May 24, 2015

Legacy Building – What do you Most Remember about the Characters in Your Childhood?

I have been thinking a lot lately about our legacies – the historical past that has shaped our life narratives. It takes a bit of pause and reflection to look back on your past and SEE the puzzle pieces of the narrative that lives within. So much of our experiences directly affect how we engage (or disengage) and interact with our world; how we internalize new input; how we assimilate new information; how we cope; how we feel; how we LOVE.

I have always known I’ve had a past. Mostly filled with love. Some bumps and hurts and growing pains along the way but mostly a positive bringing up. It wasn’t until I began to look at the characters within my story that many of my story-lines, and common threads and themes began to make sense. 
I recently read an article in the NY-Times by Sarah Williamson in reference to children’s real-life, story-narratives and how important they are for building and maintaining self esteem; cultivating a rich understanding of a child’s family; providing a sense of belonging to a child within the bigger life picture; creating a sense of community; and installing a sense of BELONGING. ( )
As I’m reading this article and pondering my Life Story,  I’m wonder about the current narratives of my own little authors- who are building their life stories every day. Stories in which I am merely (and most wonderfully) a character. How freeing and exhaling is that? I cannot completely control the tale they are creating but I am certainly an influential character in each of their stories… And I wonder what my character will be. Control freak? Loving nurturer? Friend? Disciplinarian? Supporter? Advocate? Good cop? Bad cop? These are all ways in which I can play a role in my children’s story but there are so so many. And to know I am many roles (and to know I can work to change my roles) is an empowering discovery. 

But what will they remember? When they look back on their lives, what will live on in my character?
I’m exploring the characters in my life’s story and invite you to do the same, if you’re into that kind of thing. 
To make it a more doable task I decided to write it in Pillow Book form. When I was a junior in high school I took a creative writing class and my teacher, Ms. Jessup taught us about Pillow Books Writing – a running list of items that fall under a certain category. In high school I wrote some silly ones like : 
Things I Want To Test In The Microwave 
10 Thing You Can Do With A Toothbrush
I also wrote some Get-me-through-the-day lists like:
10 Quotes That Inspire Me
10 Things I Love About ME
In this Legacy-Witnessing Challenge, my list is :
10 Things I Learned From {Insert Character’s Name Here}
I started with my Grandma Dawn because I always think about her a lot this time of year. You can make your list longer or shorter (and can even offer this writing-style to your children!) the idea is that you do NOT have to write ALL the information down at once. You sit with the theme or subject line and allow your mind to wander and walk through it. As inspiration strikes you can add them to your list. {Often I am inspired in the shower and have a shower crayon handy to jot down shower-wall notes!} It’s really a practice in allowing your intuition to guide you into your writing. I have found this to be a very useful tool in my mindfulness toolkit. 

Here is my list for my Grandma Dawn. I had not intended on it being so lengthy…. But here it is…in all my thought-processes.
1. Meals on Wheels
3. Listen To The Animals
4. Long Nature Walks
5. Poopy, Poopy, Poopy
6. Wardrobe Shopping
7. People Watching
8. Mother’s Day Flowers
9. Kid Friendly
10. Craft Shows!
11. Vacations In The Mountains
That’s the short list. 
What do the characters in your legacy look like? 
What will your character traits be within the stories your little ones are making?
Love and Reflection to you all <3

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