“When you get, give. When you learn, teach.” Maya Angelou.
How do you want to be remembered? What are the true highlights of your life you want people to remember?
At a meditation retreat, one of the exercises they gave us was to reflect on what we wanted our obituary to say. What kind of eulogy did we want a friend or family to convey about us?
A few things came to mind. Firstly, I imagined my funeral and what people might say about who I was. Secondly, I wondered about what no one will talk about. What? No one will mention how nice the last sweater I wore that day at the retreat looked on me!
Full confession: at first, a smirk smile accompanied my most banal and futile thoughts about my looks, achievements, how I perfected some of the yoga poses, etc. I must admit that I also momentarily flattered myself with my human vanity as I considered what I wanted people to notice about me.
When I got out of my own way, a few insights came up, and I felt my heart softening a little more.
Remember that at your funeral, no one will probably talk about:
- the number of hours you worked
- how much money you made each week
- your bank account
- your watch or jewelry collection
- the cars you owned
- the five top clothes brands you had in your wardrobe
- the hotels you have been
- the shoe collection you had
- the size of your house
- the job positions you had
- the business transactions you made
- how quickly you responded to texts
- how popular were you on social media
- the clubs you were a member
How do you want people to remember you?
- your loyalty and honesty as a friend and partner
- the effort and work you put into being a good person
- the compromises you made to be a good lover and companionship
- the adventures and beautiful memories you had and shared
- your open and generous heart
- your disposition to see the good in other people
- the intimate moments when you made someone feel truly loved
- how emotionally available you were when they needed you
- how they felt you gave them your full attention and presence
- your kindness and good manners
- how you walked with grace during difficult times
- your empathy, compassion, your thoughtfulness
- your openness to understanding and listening to different opinions
- how you had a dignifying sense of self-worth without pride
- how much you felt your body was a sacred gift
- how grateful you were to have people who loved you
- how you understood the difference between selfishness, self-serving and self-care
- your courage to love deeply
- how were you conscious of the balance between work and meaningful relationships
- your company rarely made someone feel alone or lonely
- how every loss you experienced made your heart more tender
- how every success you experienced made you more humble
- how were you aware of tiny moments of joy and beauty
- your courage to be vulnerable
- how reliable and trustworthy you were
- your wisdom to know when to ask for forgiveness
- your insight and readiness to forgive
Whatever we do in life remains resonating in the air, like music. Even when we are no longer remembered or known after one or two generations, our actions continue to linger in others like a string connecting all that is.