Have You Thought About Legacy?

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Over the last few months I have been engrossed in looking at my family lineage. I have never gone as far with it as I have recently. Oh, the amazing things I have discovered! I’m not going to bore you with my family background and details but what I want to do is spark your interest about “legacy”.

As it is with our own past, the idea is not to live in the places we discover or uncover, but to learn from them. One thing I really took to heart were the ways my ancestors pressed through the difficult issues that presented themselves in the days they were here. They were overcomers. Some died, and some had to be left behind to deal with the grief. I am all to familiar with that part. Drawing from that strength gave me more courage instead of sadness. I suppose it depends on how I would choose to look at things; from the negative or positive. I always try to pull from what is positive and bring that forward. It’s a challenge in this day and age let alone how it was in the past.

I learned that I am stronger than I thought I was. As I reviewed family struggles and the dynamics of the time they lived, I realized the importance of legacy. Genetically speaking I can see some of the traits and tendencies that many family members struggle with. Legacy is different. It is bringing forth the best parts of our ancestry and deciding to expand on the foundations built by our family lineages. Then we take those things and pass them down to those who will still be here after we are not.

I had to truly contemplate what legacy I want to leave my children and grandchildren. I definitely want to leave them strength for the journey but also a sense of being proud of where they come from and who I have been on this earth. I want my children, grandchildren and onward to know my passions, what has had meaning for me, and what my contribution has been to this time span in life.

Traditions go along with these things. Sometimes we think we have no traditions but that is not true. We have had them but often we forget them or become lazy with them. Maybe it is time to spark them up again? One thing I always do with my children is to write to them and  sign it, “I love you to heaven and back”. This came from when I used to tuck them into bed at night when they were smaller. I would always tell them that and then I began to ask them, “How much do I love you?” They would have to answer, “To heaven and back.” It might seem trivial but I know long after I am no longer here, they will hold that statement in heaven that lives in their hearts. When they think of me, they will always remember I am loving them from there. It portrays a love that lasts forever.

There are other things as well. I am still working on creating them. My main point is that legacy is important. It is our memory we leave behind for others to cherish as they live their lives. I know I want mine to be a good one. I bet you want that as well! What legacies are you planning to leave behind that are much more valuable than material things?

Loving you from here,

Dr Rev Jenine Marie Howry

Living in the Present Mindful Moment

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Quite a while back Dr Wayne Dyer came out with his book, “The Power of Now”. Dr. Dyer, (aka one of my favorite bald guys), is no longer with us, but his book lives on. The main idea is living every day in the moment that has presented itself. This does not mean to not plan for the future, it means to not project yourself into it. It does not mean not to look at the past, it means to only learn from it.

If anyone can master the power of living in the present moment, I kid you not, it is truly a gift. Living in the present moment takes away the temptation to project assumptions on people’s intentions or the outcomes of life. It takes away the stress of feeling like the future is hopeless. We are then given the opportunity to trust and allow life to unfold with ease instead of causing dis-ease.

Another benefit is more meaning to the life lived and the feeling that life is moving way too fast is slowed down. Life is more enjoyable this way. That is not to say bad things won’t happen. It means, no matter what happens we honor the present moment honestly and truthfully. It means there is no worry about outcome so we are serene and mindful about how we are going to act on what has been presented.

If the moment brings sadness, then we honor our experience by tears. God gave them to us for a reason. If the moment brings something precious, then it is even more precious because we have mindfully slowed down our processing and can enjoy it. One reason we focus on the breath during meditation is to stop our brains from racing out of control and giving honor to the power of just being alive. Have you ever tried to just close your eyes and concentrate on breathing for 5 minutes? If meditation is not your regular practice then you will find it is so hard to keep your mind from going every direction. It seems to race out of control with thoughts, ideas, and “stuff”. Suddenly those 5 minutes feel like a lifetime.

Remember the saying “A watched pot never boils?” It only feels that way because all concentration is on that one moment. It feels like it takes forever! Every moment lived mindfully in the present is just like that! It is like time is slowing down and things that are normally missed are now called to attention. Insights are sharper and intuition can come through easier. Appreciation for the beauty in life becomes a part of life. Living in every mindful moment is powerful because we discover what is normally missed or ignored.

When a woman is in labor, every painful contraction feels like it lasts an eternity. She is forced to be mindful and to live in that moment because labor pains are very hard to ignore! The result; the birth of a beautiful new baby boy or girl. That moment of joy is only highlighted by the mindful passing of the pain it took to get there. Life can be like that! Our joys are mindfully much more wonderful because honoring the painful parts make them so much more amazing.

Do you see how living in the present moment is a gift? In life there will always be shadows, but they only cause the light to look so much brighter! When we refuse to slow down and allow our minds and actions to race through life, we miss this! It does not mean we just sit and do nothing all of the time. It means our minds can be trained to live each moment like it is eternity while we are active or not. We pay attention to even the little things that normally are missed.

Take a moment to just close your eyes and let the breeze just feel good on your face. Pay attention to only the breeze and how good it feels. When thoughts start to race in your mind just let them go by bringing focus back on the breeze. In mindful meditation we focus only on the breath. Just think of it going in and then going out. When thoughts come we honor them, let them pass, and turn focus back on the breath. It’s hard at first but meditation in this way trains us to be able to slow our thoughts down and get more focus in life. Remember focus is important because we draw toward us what we focus on. In that moment there is a choice. Focus on the racing of your mind, or the beauty of the breath. Focus on the heat of the day or the relief of the gentle breeze. Focus on the painful parts of life or giving it honor and trusting for a solution.

It takes practice, but practice has its rewards. It’s almost like a miracle when a solution to a problem presents itself because we have taken the time to slow down and be mindful of the experience. Practice it daily and you will see how issues seem to almost solve themselves. When things are hard, be mindful that the lotus flower blossoms in deep thick mud. That’s how life will be for you. When the mud hits you, then you will have learned to only blossom!

Loving you from here, and mindful of that miracle,

Dr Rev Jenine Marie Howry