“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.“
~ Shannon Alder
How are you going to be remembered? What parts of your ancestors legacy do you carry forward? Why is it that creative contributions are cumulative?
You may have encountered something called ‘The Eisenhower Matrix’. It’s a simple four-quadrant chart that you can use as a way to organize your time.
Far more than just a productivity tool, you could look at it as a ‘mindset meter’ that you can easily use at any time to check that whatever activity you are up to at the moment is in alignment with your big-picture goals.
The idea is that virtually everything that you do during your waking hours is some combination of ‘urgent’ (or not) and ‘important’ (or not). The rows and columns overlap to show the four combinations that guide your decisions.
So if something is both urgent and important, the best approach is to just do it, get it done immediately and right away. There are always going to be things that are truly vital that only you can do and need to be done as soon as possible.
If the task is urgent, but not important, your ideal option is delegate it to someone else. You can spot these tasks easily because they usually appear over and over and with a little planning can be mapped out and assigned.
Urgent yet unimportant activities can gobble up a huge amount of your valuable time, it takes some discipline and a willingness to let go in order to trust a helper with these, but nowadays sites like Fiverr and Upwork make it easy.
Then you’ve got all of those lovely things that you love to do that are neither urgent OR important. In other words, distractions. Much as you love scrolling to the bottom of your social media stream, it’s not moving you towards your goals.
It might be a lot to ask of yourself to delete or eliminate this category of activities entirely. Everyone needs to relax and enjoy a few cat videos from time to time. But learning how to minimize and declutter these works in your favor.
Which brings us to the oh-so-crucial yet easiest-to-overlook category of activities — important, but NON-urgent. This is where your big dreams, audacious goals, the great work that is your soul’s calling resides. Your gift lives here.
The book you’re going to write ‘someday’. The song that never seems to get recorded. That slamming idea for a business that needs fleshing out. A movement modality unlike any other. The big scary things that trigger procrastination.
Why do we so often put off the things that we know in our hearts matter the most? Some folks fear failure. Others fear success. Either way, stepping into our true power is a leap into the unknown. It can be scary out there.
Like it or not, that’s where your legacy lives. The oh-so-important yet always-put-off-for-later items are the ones that you need to guard jealously, carve out time for, and build into your schedule like brushing your teeth.
There will always be emails to react to, phone calls to return, and customer service lines testing your patience. When you finally get down to business on your great work, the dog will barf, the kid will cry, the Wi-Fi will crash.
That’s why you need to make it a habit. Put it on your calendar, make an appointment with yourself, post yourself up at your favorite café, whatever it takes to get it done on a regular basis.
You can’t wait for the muse to come to you. You have to set the table, prepare the field, and be the invitation so that when the muse shows her elusive face, your ready, willing, and able with pen, paintbrush, or pixels in hand.
The muse that delivers your soul’s work to the world is shy. She will always back off when the urgent, the unimportant, or the deliciously-distracting crowds her out of the way. Is your muse a she? The pronoun is up to you, it’s your metaphor.
I once had the opportunity to experience the great motivational speaker Les Brown up close and personal. The adopted son of a caféteria worker, he rose up from poverty in Liberty City, Florida to become the luminary he is today.
He said “Imagine that you’re lying in your coffin at your own funeral. You’re looking up and seeing your friends and family gathered around. Hearing all of the pleasant memories they’re sharing and nice things they’re saying about you.”
“Looking a little closer you notice a circle of ghosts behind them. You realize that each one of them is a book you didn’t write, a painting you never started, a story you never told. These are the ghosts of your unrealized dreams.”
“And they’re all crying out, ‘Why didn’t you finish me? What stopped you from bringing me into the world? What’s your excuse for never letting me see the light of day? Because now your gone, and with you, my only chance’.”
Your soul is calling you to bring work into the world that is yours and yours alone. Your legacy lives in the important things you know you have inside that are oh-so-easy to put off. No one else is going to bring your gifts to life.
Life isn’t a search to ‘find yourself’ it’s about getting out of your own way and finding the time, the space, and the courage to do what your soul knows it’s here for in the first place. When you get right down to it, you’ve known all along.
We’re all standing on the shifting sands of history doing our best to keep our balance. In a time like this it’s great to find inspiration among the living legends who’ve paved the way and shown us what it means to live the dream.
When it comes to Conscious Dance, all roads intersect with Anna Halprin. Her legacy includes co-founding the Tamalpa Institute, home of the Life/Art Process, with her daughter Daria Halprin, both pioneers in the field of expressive arts therapy.
Next Monday, July 13th at 11am PDT, the Tamalpa Institute and the Planetary Dance Committee invite you to attend a Virtual Planetary Dance for Justice and Peace in honor of Anna’s 100th birthday. Add your tribute and learn more at www.dancesforanna.org/events
Few of us will still be dancing, teaching, and creating as we pass the century mark, if we get there at all. All the more reason to defend the important and non-urgent in your present moment like your life depends on it.
Your soul’s work, your heart’s dream, and your life’s legacy are all worth every ounce of effort you put into them. Give yourself permission to put your best work on the front burner on a regular basis and your future you will thank you.
With love and encouragement till next week!
Dance First Member Insight: Kumu Karyn Daniels & Sacred Dance Path
This week’s Dance First Member Insight is brought to you by Melissa Michaels, founder of Golden Bridge and SomaSource. Dance First members are sharing their insights and inspirations during this troubled time, as well as how they are coping. Plus links to live streams and online offerings for you.
This time out of time has brought some great challenges to our global Golden Bridge community. It has also provided us with a powerful opportunity to engage in collective revelation and unprecedented collaboration. Although our