Friday, February 13, 2015

How Moments Connect

There are times when we pay attention and are able to see moments string together like a jeweler strings pearls. Alter even one moment, especially because of an incorrect assumption, and the potential outcome shifts.

One reason the movie “It's a Wonderful Life” is a popular classic is because of the main message: each person plays a significant role in many lives, whether it’s a positive or negative role. Another reason is that the movie story demonstrates how events or moments connect in the bigger picture. We don't always pause to consider this.

Others and I played our roles in specific moments that, upon reflection, played out with the precision of fine clockwork. The result was the first-time inclusion of a piece of art in a local gallery by a member of my gang of friends. The timing sequence involved was so exact it caught my attention.

Our gang had gone to prior showings at the gallery in our Brooklyn neighborhood, and had discussed how the work of the active artist among us could easily be included in a showing. The opportunity came and he submitted a piece to be considered. Time passed and it was now two days before the opening and he hadn’t heard anything from the gallery owner. Then the magic began, and did so through “ordinary” moments.

Here's how the magic played out. One friend who lived on the first floor of our building e-mailed that she had returned from a follow-up visit to her surgeon. I felt inspired (compelled) to ask if I could go see her right then. She agreed, and I acted on it. I used the stairs rather than the elevator, and by the time I got to the floor where the artist friend lived, he came out of the elevator. I asked about his submitted piece to the gallery. He said he'd heard nothing from the gallery. Note: He'd used the elevator because he was coming up from the basement. Had I used the elevator, we would not have seen each other because I would have gotten out on the first floor and the elevator would have then picked him up in the basement.

I suggested he follow up with the gallery since we know that some e-mails never arrive or get lost in the shuffle. He shifted from crestfallen to more hopeful, went inside his apartment, and I continued down the stairs to visit my other friend.

When I returned to my apartment, I found an e-mail from my artist friend stating he'd followed up with another e-mail to the gallery, as I’d suggested. He could just as easily have assumed there was no point to doing so. Our gang tends to make our e-mails about certain topics a group e-mail; so another friend e-mailed a comment about this. Feeling frustration on behalf of the artist friend, her negative comment was based on an assumption that proved not to be the case.

I had an event to attend that evening. Before I left my apartment, I received an e-mail from my artist friend saying the gallery owner e-mailed back that his piece was included. Had he heard my suggestion and decided not to act, or had he accepted the other friend's assumption as truth (we all do this at times), or had I taken the elevator instead of the stairs, he and we would have missed out, as would have others: his work is genuinely good.

At the evening event, I was talking with other friends about attending the gallery show, when the gallery owner walked up. I told her my friend was excited about being included. She told me how happy she was he'd e-mailed her again because she’d really wanted to include his piece, but his e-mail had gotten lost among the torrent of e-mailed submissions she'd received.

If you look at how many people were involved in this singular event (including the people who put the event together I attended that night, and who had to know whom) and how things flowed, you get an idea (if you've never played with this before) of how energy can work, when we allow it (and pay attention to the smaller and bigger picture). You also get a glimmer (if you've never considered it before) about how connected everyone and everything is. Remove or alter, even by seconds, any one moment (or person) from the list above and you can see how the outcome could have shifted in a variety of ways.

We participate in helping energy flow either positively or negatively. It's always a moment-by-moment choice.

It's also a great lesson about how making an assumption, and assuming it's true, and then acting as if it is true, has the potential to steal experiences (and magical moments) from us. I try to remind myself as often as possible that when something looks one way, it may be another. Very often, what's necessary is more information.

A real problem can be solved; an imaginary one cannot.

It's a good practice to ask, "Do I have enough information to know what's really going on?" This one question can save us minutes or hours or years of entering the negative-thought vortex, based on an incorrect assumption. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.   

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

You are welcome to use this article in your newsletter or on your blog/website as long as you use my complete bio with it.

Joyce L. Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, But I Have Something to Say” and other books/e-books, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at

Friday, February 6, 2015

What Legacy Are You Creating Right Now?

It’s easy to see how some people create a legacy through how they live their lives, but are you aware of how you are doing this? Does a legacy have to be grand to count? Maybe what follows will answer that question.

Years back I watched a PBS series titled "Road Trip," where the narrator took his parents, who were in their eighties, around the United States in an RV. Sometimes when we observe others, we focus on the surface of what we see. So, what was under the surface in this instance?

The son revealed that his parents' first child was a daughter who did not live long. The four brothers grew up aware they'd had a sister and that their parents preferred not to speak about that loss. The son said he always wondered how their lives would have been different had their sister lived; that the factor of one, whether with us or gone from us, can have a profound effect.

In the final minutes of the last segment, the father sat peacefully at the end of a pier and looked out over a serene lake in a wooded area. In the voiceover for that scene, the son commented that his father was always ready to sing and laugh despite the fact he had buried a child, fought in a world war, lost his fortune and retirement twice, won over cancer, sustained a marriage for six decades, and with his wife raised four sons into good men. He said when his father left the earth no one would name a street after him or take special note of him in history. Yet, he left a quiet legacy that would affect several generations because of who he was and how he chose to live his life. The father’s factor of one touched and influenced every person he interacted with, most especially his family.

The father didn’t focus on creating a legacy; he focused on living in a way that made sense to him, especially when faced with life events and circumstances that had the potential to wear him down. He aimed to do and be the best he could, in light of whatever came his way. Some of us are aware of the legacy we create through how we live and what and how we contribute to others and life. Most of us never give our legacy a thought, which is fine. Such contemplation isn’t required in order for a legacy to be created; it’s created with or without that contemplation.

At this point, you may be thinking about moments from your past that you don’t feel good about. Anything from your past that you regret—let it go—it’s over. You can make better choices from this moment on. You know more and are more now than you were then. Yes, learn from those times, but let them go. Right now, in the moment you stand in, you can decide who you are and how you want to be and will be, from this time forward, aware that you leave an imprint. I recall something I was told by a music teacher way back when: even if you mess up in the middle of singing a song, as long as you end the song really well, that’s what people will mostly remember. Your life can be the same as a song. Your life is your song.

We all have occasion to feel overwhelmed by events. In such moments, we may temporarily forget our contribution to the bigger picture of our shared lives. We may forget that our own factor of one creates ripples at all times. On the positive side of this, we don’t always know when one seemingly simple gesture, word, or kindness on our part reaches into the heart of another and makes a significant difference. I venture to say this happens more often than we are aware of.

Legacy is about what we contribute while we’re here. It doesn’t have to be grand; it just has to come from our heart and authentic self. It may be as simple as the example we are to others, not that we are to overwhelm or burden ourselves with thoughts of this. Our example does not guarantee good or bad behavior from others. Each of us is, after all, responsible for who and how we are and what we choose. It’s ultimately about what we desire to see when we view ourselves in the mirror of our lives, not how others see us. However, in some respects, they will see us the way we see ourselves, as well as some of our aspects we are not necessarily conscious of.

Keep in mind that every moment of our time on this earth is a pebble dropped into a pond. We may be aware of how we affect those nearest to our center point and forget to be aware of how far the ripples may travel. Each of us creates a legacy, more often a fairly quiet one than not. But as with the quantum universe, the size of our legacy is irrelevant. Every ripple is significant in some measure, contributes to the whole. Every ripple is a relevant thread in the larger tapestry.

Perhaps from this moment on, we can remember that we are weavers and can seek to ensure that some of our threads are ones that endure the tests of time, integrity, and merit. It’s never too late to start now. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.    

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

You are welcome to use this article in your newsletter or on your blog/website as long as you use my complete bio with it.

Joyce L. Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, But I Have Something to Say” and other books/e-books, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at