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Legacies of Failure and Success

I don’t fully trust people who live a life with no regrets. How do they learn? I wonder. Have they never stumbled? Fallen? Have they never boldly forged ahead, only to realize they may have trampled others in their wake? Or have they never locked themselves into a space so small and suffocating, they almost died from lack of air?

Everyone has something: Some action or inaction. Words spoken or held in silence when they should have been shouted out loud.

Recently, Theresa Reed the Tarot Lady asked “What do you want your legacy to be? What do you want to be remembered for?” I replied that I hope to get to the end of my life having helped more than I have harmed.

And that’s it. All my grandiose efforts towards changing culture and myself––all my attempts toward creativity, justice, or love––all boil down to that. Every day, I hope that I help more than I harm.

How about you? What attempts are you making to living well, despite mistakes and triumphs, successes or failures? Because, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a lot of success in my life. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t come at a cost to myself or others. Also, given a longer arc, I’m not exactly sure what “failure” is. Or “success.” I could count dozens of both, but what do those words mean? And how do I actually know what the long-term effects of my actions or inactions, words or not words, may be?

I won’t know what the outcome will be, and letting go of my wish to control the outcome frees me up to live my life to the best of my ability, once again. Day by day.

So every day, I sit, and breathe, and pray. I center myself. I opened back up to the cosmos, and to what I hold sacred. Why I do this? Not only do these practices set a template for my day, they are an attempt, always, to become less self-centered by recalling my place in the world. I have a place. And so does everything and everyone else.

Everything stumbles. Everything falls. Everything slows down or speeds up. Everything does its best here in this cosmos. And even on days when it feels as if the world is on fire, we can offer one another a drink of water, and gratefully receive a drink ourselves.

Don’t give up. Ask for help. Rest when you need it. Regroup. And then remember that no matter what, you contribute to the great unfolding of this earth. What you do and what you don’t do makes a difference.

Your life makes a difference.


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