I told someone close to me that I felt my struggles were a daily decision consciously choosing between living or leaving a legacy. As this incredibly crappy week has progressed, I continue to go back to this.
Anyone can live. We are all doing so right this minute. Getting up. Getting dressed. Eating. That is living. And as we live, social media, the news, the internet conspiracists are all working on our conscious and subconscious minds to convince us to do that – keep living. There very message is to continue just living because everything around us is just too big, too entrenched, and too much for us to do much more than that.
Legacy? Isn’t that for blockbuster movies like Hercules? 300? Harry Potter? In those unrealistic worlds — in those unbelievable times –– characters had a small chance at doing more than living – they were legacy! We, in these times, have no chance at rising to the same provenance as Harry Potter. While it is true that the world is big and reality stars have a greater chance at being whispered about than those without cameras, these stories and legends of legacy are misguiding us: you and me.
We seem to think that legacy is built on epic times when one small person does one small act that forces them into a spotlight in which they refuse to back down from what they believe. Then legacy — legend — is created and butter beers are raised while people whisper or shout (depending upon the level of superstition), “Harry Potter!”
However, the very basis of earth based religion is counter to this delusion in every way. At Samhein, we do not raise our glasses to great glorious fighters of old. We raise them to our ancestors. We shout. We whisper their names. They are a litany of powerful words falling from our lips reviving the old and building legacy. Yet when we wake, we shift back to simply living and never consider whether or not at some Samhein our children, our students, our friends, our family — chosen or birth — will do the same for us.
Legacy says there are no small acts and every act ultimately is small.
A daily choice between living and legacy means that you do not see anything you do as just some small thing. It is THE small thing that just may change the course of history. It means that we have taken a view of life that simultaneously lives in the moment and stretches beyond to reach into the distant unknown. It means that we believe the power of our names in some distant future may give someone strength to do something different and that will change the world. It means we have viewed the war and understand that our Gods and Goddesses are worried with that massive undertaking and we simply have to win our own battles so the energy of winning, of goodness is thrown behind our generals – our deities and ancestors.
My first lesson as a witch was, “There are no coincidences.” As a new witch I eagerly latched on to my high priests words of wisdom and would only see this simple line of wisdom challenged in my life much later. Because the world would tell me, “Sometimes crap happens. There is no rhyme or reason.” Coming from a spiritual place where God was the great punish-er and great redeemer the idea that crap happens is appealing. At least God isn’t trying to smite us.
As above, so below. As within, so without.
As it is in the guts of all beings, so it is in this wider universe. If crap has happened to you, there is a reason. Sometimes that reason is simple – don’t eat that hot food because your system doesn’t like it. Sometimes those reasons are far reaching and beyond our simple sight, our ability to know in this lifetime.
Think now on the things that have had the greatest impact upon your life. Move beyond social media and the news, those big crap worthy events with greater publicity than all the other crap. Think about the words you repeat to yourself and others. Sure some great men and women have said things that you remember. However, think of all the people who have impacted you that are not considered great by the larger world, who lack a publicity machine behind them. Those people whose voice you can still recreate in your head – for good or ill. Think of the power they have to either completely annihilate or uplift you.
You have that power. You are that power.
As you brush about your life, the opportunity to create a chain reaction to the benefit of those you meet and those you will never meet is equal to the opportunity to damage the same. In each small moment your choice is living or legacy. Legacy reminds us that the same tools, beliefs and actions that create small ripples in our personal ponds can start a tsunami that may turn the tide of someone we barely know.
One word. One act. One reaction.
That is your power. The word you choose to use or not. The action you choose to take or not. The decision to wait that extra moment before reacting. This is where the power of every person on the planet lies. Think not of the great ones in history and myth seeing only the broader results of their lives. Look closer at the tiny moment, the moments that happened in every moment where they made a choice. Racism or not. Hate or not. Act or not. Love or not. Move or not. Speak or not. Watch or move.
Our heroes and heroines come to us on the tidal waves created by thousands of small moments making none of them insignificant. Great acts, events, and moments in history ride upon the back of millions of small acts, small moments of decision or no decision at all. That power is in you.
And as a parenting partner? That power is magnified by the number of children, direct or adopted, you have. The number of nieces and nephews and grandchildren you have acquired. They are the voices that will whisper your name at some Samhein in the future. What will they say? What will they be thinking? What will they remember of all those small moments? Will they remember a legacy or a life that was merely lived?