What’s Yoga Got To Do With It?

Here's my definition of legacy: "a conscious and meaningful contribution of your authentic gifts, talents and resources that adds value in a lasting way."

It’s not what comes to most people's minds, but think about it. Whether large or small, financial or not, isn't that what it comes down to? Okay, often it's not all that conscious since even people who don't think about it or design it directly, do create a legacy and are known and remembered for some contribution they’ve made … usually after the fact.

So, being conscious about it is a big shift that makes legacy more applicable to everyone – simply a part of daily life. If you were consciously making a contribution using your authentic gifts, talents and resources to add value to some part of the world, what would you be doing? It’s amazing how such unique expression can develop into significant, positive, lasting change. It just takes a little personal pioneering

Pioneering


One young pioneer pursuing this definition of legacy through her professional practice is Kristin Scheel. Like most young lawyers, Kristin started out in a pretty traditional fashion, earning her undergraduate degree in Economics from Texas A&M University and graduating at the top of her class from South Texas College of Law. She then racked up lots of experience as an associate in other law firms and work as in-house corporate commercial counsel.

What can happen from there is what I call the professional opportunity of a lifetime – the decision to hang out your own shingle and create your own professional practice. When that happens not only does the pioneer spirit kick in, but also an entrepreneurial one, which requires the development of business and other skills not taught in professional training.

For me, it was incorporating into my legal practice the notion of preventing legal problems. Many colleagues thought that was a crazy notion – why do something that would potentially limit the amount of work you could do for clients? But clients thought it was great – investing in legal services to put in place what you need to avoid big legal fees from major, but avoidable, problems. The pursuit gave me the opportunity to incorporate my values into professional practice, and to develop a profitable and sustainable business that continues though I’ve stepped away from active involvement.

In Kristin’s case, it’s about yoga. 

Kristin is a devoted yoga practitioner and teacher.  That doesn’t mean she gets clients on the mat doing various postures and breath work (though that might help in most situations)! What it means is that in her own professional practice, with its own philosophy and approaches to problems, she gets to incorporate her own brand of service.  And perhaps shift the way law is practiced and the way lawyers are perceived by the general public – a legacy feat in itself!

Integration

Kristin sees herself as an interdisciplinary collaborative practitioner providing services as both an attorney and mediator. Rather than compartmentalizing who she is from her work, she integrates it all: her experience as a corporate lawyer, litigation attorney, family law and divorce clinic volunteer,  yoga teacher, family member, seeker of knowledge and rich life experience, and nonprofit board member. She also brings significant training in communication as well as right-left brain balance and other philosophies from yoga to her work in addressing legal matters. 

She has built a private law firm in Houston, Texas designed to provide family law services, divorce and collaborative law mediation, as well as business law services and her vast experience in corporate law and commercial contracts for entrepreneurs and conscious business owners, and nonprofit organizations.  It is the goal of her professional practice to provide clients with ‘holistic legal services.’ It’s an expression of her own personally held core values to honor people and bring a peace-making approach to conflict resolution.

To that end, she brings a deep commitment to helping clients create solutions mindfully, creatively and with minimal court involvement, and with a focus on impacts to community – however that may be defined in a given situation. She has cultivated skills in deep listening, compassionate communication, responsiveness and creative option generation (things not taught in law school). Legal solutions then reflect clients’ needs and customized resolutions from exploration of a wealth of choices, and they align with the client’s life experiences and core values.  Her focus is to support their success and harmony not just in the immediate concern, but in the long run, allowing legal strategies to develop from a place of strength, alignment and responsiveness.

The result? She finds that approaching legal services in this way can save time and money, as well as priceless emotional stress.

A Foot In Both Worlds

Kristin maintains her mainstream involvements as a member of the Texas and Houston Bar associations. She’s also eagerly involved with organizations supporting the delivery of services in alternative ways, including the Collaborative Law Bar Association and Cutting Edge Law. To further support the expansion of approaches available to lawyers in practice, Kristin is also the founder of  the Houston Holistic Lawyers for Transformation.

So what’s yoga got to do with it?  In Kristin’s case, it’s got everything to do with it. It forms a foundational purpose for how to approach people and the world.  It defines who she is in all contexts of her life and work – and what she believes is possible in the way she serves and literally creates the world around her. These things provide a framework for decisions and actions – how she helps people find solutions to their challenges and how she builds her business.

It’s About Courage

It takes courage to be yourself – and be your best self – and then build your work around it.  But that work can change the world … and in this case enhance or change the direction of an entire profession. It’s legacy, consciously created at the level of daily work.

Are you ready to step out and be more of who you are, incorporate that into your business and attract the people who resonate with that and are looking for someone like you to work with? I’d love to explore what that would be like for you.  Join me for a complimentary breakthrough consultation – get on the schedule here and let’s see what develops!

Your Legacy = Choosing To Act On What Matters To You

There are a beautiful poem and web movie that capture the essence of what Creating Legacy is all about. I've reprinted it below, with all attribution and gratitude to its author Michael Josephson. The poem and movie themselves are examples of what I would call "participation only" legacy projects – tangible, beneficial and lasting – though very simple and simply executed.

Those legacy projects support the bigger one – representing Josephson's other legacy project. The Josephson Institute is devoted to teaching ethics, a subject near and dear to my heart, too.  It is a project of the combination "participation + financial" variety.  It is organized as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization so it can offer a tax deduction to people who contribute in-cash or in-kind to its mission. And it has developed products in keeping with its mission that generate revenue, as well. A stunning example of legacy development and delivery from the very grass roots to organizational level execution!

What Will Matter©
By author: Michael Josephson
Link to the movie version: http://josephsoninstitute.org/movie_whatwillmatter.html (watch it – it's beautiful!)

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear.
So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice
that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident.
It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.
 

©2011 Josephson Institute. Reprinted with permission. www.JosephsonInstitute.org

Dealing With Your Own Dry Spells

Red Rock CanyonLegacy Journal readers, like our clients, tend to be accomplished and successful, mid-career business owners and professionals looking beyond their current work to building “what’s next.” Not for retirement, that is mostly a foreign word and applies perhaps to finances but not to life and work in the world. While financial independence – minding your business – is definitely a part of what’s next, continuing to be productive – minding your profession – is as well. Some need to get businesses or professional practices set up in a way that frees them to focus on what’s next, and some have already done that or are in the process. Others feel stuck or lost, or just can’t see what’s next after being so immersed for so long in what has made them successful to begin with.

They can see milestones – like, my kids will all be in college or out on their own in the next few years, or my investments have reached a point where I can draw some of my income from interest, dividends, lease payments and the like, and not rely on earned income alone.  But they can’t see “what’s next.”  And considering stepping away from a business or professional identity they’ve long held can be a bit immobilizing – “who will I be then?”  

Does that resonate with you?  

I’ve been there; asked similar questions. And ultimately what I learned is that “who you will be then” is all you’ve ever been (you bring it all along with you) … plus. You get to use the best parts of it all in new endeavors about which you’re really passionate.  But getting there is a process, and sometimes that process starts with simply feeling lost.

So, here are some ways to address feeling lost, confused or like you’re dealing with a real creative or productive personal “dry spell” that you don’t seem to be able to see your way out of:

1.    Accept Your Current Situation. First, maybe foremost, is to accept that’s the way things are … for now.  Having the awareness of your situation, and then fully accepting it, are the only “ways through” to do something about it.  Denial or pretending things are fine don’t even get your started – the nagging feeling that you know the truth, that you’re ready for things to change – can start to eat away at you.

Doubt is part of the process. So, go ahead and just say so: “Whether things are just fine, or not, I’m ready for a change even if I don’t know what it is yet and I’m not sure if I’m capable.” There. How does that feel? Lightning didn’t strike. Like everything else, this too shall pass.

2.    Let go.  Start by dropping or at least temporarily letting go of the things you can’t control. Tune out the mainstream media, for sure, at least for awhile.  Let go of your current expectations – for yourself, others, or the direction the world is going (or not going).

There is an old saying that ‘expectations are pre-meditated resentments.’ Meditating on them, that is, holding them in your thoughts, takes energy. When that energy is of the negative form (a resentment) you are really turning your capacity away from what you could be doing something about – what you can control, like you and your life, and the consequences of your actions. 

Clean UpMaybe there are some things you need to clean up and get complete with. Maybe there are some things you want to do for you – like take the time to work out, read, write or learn something new. These are things you can do now, and finding the time is just about letting go of things that are not yours to do.  

This is not about abandoning responsibilities, though you may have to get yourself out of a few you’ve already agreed to and are ready to let go of.  It’s also not about being self-ish; it’s about being self-directed rather than other-directed.  Only from there, can you begin to engage in things that truly excite you. Remember, whatever they are they will benefit someone else in some way, too – so you can still be responsible to others.  But benefitting others without also benefitting yourself is choosing to play win/lose, and agreeing in advance to be the loser.

3.     Re-charge yourself. Recognize the ebb and flow of nature.  Like waves and tides, our creative and productive energies sometimes wax and wane. We can’t be at our peak all the time. To be our most effective, we may need to challenge ourselves with big meaningful goals. But that doesn’t mean we have to pursue them 24/7/365.  In fact, we can’t.  There needs to be a balance of self-care time for rest, relaxation, rejuvenation, fun, laughter, and enjoyment.  So when you don’t know what else to do, choose something that fits in one of those self-care categories and re-charge yourself.

4.    Focus on your spiritual nature.  When you’re ready to take some action, but are still not sure what’s next, focus on the spirit that moves you, whatever form that takes. Connect with what is meaningful for you. Visit environments you find soothing and inspiring, where you can breathe deeply and fully.  Engage in prayer and meditation. Spend some time simply engaged in the wonder of it all. (Here’s a poem by Mary Oliver to help you remember this). Ask for help from the powers greater than yourself you most resonate and connect with, by whatever name you call them. See what comes up for you when you do, and what shows up serendipitously in your world as a result of your requests. Keep track of this information in an idea journal.   

5.    Create rituals that comfort you.  Often when you are in that “space in between” – where you know you don’t want to stay where you are but have yet to devise a plan for where you are going next - it is most helpful to just relax, take one day at a time, and do things that you know are good for you and that you’ll feel good about. 

MusicDevelop and engage in pleasing routines you may not otherwise because it seems too indulgent. (Be a little indulgent!) Listen to soothing music and just relax and breathe and “just be” for a bit, without doing anything.  Fill the open space that appears in your mind with gratitude for all the good in your life. Create a new exercise routine, and stay with it. Walk in a beautiful park on a regular basis at a similar time each day and learn what nature has to teach. Visit a labyrinth and engage in a moving meditation – or participate with a group in a gentle yoga class. Now’s the time to be gentle with the current you, while the “new you” is forming and getting ready to emerge.

6.    Muster some courage. It may only take a tiny bit to begin considering what’s next. The English word courage derives from Old French, based on the Latin root “Cor” meaning heart.  So focus on your heart, and what you deeply need to feed you. Then consider what having courage really means.  It has three parts – one of which we’ve already addressed: doubt + commitment + action. That is, courage is to make a commitment to act even in the face of your doubt. The actions you choose can be small steps, and they will likely be at least a little uncomfortable – though they should be bearable. Getting out of your comfort zone is what making a change entails. Turn doubt into wonder or curiosity or exploration and just take one step.

7.    Interact with your communities. Get together with people you know care about you, who are nurturing, will listen and will help re-charge your batteries (not the ones who drain you!) These are supportive people who will lovingly tell you the truth, rather than just what they think you want to hear.  Engage with bigger groups who are doing something important in the world that you support.  Notice who you’re drawn to and what their qualities are.  What might you emulate? Where do you feel yourself wanting to be engaged?

When all else fails, just do something completely different. This doesn’t have to be a big change. Just engage in some things you’ve never done before – for an hour, an afternoon, a day, weekend or even longer. Go somewhere new. Stretch yourself. Immerse yourself in something you’ve wondered about. Take a friend so you can compare notes (and so you’ll actually do it).  
       
Or you could hire a coach (especially recommended!) who can help you explore your deepest desires and interests, shed what is no longer yours to focus on, design what’s next based on your gifts, talents and resources – and then begin actually doing something about them.  Finding that sense of authenticity and personal integrity, and then demonstrating it in the world feels great and can lead to amazing things you feel truly proud of. That will allow you to feel more like the “you” you are ready to become.  

The first part of the “7 Steps to Creating Your Legacy” program is built around these notions of defining, discovering and designing, and we utilize them in working with private clients one on one as well.  From there, we help you get into action on building what’s next when the gentle rains begin to fall and nurture the growth of both you and something that deeply interests you.  

I’d love to join you in that journey!
Cheers, Dolly

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Legacy of Words

Today, June 14, is Flag Day – and ironically it also is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

I love the story of her life and the legacy of words she wrote in a small novel that became a worldwide phenomenon. Not something a woman living in the early 1800′s might ever expect.  But then it’s not something many people living in this day and age expect they’re capable of either.  (And yes, you are!)

That book was “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”  It was not the first or the only book she wrote. But writing, and getting clear on the message that was important to her to impart, was the means to creating her legacy. She may be remembered as the woman President Abraham Lincoln called “the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war” which of course could never be true, and it might have been some notoriety at the time.  It was the work itself, however, that became her lasting legacy.  For a fascinating conversation about the book, her life and all that history, catch the podcast of Diane Rehm’s inteview with David Reynolds who has now written a book all about it called “Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America” (W.W. Norton & Company, 2011). At that link, you can also read an except from his book.

What I love about Harriet’s legacy though, is how it provides an example of what can happen when someone decides to take a small action on something they are passionate about.  Harriet was one of 10 children raised by her father and step-mother, since her own mother died when she was five.  The family held social reform as a high concern and after her move from Connecticut to Cincinnati, Ohio, Harriet became passionate about the plight of the African-American slaves in the south.  She knew of them from their family members who worked for the family.  The split in views about the treatment of these people – who were still being treated like property – between northerners and southerners, became a story line that told of truths not many people wanted to speak about.

Harriet is described as a small and dreamy woman – nothing like a media powerhouse or celebrity of today. From her deepest convictions, however, she told a story that captured hearts and minds, and now people are even writing about her history.

Do you have a story filled with powerful observations or simply a good idea to share with the world? Do you need support to make it happen? 

Like Harriet’s story, yours may just well make history – or at least a positive difference in the lives of other people – which is history enough.  There are many ways to bring that story to the world – books, workshops, tangible goods, programs or services, and many other forms. It would be great to see your legacy come to life in a similar way. 

If you’re ready to start, it’s something we can help you develop.  It would be a joy to help nuture your project into fruition!

Cheers, Dolly

Mark Zuckerberg’s Legacy

If you don’t know the name Mark Zuckerberg, you’ve likely been living under a rock – either do not participate in much, if any, internet based activity … or possibly don’t go to the movies; since in addition to being founder and CEO of the online empire known as Facebook, he’s already had a movie made about his life and that phenomenon.  And he’s only 27 years old.

Yet he’s a true pioneer and visionary, whose legacy is already unfolding even if he doesn’t fully realize it.

Zuckerberg was one of a handful of internet and online media gurus who presented at the first “e-G8” meeting in Paris – a two day summit that started on May 24, 2011.  This gathering of e-leaders was kicked off by French President Nicolas Sarkozy (a project that is now one of his own legacies, especially as it carries forward and morphs into whatever form of dialogue that industry and world leaders will need for the future of communications and community building).  The intent of the conference was to provide the digital world’s input for the more recognized Group of 8 (aka “G8”) Summit taking place starting May 26, 2011.  (The G7 began in 1976 as meetings by the heads of the world’s richest, industrialized countries – France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada – adding Russia in 1997 to form the G8).

The G8 meetings have not been without controversy  – and true to form the e-G8 will add to that with its discussions about enacting rules to ‘govern’ the internet (protection of children, addressing theft of copyrighted material through illegal downloads, and dealing with spam) while protecting communication freedoms and possibilities for creative expression, even economic growth and even pursuit of democracy – as events in Egypt and other middle eastern countries has demonstrated lately.

Presenters at the e-G8 cautioned against regulation of new technologies that can spawn innovation and a shift of power back to the people – to individuals.  Indeed, this echoed the U.N.’s independent expert on freedom of speech, who just recently stated that governments which curtail users’ access to the Internet are violating a basic human right – regardless of the justification. 

At his presentation during e-G8, one of the questions Zuckerberg was asked was one that seems to come up more frequently these days – as matters of truly cooperating and making contributions that can change the world for the better seem to be discussed more often.  He was asked about “what he thought his legacy would be.”  His response was characterized as being caught off guard by the question, when he reminded people of his age, laughing and saying “It’s a little early … give me a break.”

But really, is it ever too early to consider? Especially when it’s a matter of creating something and not of disposing of the residual aspects of life - when it’s about being active rather than passive? I’m glad to see people of all ages considering the question at all. And I’m thrilled that it is happening more frequently.  My view is the sooner the better, and that younger people often seem to get the concept of legacy even better than their elders. In truth, Zuckerman has already created a huge legacy and, not yet thirty years old, is poised to develop many others – so long as he has what I like to call the “consciousness for joyful contribution.”

Legacy is about who you are and what you choose to do in the world that has the possibility of leaving a positive, lasting impact to benefit others – the people, places and things you care about and are most interested in.  Finding your own path and purpose(s) in life, and then living into that authentically and with passion are what allow for such expressions of true significance. That approach creates ultimate win-win experiences that feel terrific. Legacy is not simply about leaving stuff behind when you die, or something to think about at the end of life.

I for one am glad to see the question being considered more often, by more people. The whole point of the work I’m doing now, is to help people not only consider the issue of their personal legacy, but to help them both live and build it in a way that is ultimately one of the most satisfying ways to approach life … starting from wherever they are.  Especially successful women, who have the abilities and wherewithal to make bigger impacts than ever, but may lack the guidance or support to pursue their greatest work. It’s not about how old, or how rich, it’s just about making a decision to give forward and add value, and then taking the steps to doing something about it.  (That’s what the 7 Steps to Creating Your Legacy program is all about … see our self-directed slide show here).

So go for it, Mark Zuckerberg – take the time to think about what you want your legacy ultimately to be, recognize the contributions you’ve already made, and get really jazzed about what more you can do. 

That goes for all the rest of you, too.  Be great – you are!!

Cheers, Dolly

Are We Entering An Era of Caring?

I sure hope so.

This morning on the other side of the world, once again, the Ring of Fire snapped many people out of their alpha state thinking mode of going through their everyday motions, with big news.  The earth errupted 80 miles off the coast of Sendai in northeast Japan with an 8.9 earthquake was followed by aftershocks measuring 7.1, 6.5, and 6.4 in magnitude.  The tremor was felt in Tokyo, and generated tsunami waves up to 3 miles inland on the island of Japan.  Three miles.  Imagine that distance from where you sit right now (and then imagine the wave itself …)  The quake prompted tsunami warnings for much of the Pacific Rim, which in our part of the world includes Hawaii and the west coast of the U.S. and Canada, where evacuations resulted.

A Bloomberg television reporter covering the story said the wave that washed up on shore “was mixed with mud, with ships and cars smashing toward wooden houses, dragging those into rice fields, and basically bashing them into pieces.”  The quake was not as destructive as the 9.3-magnitude earthquake that shook Indonesia – the second-largest in recorded history in December of 2004, the tsunami from which killed more than 300,000 people in over a dozen countries – but you get the picture.

In the world of cause and effect, I don’t believe the Earth is trying to send a message of unification – we’re all in this together, as Marshall McLuhan has said “There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We’re all crew.”

But I sure hope that is the result.

Modern technology has created an amazing transparency that gives us the opportunity to really experience the truth of that perspective  - toppling dictatorships in the Middle East and disasters thousands of miles away that can and do reach our shores, not just the one’s that happen on (New Orleans and Katrina) or near (Haiti) them - do affect us all in one way or another.

That technology allows us to see and learn about things that were once only in the hands of a privileged few, who we trusted to govern things until we learned that their control was more selfish and greedy than caring. It allows us to see – and experience – that we are not so far removed from the struggles of other humans who happen to speak different languages, wear different clothes and have different customs. And it allows us to take different actions to address these things.  As a nurse, I’d like to think that caring could be a really good underlying operating principle for humanity in taking those actions.

We all want the same basic things: to love and be loved, to be safe, to care for our families and friends, to be productive and feel accomplished, to be nourished and rest, and have our daily needs for healthy living addressed. Beyond that we want some time to share ourselves with others and pursue happiness through enjoyable activities and learning (which least often results from conspicuous consumption - just one of many forms of ineffective attempts to address whatever dis-ease might be troubling us).  There are plenty of those basics to go around, if only we care for one another and share ourselves.

Maybe disasters are a way of showing us that there are things to be afraid of, but that doesn’t include other human beings.  I don’t wish for more such challenges to pull us together.  I just wish that the lesson of ‘caring for others as we care for ourselves’ will take firm hold in the minds and hearts of everyone, and become a basic value and tenet of daily living.  I pray that with each such natural disaster (as there seem to be more and more of them) we really “get” this important lesson that results from our living planet’s communications.

Blessings to you all.
Dolly

What Will The Monday Morning Armchair Quarterbacks Say About You?

Another trademarked big football game (I understand I’m not to use its actual “super” name without permission) has come and gone.  Don’t know much about that, but this new decade, starting with the turn to 2011, started off with a bang for me.  After a great year in 2010, a quiet holiday season and New Year celebration, with some planning for where we would take Creating Legacy going forward, things got right out of hand. Okay, well save for having someone run a stop sign and T-bone the passenger side of my car just before the holidays.  (Did you know it’s gunpowder that makes air bags go off – and before you know it, too? Saltpeter, the critical oxidizing component of gunpowder has a very distinctive smell and covers everything inside the car, including you … but that’s another story.)

Not in any particular order, because the order somewhat evades me now, just after the new year I got food poisoning and was out of commission with fluid and electrolyte imbalance (I won’t go into detail) for the better part of a week.  Brain cells, among others, don’t work all that well without the right balance of fluids and salts available in the watery soup that makes up close to 70% of our physical bodies.

Just as I was coming back from that, I experienced the unexpected earthly departures of two friends and incredible members of one of my home communities. As with everyone, they both left incredible legacies – with varying degrees of financial structure and personal involvement – which were recounted by folks attending their memorial services.

My first experience of death was of a best friend in grade school.  I bring this up not to tie legacy to that subject, as many people do, but to reiterate that everyone has a legacy.  Even she did, departing at such an early age.  Some of the spark of how she defined herself and lived her life – which I got to experience and benefit from – lives on with me even today. 

One of my two community friends, while an amazing artist who produced a great number of beautiful paintings, also left the same sort of legacy – a memory of the day to day experience of her presence and its solidly supportive countenance, something she was constant about giving no matter where she was involved.  No doubt that is what each owner of one of her paintings will remember most, even if later only the beauty of the artwork carries on.  Both are significant contributions.

My other friend and colleague, who made a great deal of money during career had already established a trust to return some of those funds to cared about causes in an ongoing fashion.  In a new period of financial independence, he was working at other important projects without regard to whether they produced any income.  And making an incredible difference with both efforts, absolutely loving his life.

Both left too soon, and fortunately, quite deliberately left significant marks that will carry on.

It is the choice to consciously build such a legacy, born of experience, career, and success (financial and otherwise), contributed actively during the prime of one’s life, that fascinates me.  Particularly because I know, no matter whom you are or what your resources are, that everyone has the capacity to make a much bigger impact than they probably think they can. 

People notice and will talk about it after you’re gone, but will it be what you really want them to say about what you were passionate about and how you got involved?  For how many generations will that acknowledgment continue – will your grand- or great- or great-great-grandchildren (if you have progeny) know you and what you contributed? Will the communities you’ve impacted know what it is you want them to know about your choice to impact what was important to you – and for how many generations from now?

Yesterday would have been President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday. Yes, as an American President (a legacy building effort in itself) he was known worldwide, so we expect that people will talk about his political legacy on such occasions. It will be done, as usual, in that Monday morning armchair quarterbacking way, where different views will be aired.  A perfect example is a recent Miami Herald article which focused on a three way debate over his legacy on war, taxes and government.

But again, you don’t need to have been a sitting president with a large library of work to leave a legacy. Anyone can do their work and live their life with a sense of personal meaning, and consciously create activities that not only demonstrate what they care about, but from which they actually build something tangible – from an artifact to a charitable foundation, and many other forms in between.  It can, and will be something unique to them, the only real questions are whether they – you – will define it and participate in it, and how long-lasting the impact of that effort will be.

With the right mindset, information and actions, it’s quite possible for your personal legacy to be something you clearly define, concerning something you care about from the depths of your heart and soul, that brings you a great deal of joy and satisfaction to create, and that benefits many, many people for a very long time. 

You have that power.  How will you use it?

I’m excited about our comprehensive legacy planning program The 7 Steps To Creating Your Legacy that we’ll be rolling out in new forms in 2011.  It’s part of my legacy – and the mutual goal Eliza and I have set to help others create 100,000 legacies. It’s a big goal, so I’d better get back to work.  Please do be in contact if we can help you, or your clients, understand the full picture of what’s possible, and the steps to creating a legacy blueprint to make it happen.

Cheers, Dolly

The Thanksgiving Gravy Recipe You’ll Need For Sure

If you’re a turkey eater, that is … I definitely am, though highly susceptible to the effect of tryptophan. Some debate its impact, but being sensitive to chemicals I know it has a significant relaxation and sleep promoting effect on me.  (I’ve even started eating a bit of turkey before bed … and it works better than anything else I’ve tried as a sleep aid!)

But this is about Thanksgiving, and a reminder about how to make delicious gravy to go with that turkey … yet I must digress for just a moment more to say:

This is my favorite holiday of them all!  It’s a time to gather with family and friends, have a shared feast and and opportunity to focus on all the things in life there are be grateful for.  For some, it’s football … but for me it’s knowing that whatever troubles may be bothering us, that practice of gratitude can always overcome them – and is available every day of the year, reminding us that in this moment all is well.  So at the end of November here in the U.S. we set aside a day to remember and engage in this important practice.  Happy Thanksgiving!! 

As I’m practicing gratitude and noticing all the blessings in my life, I find the need to dig out the instructions so I can remember how to make a good pan gravy to go with turkey and mashed potatoes and all the other yummy dishes to be shared with dear family and friends.  So here you go:

First, I like to roast the turkey outside on our Weber kettle charcoal grill.  Saves room in the oven and makes a roast that is crisp on the outside and incredibly moist on the inside.  It’s REALLY easy, if you’ve never done it.  If you have a Weber kettle, here’s a link that will get you started.  However you cook your turkey, though, remember to save the drippings in the roasting pan!

For the gravy:

  • Staring with the drippings, and either in the pan itself (across two burners on your stovetop) or in a separate pot.  Skim off any visible fat with a spoon, then bring these juices to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. 
  • Using the cooled stock you made earlier in the day from the giblets, or pre-made broth (you’ll need about 3 cups), add a small amount of this liquid at a time to ½ cup of flour, stirring to make a smooth paste with a pudding-like consistency. 
  • Add the rest of the stock to the drippings in the pan, and then whisk in the flour mixture – again, a little at a time to avoid lumps. 
  • Bring this back to a simmer and cook, stirring until the gravy is well-blended, thickens and loses its floury taste.  Lower the heat if need be so the gravy doesn’t scorch or burn at the bottom of the pan. 
  • Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, and maybe just a smidgen more of ground sage.  Then keep warm for serving. 

Then enjoy – the feast, the company, and all you have to be grateful for in your life!
Oh, and please pass the gravy …

Cheers to all y’all!
Dolly

‘Tis The Season – Eat Well!

Eating healthy can also be a yummy way to take good care of yourself.  We know that’s a prerequisite to having the positive life energy needed to make the world a better place!

That’s all important, because you have big important work to do in the world.  So you might as well eat nutritionally healthy food with properties that are good for you.  Spicing it up can be a great way to do that and enjoy it, too!

We recently came across a great recipe for Ginger and Cinnamon-Spiced Pumpkin Muffins – a great way to make use of a wonderful fall fruit, the pumpkin (yes, it’s actually a fruit since it has internal seeds).  It’s from the site of women’s holistic health and nutritional counselor, Irina Wardas, HHC.  Her adapted recipe is full of nutrients like beta-carotene, cinnamon and ginger which are well-known anti-inflammatory spices, and vitamin C from orange zest – all of which might even help reduce inflammation and relieve related pain. 

Grab the recipe and make some for yourself, your family and your friends - it’ll make your house smell great, too, so we have to add credit for some great aromatherapy.  You’ll find some other great and healthy recipes on Irina’s site, too.

And oh, enjoy the fruits of the season!!

Power to the People! Power to Mamisma, Right On!

Mamisma. What a great word. 

It was coined by publisher Harriet Rubin, author of The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women and Soloing: Realizing Your Life’s Ambition, and can best be described as the energy a mother bear has when she senses her cubs are in danger – and action taken not out of vengeance but out of the urge to provide for and protect future generations.  According to Rubin, it is “femininity defined by mature and maternal qualities.”

Those maternal qualities need not mean bearing and raising children, or even being a woman for that matter.  They are generative and creative.  Women, and anyone else possessing this feminine strength, can continue to exercise this sort of power long after child-bearing years are over.  Those qualities can be utilized and developed throughout the lifespan.

Mamisma is not about ‘machisma,’ the feminine version of machismo.  It is not about having dominion over others – but using one’s heart and smarts to make things better in a sustainable, healthy, happy way.  Power is, after all, the “ability to do” and the more one can get done, now and for future generations, the more power-full.

To me, mamisma is about the strength to protect and restore, to make beautiful, and to be strong and confident in bringing more good to the world. It is about taking care of oneself as well as others. Beyond putting on your own oxygen mask first, it is about getting what you want and need so as not to feel one iota deprived or resentful in then assisting, promoting or supporting others. It is about being willing to win and let others win, too – and finding resolutions that allow for both, rather than compromising.

It is a word to describe feminine power wielded by either gender, but it is especially important to women.  Our ‘power-struggle’ – at least in the U.S.A. – has been going on since the 1960′s; though truly it has been going on seemingly for centuries.

Gloria Feldt argues that it is time that women embrace their power - so we move beyond “justify[ing] our lack of progress by pointing outward,” rather than taking responsibility to move things courageously forward; and so we can really get to a point where women lead both themselves and others with intention toward fulfilment of human potential for now and future generations.

When we as women can fully embrace the type of power with which we are naturally endowed, and its importance, the sooner we can shift the world in more nurturing, growing, developing, just and innovative ways. 

The world needs more of that.  How can we support you in your exercise of that power?

Cheers, Dolly