Saturday, September 20, 2014

Your Legacy

Years ago while enroute to our cottage with friends; their vehicle suddenly began experiencing some trouble along the highway.  It just happened that we had stopped just past the cut off to my brothers home in Orillia.  My brother also just happened to be apprenticing as a mechanic at the time; so we called him to see if he could help.  He told us to have the tow truck (that was already on its way to us) drop the vehicle off at his shop and he'd take a look at it.

It turned out the issue wasn't a simple one to fix and parts needed to be ordered.  We discussed how we were going to proceed with our trip without missing out.  We only had a week to spend at the cottage and still had about 6-7 hours of travel time to get there.  Out of the blue my brother offered his girlfriends car for the duration of our trip.  He said he would see to it that the vehicle was ready to go by the time we were coming back through to head home.  Since he and his girlfriend had two vehicles he figured it would work for them to share a car for a week in exchange for us not having to change our plans or miss our vacation altogether.  I have no idea what kind of discussions went on during the week between he and his better half but I would imagine that the situation was worth it; my brother being kind hearted would have endured any amount of personal hardship for the sake of helping someone out.

We transferred our gear to the new ride and were on our way the next morning.

I was reminded of this story out of the blue the other day.  It's not uncommon for me to think of my brother.  I miss him very much.

The other night as I drove home from a meeting with a friend; she and I were recalling the generosity and kind heart of a friend who had passed earlier in the year.  She was telling me that she will never forget the kindness of this man and his family in making her and her family feel at home in the community.

The story of my brother and the words of my friend recalling the kindness of another brought into the forefront of my mind what it means to leave a legacy behind.

I used to think that what I 'did' for a living would be what people remembered of me once I was gone.  That somehow being a 'healer' or a 'life coach' was going to be the thing that set me apart in the world and would have people talking at my funeral.  What I have learned (it seems to me this would have been a 'no-brainer' however....) and what I have come to believe is that whether or not you are the best lawyer, teacher, mother, friend, security guard, store clerk or garbage man; the only thing that you will be remembered for is whether or not you were kind.

Just once.  To be kind just once means that you will be leaving behind a legacy.  That one person, that one time will be enough to get you through the pearly gates without incident.

My husband remembers the apple pies that his grandmother used to make for him when he would visit her.  He remembers these pies not only because they tasted good but because they were also baked with kindness in mind.

I remember stories of my father always helping people in moments of crisis.  He always seemed to be in the 'right place at the right time'.  He never hesitated.  I know he is remembered for his kindness.

Our legacy.  What we leave behind us is rooted in kindness.  We live on in the memories and minds of others through our kind gestures.  Whether they be random acts of kindness once in a while or whether we make kindness our religion; it will be enough to be remembered.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Follow The Bliss...


For a long time the sound of that word made me cringe.  The mere mention of it on the lips of a self help guru would launch me into a panic and what at the time seemed like a never ending need to jump into every situation with both feet without thinking; for the sake of finding MY 'bliss'.

No matter how much I jumped, it seemed that 'bliss' was completely out of my reach.

I think back to those years and know that all of the time, effort and creativity was not wasted (nothing ever is).  Instead I think of the invaluable gift of contrast that I received.  Going through the motions for things that gave me little to no satisfaction so that I would know beyond a shadow of a doubt what it was that truly would give me satisfaction and purpose (when I found it).

Through my journey I have learned that everyone's bliss looks different.  Each of our blissful states is as unique as our individual DNA.  That what is blissful for one may certainly not be for the other.  With social media being what it is; I believe it's highly likely that most of us at one time or another will look at another individual displaying their bliss filled lives for the entire world to see and wonder 'What is wrong with me?' or 'Why can't I be that happy'.

If you find yourself thinking those thoughts and you are anything like me you will immediately start a mental list of all of the things that are wrong with you.  Once the list is complete you start looking for ways to prove to the Universe that you are worthy of the same level of bliss that everyone else on the planet seems to be experiencing.

This routine becomes painful (that's putting it mildly).

Bliss is defined as 'perfect happiness; great joy'.  The trouble with this definition may be that our perception of what 'perfect happiness and great joy' is; is totally out of whack with reality.

We may have forgotten that perfect happiness and great joy comes from being present in the moment we are in.  As you sit on your deck, sipping coffee; instead of looking at your tattered deck boards and wondering how on earth you will be able to afford a new deck.  Allow yourself the pleasure of being present bringing your awareness to the feel of the breeze on your skin and the taste of coffee on your tongue.  This is bliss.

I know this is bliss because I've experienced it.  My life is far from perfect.  I stumble and fall and more importantly get back up again.  I am not perfectly happy (in that way that we perceive perfect happiness to be) in every moment.  Though when I hang my laundry; pick the weeds from my garden or marvel at the improvement a coat of paint makes on a wall I feel warm inside.  I feel blissful as though nothing in life could be better.

These moments that we are being summoned to acknowledge the gift of life; to find and follow our bliss.  They are the simple moments filled with simple things.  Helping a friend; preparing a healthy meal for your family and even standing up for yourself and taking time to nurture the precious gift that you are.  These are where you will find your bliss if you allow yourself to.

And I promise you that once you find your bliss you will want to follow it everywhere.