In each interaction I have with somebody, I leave a part of me with them. Whether I’m relating to my partner, the cashier at the coffee shop, or you reading this right now…I leave a part of me behind everywhere I go. And when I’m in my flow and not in my egoic, grasping place, I know that these interactions are really my only legacy, and that even the most seemingly insignificant transactions are important and can be life changing for me and for the other person if I am 100% present in the moment.
We all leave this kind of legacy. We don’t need to die to be remembered for the way that we were. We are being remembered all the time. Our legacies are being built right now…and the cool thing is that we can change and add to our legacies anytime we want because that’s the perk of being alive. Once our physical manifestation ceases, that’s the period at the end of the sentence…but while we’re still here, we get to edit and revise and choose different words and sculpt the language to be as beautiful as we can make it…and sometimes, we even get to see the impact that our “writing” has had on others.
But we can’t get there if we are operating out of fear. Fear yanks us out of the present and puts us in the future. Because what is fear besides a concern about something that hasn’t happened yet? We cannot be in our state of flow in the here and now if we spend our time projecting ourselves forward and worrying about events that, literally, do not exist. Yet, we do it all the time.
Worst of all, our legacy then becomes our fear because that’s what we’re projecting into the world. That’s not what we want, is it? I don’t want anyone to feel that I made them more fearful through my own concerns about the future, and I don’t want anyone projecting their fears on me.
When I was in Mexico last April, I got really sick. Like, couldn’t leave my hotel room and had to extend my stay by three days kind of sick. It was a gnarly case of food poisoning. I left a message on facebook to let everyone know that I was not going to be back when they expected and what I got back was a wave of people projecting their fears on my already difficult situation. One person said that they hoped I didn’t have hepatitis, another offered that I should get checked for parasites, and yet another told me that she had been to Puerto Vallarta in the 90s and hadn’t been the same, intestinally, since. Now, I know they didn’t mean to dump their fears on me. They were probably coming from a place of genuine concern that was based on their personal experiences, but do you think I slept better that night thinking about all the things my sickness could be?
I did not.
So, in order to avoid doing the same to others, I have to be really clear about my intentions during my interactions. If I am in a place of fear, I have to be careful not to let that spill over into my relationships if I can…because if you believe everything you do produces a result, which I do, you have to think about what results you want to see in the world and take responsibility for creating them.
Instead of fear, I want people to remember how good they felt when I was around, or how I chose my words carefully and said the right thing to them at the right time, or even just that they enjoyed serving me coffee because I told a good joke and left a good tip…and the beautiful thing is, I’m in control of all that…or, at least, I’m in control of my side of it. I don’t get to control people’s reactions to me and they won’t all be positive, but I can do my part and hope for the best. My only job is showing up with the gift of fearless relationship, they can accept it or not.
Of course, in order to give that gift, I have to remember that I am not my fears (or even my thoughts). I am not my stories from the past and I am not my concerns about the future. Rather, I am a space that contains all possibilities. That space can be filled with love, and generosity, and empathy and it can, just as easily, be filled with ego, and fear, and greed, and resentment. Most of us, rather than raising our awareness and making a choice as to what we fill our spaces with, allow them be filled with whatever fictions are fed to us by our thoughts and by outside influences like our parents, our friends, and the media instead.
But this can stop with me and with you. We simply have to know when we have dropped down into our fearful place and then pivot to a different choice. We need to identify and disconnect from the things that needlessly perpetuate our fears so we can stand in our power and pay attention to what really matters, which is the legacy we are building with every interaction we have. We can build that legacy on the small and fearful part of ego selves, or on the infinite, loving beings that we actually are.
This, I think, is the only choice that matters.