In my continuation of Diane Sawyer-esque introspection though the pandemic (we ask the hard questions, folks), the question I've been asking myself a lot this month: What legacy do you want to leave?
I hadn't really given it too much thought, honestly, because this seems like an easy question. Most of us will answer that we want to be remembered as a good person. Or a kind person. But while those things are beautiful and noble, they speak nothing to our individuality and our life purpose. Zoinks! Truly, anyone can be good or kind if they work at it.
AND... this isn't about our American idea of success. As in, what do you want to accomplish?
Instead, this is a question that acknowledges our life purpose... and then requires action. That REALLY made me think.
I'm a 3 in numerology, I'm 1,000,000% sure my spirit animal is a spider and having worked as a baker, a writer and a photographer, with hobbies all across the creative gambit, I'm okay with saying, "Yup, Mandi, you're life purpose is to create." But those things I mentioned are activities. What deeply resonates-- and what I've been told throughout life-- is leader, teacher and healer.
So based on this info, what legacy do I want to leave behind?
Not what will people say at my funeral. Not how much I've accomplished or my leftover belongings & earnings... But how will my little existence on the planet have effected the world?
I'm still thinking A LOT about this... but a few things I've thought about:
1) I want to teach people through my example that it's okay to lead an unconventional life. What is an unconventional life? To me, it's about following your intuition rather than a societal idea. It's following your heart and your gut when everyone tells you otherwise. I think more and more people are beginning to do this-- and there have been these people since the dawn of time... But I, for one, would really like to be kind of wild about the creation of my life and leave nothing on the table. One of the 'mad ones,' as they say.
2) I want to help heal the world by teaching people that we're all the same. To voraciously and endlessly, search for the humanity, even in the worst of us. To always look for a common ground. To always see others around the world as ourselves. That we're just a stone's throw away from being one and the same. Travel teaches this. Photography magnifies it. (*Photos of India below). At the end of the day, I really believe we all just want to laugh over dinner with our friends and family-- whether you're in an African tribe, sip tea at a Hungarian cafe or call Waynesville, North Carolina home!
3) I'd love to help teach empathy and compassion through the honesty of my mistakes. I think that's why I'm drawn to the Liz Gilberts/Cheryl Strayeds/Glennon Doyles of the world because they've been through the muck of shitty choices. Those 'mistakes' have taught them all such lifechanging empathy and authenticity, it's a life on fire in the making. It would require a fearless honesty that I'm not even sure I have, and y'all know I'm pretty open about what I'm going through. And yet, I'm sure I've got a couple doozies left.
4) I'd love to teach others to love themselves wholly and completely. But that a million percent starts with me. To be authentically and integrally me. To not be stuck in the mire of self doubt and unworthiness but to shine so brightly that others feel the warmth in themselves. To make the goofy video if I want to make the video. To sing the song if I want to sing it. To post the story, if I want to post it. Not everyone will be for us... But the people who get us and appreciate us, will truly be grateful to the moon and back for our existence in their lives. And vice versa!
So, here I am, hanging out at my funeral-- seeing who's crying the hardest (I kid), but I'd be grateful to cross over if any of this could be said about me. AND if this legacy was acknowledged and continued by my daughter in some way? In her way? COOOOOL. I'd die with comfort.
Now the hard part... The connection. You can't miraculously get from point A to point B. There has to be a plan of action.
Sooo... the REAL question I'm asking is: What am I doing in my life to create this legacy right now?
OHHHHHHH SHIRT. :)
Let's hear it again: What am I doing in my life to create the legacy I want to leave right now?
OY. I think I'm pretty willing to follow my heart. I'd live in a treehouse in Bali if given the keys. But as for the rest... How am I using my creativity to create this legacy? Where am I stepping into leadership? Where am I hiding? What am I healing within myself to live authentically? What kind of honesty is required of me to truly help others? How can I make my business and other endeavors about healing and service? Where am I being brave? In what circumstances is harder to see the commonality in our humanity? How can I change that? Who am I to my daughter? What does she see?
It's a lot! But I thought this was a fantastic exercise in designing our lives. I mean... after a year like 2020, why not, right? Why not go within while we can? Give yourself that gift, it's the holiday season! ;) But truly, I'd love to know what you find.... xoxo.