How is it that a woman like Jane Austen can inspire and creatively impact as many generations as she can? How can a single woman who left personal letters and unpublished pages behind still empower and motivate people 300 years later?
It was “date night” and we were celebrating our first wedding anniversary with Indian food and a stroll along the river in our city of Strasbourg. The golden, fading sunlight reflected on the French wooden houses and our tummies were full of delicious Indian food, giving me an aligned, peaceful state of mind during our walk. As we leaned against the stone railing looking out over the river, I brought up the idea of legacy.
As I rambled slowly about the small impact I would like to give at the end of my life, he silently mulled it over. I could tell he was deep in thought. After a while, he murmured, “That’s powerful. I never thought about that before…” Thus, why I was inspired to write this blog post.
Every human being is creative. But you don’t need to create anything if you don’t feel called to.
I told him that I am always thinking about the end in mind, the impact I want to leave this world with, the legacy I wish to impart.
While he knows I am not at all afraid of death – in fact, as a deeply spiritual person who believes in reincarnation, I warmly embrace it – I do think about what will be left of my identity, my self, and my host “Helena” when I am someday gone. I often think about the big picture, and I spend more time imagining my long-term dreams over my short-term. It is a blessing but also a weakness, for I always make mistakes in the teensiest of details and the logistical planning of projects.
I am not a “manager” or “technician” but a creative visionary, dreaming of the way I want to make people feel.
While my husband is a logical planner with a talent for observing the day-to-day, I think about the end goal, the final destination first, and then inch my way backward. It is both difficult and grueling for me to think about the details. He excels where I lack.
Imagine what you can give now. If you feel the need to contribute, make it a goal to create one small thing every single day. For by showing up and consistently being of service to another, you are living your true purpose.
Peter Brook once said, “When a performance is over, what remains? Fun can be forgotten, but powerful emotion also disappears and good arguments lose their thread. When emotion and argument are harnessed to a wish from the audience to see more clearly into itself – then something in the mind burns.”
My purpose or “goal” everyday is to leave behind a legacy. And a creative legacy doesn’t have to be big or complicated! It means making eye contact with my barista and greeting them with a sincere smile. That means connecting with others on my daily walk through the park and asking them how they are doing, how their heart is feeling. That means using my individual voice to write – a handwritten letter, a blog post, an Instagram caption – or whatever it is I’m feeling like doing that day to show up for others online and in person. It means using my creative talents and passions to create things for myself and others.
As a creative artist using communication and visuals as my primary mode of storytelling, I am leaving behind an impact.
And it is possible for everyone.
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August 14, 2019
2016 - 2019 Helena Woods | Helena Woods Portraiture is located outside New York City in Fairfield County Connecticut and travels worldwide for her clients. Helena Woods is New England and Connecticut’s premier family, children, baby and newborn photographer specializing in modern classic custom family photography with a timeless look that's always in style. As a professional photographer, Helena captures maternity, newborn, baby and family portraits in NYC, Westchester, Trumbull, Easton, Weston, and Westport, Greenwich, Darien, Westport, Norfolk and all Fairfield County surrounding areas.