Have you ever loved a phrase enough to want to use it, surround yourself with it, and try to live by it? Being that I am an avid reader and writer, I often annotate text and highlight my favorite words and concepts. They frequently inspire new poems and workshops. When something truly resonates, the intention immediately becomes to integrate it into my life as a new way of being and/or doing.I can’t seem to remember the book where it came from, but I do recall a phrase that really put things into perspective for me several years ago. That phrase was “forever incomplete.” I had always considered myself to be that way, but I wasn’t sure how to express it in words. So someone did it for me, as people often do, and I will be forever grateful for the wisdom of others and for the gift of words. This phrase, “forever incomplete,” essentially sums up how I wish to be known.
I would like part of my eulogy to read as follows:
Terri was an avid reader, a student of the School of life—she could never get enough wisdom to feed her soul. She was most passionate about the mind. She studied ways to self-empower and sought to find a life of greater meaning and satisfaction. She considered herself to be “forever incomplete.”
Each day Terri set the intention to become a better and brighter version of herself—choosing to “grow through life,” not simply, “go through life.” Her desire to evolve was contagious and so she planted many seeds in others, nurtured them, and helped them to grow. Terri believed that everyone has the potential to unwrap, unlock, unleash, and emerge happier.
Everyone knows that I love nothing more than to share in a meaningful conversation with someone. I think it’s essential to be able to ask yourself those powerful questions that will ultimately guide your life in the right direction. One of the questions I ask people to reflect upon is, “What do you wish to be your legacy?” In my first book I even asked my readers to create their very own eulogy, just as I have done here.
The reason for doing this is not at all morbid—the opposite, in fact, is true. The purpose of such an exercise is to assess whether you are manifesting your deepest desires and yearnings. This way, if you’re not, you still have time to revise your plan—another chance to get it right.
Given that we are all mortal beings, we all have a beginning: our birth, and an end: our death. What’s most important is what we do with our time in between, which has been so beautifully and eloquently referred to by Linda Ellis as “The Dash.”
I believe that we are all “forever incomplete”—a work of art in progress. There is always room for improvement. We are never going to be perfect or complete—all we can strive for is wholeness. By that I mean the following: All we need to seek is a better and brighter version of ourselves so that we can ultimately shine our unique light and realize our true potential in this lifetime.
A few weeks ago my coach brought up the idea of versions of herself, and I was utterly fascinated—so intrigued, in fact, that I decided to assess the different versions of myself that I’ve moved through since birth. It was a very interesting assignment, to say the least.
I discovered five different versions of me. They were all necessary chapters, one evolving into the next, allowing me to emerge as who I am today. Am I most proud of this latest version of me? No, because in being whole, I’m proud of all of me—of every version of me. Each stage has been instrumental in forming the next; each one has carried its life lessons and wisdom. I have no regrets. I am choosing to live in the present and work towards the future—towards my bigger life—towards still better versions of myself.
What do you wish to be your legacy? How many versions of you can you count? Dig deep and ask yourself those questions that beg you to stretch and expand your comfort zone. Get vulnerable, for as my precious son reminded me just the other day, it’s really the only way to grow.