Creating A Life Of Positive Meaning

Your Life, Your Legacy, Your Choice: Living In Ways You Would Be Pleased To Remember

The aroma of warm gingerbread cookies swirled deliciously around my granny. She was an excellent playmate, thrilling storyteller, and creative tailor of special items to outfit the fantasies of children.

When we skinned our knees, her gentle hugs were comforting. Spilled milk seemed to go unnoticed. There was never an angry, blaming word for a broken dish.

Granny was satisfied with life. Her glass overflowed. She accepted people as they were, laughed easily, and greeted each person with a smile. She did her best to enjoy every day to the fullest. Each of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were convinced we were her favorite. She loved and was deeply loved. Yet her life was not easy.

She wanted to attend school but had to stop at the fifth grade because her family needed her to work. Granny was not wealthy, lost her teeth early, and lived with heart disease. She also faced the unimaginable grief of having to bury her five-year-old son.

Despite adversity, she did not dwell on or run from the disappointments of life; she courageously faced hardship by grieving, accepting, forgiving, and moving on. She made mistakes. But instead of living with regret, she made the effort to make a better choice the next time she faced a similar situation.

Living In Ways You Would Honestly Be Pleased To Remember

Granny was not afraid of death. She was focused on doing her best, each day, to live in ways she would honestly be pleased to remember. Eighty-five years of doing her finest added up. When she passed away, crowds of people came to pay their respects.

During her memorial service, her spirit was alive in the shared memories of family, friends, and acquaintances. She was praised for creating a life of joy and serenity. People were deeply moved by her humility, kindness, and friendship. Her compassion, trustworthiness, and faith were inspirational.

Each person with whom Granny spent time was touched by her open heart. Though decades have passed since her death, my memories of her have aged well.

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Glass Half Empty?

When my other grandmother passed away, she did not leave the same memories. Her attitude was negative, her glass always half empty. Nothing was good enough. Life had been too hard.

She placed value on things. My memory of her surrounding herself with fine objects is especially vivid because I was not allowed to sit on the furniture in my grandmother’s living room. I learned not to take it personally. Thinking back, I do not remember anybody ever sitting in her living room.

My grandmother also supported judgmental television evangelists. She sent them money and was especially generous with those who desired to change gay people into God-fearing heterosexuals. At the time, I took this personally. Later, I wondered if she may have felt differently had she known about me.

My grandmother’s lifetime of self-centeredness caused her heart to close. Instead of facing life’s hardships and challenges head on, she attempted to medicate them away. She was constantly ailing and focused on her suffering. As a result, her offputting demeanor kept other people at a distance. At her funeral, people struggled to find positive things to say. It was awkward and embarrassing.

Teaching by Example

Today, I realize how fortunate I was to know both of my grandmothers. While they were two different people, each taught me by her own example.

One grandmother modeled how to create a life filled with anger, resentment, and loneliness. She did not connect the dots between investing adversely in life and receiving the undesirable in return. She spent her life looking outward for accountability and change. When it did not come, she resorted to blame and increased efforts to control others.

The other grandmother was a positive role model who showed me how life works best. Granny understood she did get back what she put out in the world. She recognized part of loving herself was doing the work necessary to intentionally change any of her behavior that did not feel good to her or to others. She accepted that the greatest legacy we can ever leave is choosing how well we live.

We Are All Very Much Alike

You and I were born in different places, raised by different people, with different experiences shaping our personalities, beliefs, likes, dislikes, and values. Beyond our diversity and the stories we can trade about less-than-perfect childhoods or traumatic life events, we are very much alike.

You want to love and be loved. You want to have deep relationships. You want to avoid problems and make life easier. You want to live a life of meaning. How can you live a life of meaning? By leading with your feeling and responsible heart, rather than being led by an unfeeling and egocentric mind.

Putting your heart into something is doing your best, not from fear of punishment or expectation of reward, but rather for the personal satisfaction of a job well done. For me, the journey began by confronting this limiting, egocentric thought: “I am only human.”

By being in charge of my thoughts, I learned the greatest limitations I encounter in life are those I place on myself. I have said it is too hard, I just cannot do it, I do not have time, I am weak, I have tried and failed, it’s easier said than done, I am poor, I am physically impaired, how I behave is part of my culture and beyond my control.

Things seemed difficult until I made the decision to stop talking and start doing. Taking action despite the limiting thoughts allowed me to prove to myself that I was not weak at all, and that what I wanted to accomplish was not too hard, and persistence would lead to success.

Facing and Overcoming The Limitations We Place On Ourselves

Whatever we want to attain in life, our success depends on remaining optimistic and self-supportive. That means enthusiastically facing and overcoming the limitations we place on ourselves.

Today I am committed to living in a loving world, where kindness and patience rule my actions when dealing with problems, challenges, and stress. This is the real world I work to create for myself each day, moment by moment.

Accepting that the present moment is the only one in which I can take right action, I am confident that within my heart is the personal determination necessary to regularly behave positively. Purposefully setting my prideful ego aside, I can choose in each moment to avoid problems and build meaningful, loving relationships with my family, neighbors, co-workers, and the folks I meet each day.

Choosing, Moment By Moment, How Well You Live

The truth is, most people who value their greatest legacy—choosing, moment by moment, how well they live—do not achieve religious or historical acclaim. They are our grandparents, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, friends and acquaintances, bosses and co-workers. They are found in all occupations, in every age, in all races, in every country around the globe.

The Q’ero Indians of Peru, descendants of the Inca, live much as their ancestors have for centuries, on Ausangate Mountain east of Cusco, at an altitude of 14,000 feet. Q’ero elders preserve and share with their descendants a sacred prophecy of great change, or pachacuti. They believe moving the energy of loving acceptance across the planet unites people in the common purpose of caring for each other and for Pachamama (Mother Earth). Living a life of tender nurturing represents a heart-awareness of, and respect for, the connectedness of human beings and the natural world.

Enlightened messengers teach that the reason for being is to make yourself and the world better off for your having lived. While Earth-changing scientific, technological, financial, or cultural innovations may be invaluable contributions, the greatest achievement is controlling impulsive, self-centered, “I am only human” behavior to perform with positive, peaceful purposefulness in the countless actions that make up your day.

When you think about it, actions such as staying patient when caught in heavy traffic, remaining honest when given the opportunity to steal or cheat without being caught, or being kind to someone who is rude are how you live with love, compassion, and purpose. Each moment you set your heart on behaving with positive purpose, you align with the selfless, accountable, and caring side of your being.

You rise above the limiting excuse that you are only human to lead with the best of your emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual self. You live as an ordinary person who creates an extraordinary life.

Accepting The Truth That Our Behavior Creates Our Life

Those of us who choose to lead with our heart do so because we accept the truth that our behavior creates our life. We know conducting ourselves as sensible and kind people is where the potential for our greatest joy and fulfillment lies. Yet accepting the challenge to regularly act united with our heart requires overcoming a second limitation we place on ourselves: basing our conduct on how other people behave.

Many of us lose heart by believing if we do not aggressively protect ourselves, other people will take advantage of us, abuse us, or view us as weak. This may seem true to those who view power only as having control over people or things. But true power comes from within, and I believe deep down that most people are good. Good people derive their power from making the intentional choice to lead with the honorable values of their heart.

Meaningful lives come from establishing and nurturing good interactions with others. Your goal in any relationship is to be your best half—unless, that is, we’re talking about the relationship you have with yourself. With that one, you are the entire union, and your goal is to be whole.

Creating A Life Of Positive Meaning

You become whole by choosing to create a life of positive meaning. Once that decision is made, you strive to live each day pursuing the goal. You own your behavior and care about the wake your actions leave. Each moment of life becomes a gift. Communicating with care becomes a priority.

You serve as gatekeeper to what you allow into your mind and heart. You pay attention to what you are doing in the moment. Forgiveness releases you from anger and regret. You set healthy relationship boundaries. “No” becomes an okay word. Gratitude takes center stage over lack. You question what you believe, give as you want to receive, support others as you want support, and become the solution to leave our world better off for your having lived. The result of leading with your heart is the best possible personal relationship with you, and with other people who desire the same.

Leading with the unselfish, accountable, and sensitive part of you, there is no limit to what you will achieve. You will be joyful. You will have peace. You will live an ordinary life in the most extraordinarily memorable way. You will live each day in ways you are genuinely proud to remember.

©2014 by Regina Cates. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Hierophant Publishing.

Article Source:

Lead With Your Heart: Creating a Life of Love, Compassion, and Purpose
by Regina Cates.

Lead With Your Heart: Creating a Life of Love, Compassion, and Purpose by Regina Cates.Throughout this book, Regina shares her amazing (and often heart-wrenching) stories of how she moved away from a volatile, victimized frame of mind to a place of making conscious actions and decisions from a centered, heart-driven state. By following along with Regina's personal stories and practicing the exercises she's developed, we can all learn how to choose positive, heart-centered solutions for the difficulties in our life.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book

About the Author

Regina Cates, author of the book "Lead With Your Heart: Creating a Life of Love, Compassion, and Purpose"Regina Cates is the co-founder of Romancing Your Soul, and her Romancing Your Soul Facebook page has over 150,000 engaged followers. Regina conducts workshops, teleclasses and one-on-one sessions to help people uncover love and meaningfulness in their lives. She lives in Los Angeles, CA. Visit her website at:

Watch a video: Drop The Comparison and Competition (with Regina Cates)

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