little, every day, to ponder the deep intelligence of the earth and the steady rhythm of nature? If you surrendered more to the living moment you would experience being both “rooted” and connected to something greater, while also being able to “rise up” to feeling more alive and whole.
It is never too soon to be thinking about your legacy, your contributions to the world.
A great way to sharpen your thoughts is to consider the following questions: What will you leave behind you when you exit your life? What will your life have meant to the world around you? What will you have stood for and what will you have created of your one, special, unique life?
It may sound paradoxical but taking the time to think about your legacy and what you will leave behind you when you die is an excellent way to live more fully, completely and abundantly NOW. Most people avoid thinking about their death and many live as if they will never die. This is foolish and wasteful.
By acknowledging and facing the prospect of death, you can choose to make even better use of the limited time you have here on Earth, and to be more fully present with your experience of being alive. After all…
It is the content of your mind and how you direct your internal dialogue that determines how much peace you can generate, allowing your heart-centered presence to simultaneously gift others.
Heart opens to “what is,” thus experiencing the full range of what life has to offer.
There is no wasted effort or time. Sitting in traffic can be either a hellish experience or one of healing and enjoyment, depending upon how you set your mind. If you expect life to conform to your desires and expectations, then you will be disappointed many times and miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the living moment. You will create unnecessary pain and/or escape into fantasies of the future or ruminations of the past.
The key to creating a legacy worthy of the miracle of living is to be fully present and open to what is going on and what you are experiencing.
Take being stuck in traffic: If you resist it and judge the experience negatively, then you will feel frustration or anger or some form of disappointment. However, when you open to the experience and move from demand to preference, then you can in effect say…
“I am in a traffic jam and I would prefer to be moving along briskly and easily. Since I am now moving slower than I would like, what can I do to take advantage of some time I had not anticipated? Is there some music I would enjoy listening to and/or singing along to right now? How about some deep breathing and conscious relaxing of some tight parts of my body? What is there to notice around me that is lovely to see, or that may be a miracle I am taking for granted? What can I enjoy and/or celebrate in my life that I can focus on, now that I have been slowed down and am moving more slowly than I normally do?”
Asking those questions opens the doorway to a deeper set of perceptions and a finer tuning of awareness.
This then “gifts” you with an experience of being alive and with perceptions that you would normally miss, such as the play of light across the grass, the colors of the sky, the feel of a cool breeze or a chance to sing instead of being stuck in some internal monologue in your head.
Whenever you step up and out of the old judgments and patterns of resisting what is going on, you are then choosing to create a different storyline and experience. This is an act of creation tied to the powers of observation, the grace of imagination and the power to choose a different way of being in the moment.
This blesses you and anyone with you. You are creating a different kind of experience and gifting yourself and any around you with a more peaceful and graceful way of relating, connecting and being in the world. This is a pathway to generating a legacy of meaningful choices and moments in your life.
Legacy is, after all, about what you have created in terms of the experiences others have of you, and the “gifting” you have done through acts of kindness, forgiveness, caring, understanding, appreciation, mentoring, guiding and correcting.
People remember how you made them feel.
People remember you in terms of what you contributed to their experience of themselves when they were around you. If you are not present with yourself, if you are busy judging experiences if they fail to match your expectations and people if they don’t “measure” up to your demands, then you cannot create a legacy to be proud of nor one that others will treasure.
A few tips to creating a legacy of value that continues on beyond your life time:
- Gift others: You are a power in this world and impact others far more than you realize. Take the time to make use of the “gift” of your positive attention and bestow it on others through a nod, a smile, a kind word, a positive experience that only you have the power to generate in any given moment.
- Choose openness: Remember in every situation that you have the power to make a choice, that you can “choose” to be more open in the moment and to find some blessing or grace in the situation or in the act of supporting and/or encountering the other(s).
- Make the most of each day: Remember that every life comes with an end date.Know this and think about it once a day. Then ask, “How can I live today with a greater sense of presence, of aliveness, of appreciating and noticing the miracles around me?”
- Co–author your life story: It really helps to remember that you are not a powerless character in somebody else’s story. You are actually both living your life AND also the co-author of that life. You get to create some of the key elements in this life and you alone get to choose which thoughts, interpretations and ways of relating and acting you will access and use.
What is the legacy you are creating by the way you think, perceive, relate and “be”? Are you contributing to the world, gifting yourself and others by celebrating the miracle of being alive? How do you touch and shape people, places and circumstances around you?
I invite you to recommit regularly: choose to live consciously, fully and wholly by taking 100% responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions. Remember, you create your legacy with your every thought, choice, word and deed.
More in the Legacy Series
Creating a Legacy of Wealth: How to Stop Chasing the Transactional and Create a Life of Exponential Wealth
A Legacy of Developing Young Leaders: The Courage to Lead with Humility and Conviction