I find myself particularly drawn to those qualities that I feel strongly that I should “pass along”. By this I mean: these qualities that I hope all my children will immediately and easily associate with me; that they feel that these qualities are worthy; and therefore they are worthy of being passed on to their kids (my grandkids), and so on and so forth.
The thought is embodied in this wonderful passage from the movie A Little Chaos:
“Yes I am here and gave service under nature’s eye. And after me, my children will be. Is there anymore greater contribution or more graceful end?”
With this in mind, I have a re-ordered set of qualities, embellished a bit using this filter: What are some qualities of soulfulness that are worth passing on to my children and grandchildren and their children and grandchildren? Specifically, I want them to know me, and consider whether they are me, or want to be me, with regard to these qualities:
- I am kind – I have plenty of masks, but I am kind just beneath my many masks. Closely related to empathy, this attribute is all about a gentleness of spirit around others.
- I am curious. This curiosity about the world sustains me. I don’t get bored easily. I am interested in most everything. I want to taste new things, and mostly enjoy them when I do. I want to go new places, and the bigness or smallness of the place doesn’t really factor in. See that dead end? If my instincts say that the dead end is to keep people out, then I want to go in – to explore it. I have a confidence in myself, that is sometimes expressed like this: if I found myself all alone on a park bench without phone or tablet or music or anything, my curiosity kicks in. I can occupy my mind very easily with hundreds of thoughts that keep me in the game. I am aware that I am happy when I find a curiosity that concentrates my energy.
- I am easily moved. I value this quality. I am open to the world. The world – as expressed in music, or art, or movies, or whatever – can easily trigger me and make me highly emotional.
- I am grateful. This feeling of gratitude anchors my emotional well-being. I rarely covet my neighbor’s well-being. I rarely hunger for something I don’t have. I am content and grateful for the loved ones and friends around me, and the life that I have been allowed. Most especially, I am grateful for my health. I am from good stock and this is my huge good fortune.
- I am happy – One of the reasons this is true is that I don’t pursue happiness. I don’t expect it. I receive it. I am grateful for it. But I don’t expect it. I can get mad, but I don’t get down very much.
- I live life a day at a time – I don’t set goals well. I live for the moment. When I wake up, I look at the day. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is off in the distant future. Today I have a chance to live, and I take that chance very seriously. Grudges don’t really work for me, because I move on so quickly.
- I am spiritually awake – I am not a church person, although I easily could be. I reject the cliche versions of spirituality, and yet I fully embrace that idea that there is a power much greater that myself – that loves me. That idea humbles me and fills me with gratitude. When my friends and family show me this same love, especially when it is unconditional, I am deeply moved. I never expect this love. I just embrace it and am delighted by it when it manifests.
- I live for the journey, not the destination. it’s the journey that interests me, not the destination. Declaration: “Success is a journey, not a destination.” I try not to declare victory, because the declaration is like “destination reached” or “mission accomplished”. I love finishing projects, but I take secret pleasure in dividing projects into mini-projects and dividing the mini-projects into micro-projects. Done this way, the journey begins and I enjoy an immediate satisfaction at accomplishing a micro-milestone.
- I believe that doubts can diminish by starting: Many times, a task seems daunting – or even impossible. It seems silly, but I find that the simple act of starting can lower my fear and diminish my doubts. Take an example: I love to publish drafts. My first draft is almost always …. terrible. But I delight in finishing it, and adding a date and time naming convention when I save the file. It is 2020 for the year 2020, 07 for the month July, and 05 for the day. So my files mostly always end with _20200705. That’s my way of honoring a draft – even if its terrible.
- I believe that doubts can diminish by learning: I like to stay in motion even if I’m unsure. I fail in motion. I can’t fail sitting still. So I want to fail, in order to learn. I don’t need big learning. I like little learnings that make me say: “Aha!”. It makes me happy to learn something about the way the world works, or the way the world was, or the way the world is going to be. As I get older, I find less shame and more joy in failure.
- I see beyond what people project – I can spot when I meet someone who is hurting inside, or feels “out of sorts”, or is in distress. I can do this even when they are hiding it. I guess it is empathy. It might be related to the fact that I grew up poor. I lean heavily toward the idea that “there but for the grace of God go I”. I love dogs and their simple love. I love when someone shows random acts of kindness toward those who need us.