I was caught red handed—the huge serving spoon had disappeared completely into my mouth. “You’re just like your father!”
“Thank you!” I love my dad. But then I had to wonder….
If I’m carrying stuff from my dad, and he is carrying stuff from his dad, how far back do these mannerisms, legacies, go?
Habits, attitudes and traditions don’t exactly compare to traditional legacies of inherited wealth, handmade quilts and silver spoons, but we inherit them nonetheless, and are charged to carry them on.
My high school swim team was handed the legacy of a 2-year winning streak. We kept it alive through my 4-years of being on the team, and they continued undefeated in their district for a total of 14-years with 20 straight championship victories.
Something got handed down year after year. It wasn’t just the coaching—it was swimming day after day with people who knew how to do it really well.
A similar thing happened to me in college. I made my best progress when I spent a lot of time with my dear friend and world class artist Sung-Won Yang.
We also carry on the styles of our teachers. We absorb some essence of what they themselves received from their teachers. I once did a genealogy chart for my cello students showing that Yo-Yo Ma is their grand-uncle (having studied with students of Leonard Rose myself), and how all cellists can trace our roots back to the likes of Piatti, Popper and Romberg.
It can be awesome to be related to greatness.
But power comes by consciously attuning to that greatness.
To attune is to intentionally draw specific influences into your lives.
I spent 12-years at the Ananda Village in California with people who choose to live in attunement with the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. Their tangible joy from years of meditation and doing the inner work resonated deeply in my own life.
So although I wasn’t able to bring my family’s cherished heirlooms into our apartment, I still carry on all kinds of traditions like eating over-ripe food that grosses out my wife and daughter. (“What? It’s still good—It’s not even moldy yet!”)
The legacies I cherish the most, though, are the ones that transform my life from sorrow to joy, from error to truth.
We all carry legacies, and what we focus on expands.
Find those things in you that you’re most grateful for, and resonate them ever more fully into your life.