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Blog by Alan Seale, November 1, 2021, |   Transformational Leadership

As we move through our days, following the callings of our hearts and bringing our gifts to the world around us, we are held and supported by all we have learned, all we have experienced, and all that awaits us in the future. Yet there is more. We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. Those who taught us by how they lived their lives. Those who loved us, sometimes even when we were having a hard time loving ourselves. Those who shared their wisdom and perhaps also their humor. Those who, in their own ways, gave us strength and courage, clarity and persistence to light our path forward. Those who blazed trails and made the paths we walk now a little easier. In short, those who helped make us who we are.

In the ancient Celtic traditions, the last days of October were celebrated as a time when the veil is lifted between the seen and the unseen worlds. In a more universal spirituality, we can celebrate these days as a beautiful and sacred liminal space and time when we can reach across into other worlds and feel the presence of those dear to us who are no longer with us physically.

In various expressions of the Christian tradition, the first two days of November have long been celebrated as a time to honor those who we call saints, whether they are officially named by the church or named in our hearts. Again, in a more universal sense, we can choose to honor those who have gone before us, and especially those who have played a role in helping us grow into who we are now.        

As I reflect on those important figures of my life on whose shoulders I stand, I also ask myself: What am I creating by how I live my life for those who will come after me? And then I ask that question for all of us together as a society. What is the legacy we are creating together by how we live, by the choices and decisions that we make, and by the actions that we take? How are we preparing the ground for the next generations? Are we leaving them strong shoulders to stand on?

On Sunday, October 31st, I was asked to create and lead a short ritual at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Newburyport, Massachusetts where I live. The idea was to celebrate those who have gone before us and to be intentional about how we choose to live our lives going forward. After leading the ritual there, I created a version for you in the video below.  In preparation for the ritual, take a few moments to remember those who have made a difference in your life yet who are no longer with us physically. They might be loved ones, family members, friends, teachers or mentors. Or they even be public or historical figures who you did not know personally yet who you have learned from. Take your time to prepare yourself. You might even want to place photographs of some of these people nearby. And then join me in honoring those whose shoulders you stand on now. Standing on the Shoulders of Those Who Have Gone Before Us and Creating Your Legacy.mp4 from Transformational Presence on Vimeo