Tag Archives: legacy

How Life Can Strengthen You


Point to Ponder:
What choices do you make when faced with challenge?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I recently met a man who made a conscious and courageous decision to turn a tragedy into something beautiful. Much like the Journal one month ago titled, Lifelong Impact, he and his family’s brave decision is and will make a lifelong impact in many lives, including mine.

The man is Sid Steinberg. A little over two years ago, Sid’s twenty-year old daughter, Blaine Steinberg, passed away suddenly of a heart attack. What makes this story so compelling is that while Blaine was an incredibly talented, athletic and healthy young woman, Blaine had an infectious and contagious personality and enthusiasm for life, which is what she was known for.

Blaine was recruited to play lacrosse for Dartmouth, but after two concussions during her Freshman year she opted to stop playing and focus her time on her future in sports broadcasting. I didn’t know Blaine, but the people who did know her described her as a passionate fire-cracker whose passion, captivating smile, divine spark, commitment to excellence and desire to be better and work harder inspired everyone around her. From all who knew her in high school, to those she met in college and anyone in between, she impacted everyone.

As a result of her sudden and unexpected death, her family took immediate action and created an organization that would allow Blaine’s legacy to live on forever, but most importantly, the organization will touch and positively influence the lives of young women. The organization is called Live Like Blaine and their mission is to empower and inspire young women to become leaders through fitness and athletics. Their impact in less than two years has been extraordinary. The organization have raised well over $100,000, which is being used towards leadership conferences, sport camps and other programs whose mission aligns with LLB.

While talking to Sid, learning about Blaine, and familiarizing myself with the organization, I couldn’t quite grasp the Steinberg family’s attitude. Despite experiencing the devastating and life-altering loss of a child only two years ago, how are they able to get out of bed in the morning, more less have a constant smile on their faces, uplifting outlook on life and captivating spirits? I let him know how inspired I was by Blaine’s life and he and his family’s resilience, outlook and ability to take something terrible and turn it into something wonderful. Sid looked at me with a warm smile and said, “Neissa, upon Blaine’s passing, Jill (his wife) and I told ourselves we could let this terrible thing define us, defeat us or strengthen us, and we choose strengthen, as the first two are not an option for our family.” Sid then went on to share this, “Life’s path is not straight, as you well know. Blaine’s death has motivated Jill and I to look both inward and outward and we have found some level of peace and a greater level of fulfillment in helping others as we honor Blaine.”

For the past few weeks I have thought a lot about Sid’s words and actions. I am encouraged and amazed by their choices but as I have continued to ponder on letting a tragedy defeat, define or strengthen us, I actually think that is conscious choice we get to make everyday. In all circumstances: good, bad, disappointing or tragic, nothing should defeat or define us, but instead strengthen us.

For example, how often do we stew over something irritating or problematic to the point that it takes over our every thought, affects our attitude and even our health. This could be a break up, divorce, a disappointment, the loss of a job–anything upsetting. If we talk about it all of the time, and can’t seem to move past it, then it wins, it has defeated us and has defined us. Or, let’s flip it to something wonderful, like landing our dream job, a promotion, a marriage or a great relationship, or becoming a mother. Initially, these things will not defeat us, but if we allow them to define us, then they can defeat us because we have given them too much power. And, because nothing is permanent or perfect and everything comes with struggle, there will be a day when the dream job and promotion pass, the marriage or relationship are challenged and your child goes off to college and creates a new life for him or herself. Then, the question we will have to ask ourselves is “Who are we?”

All in all, I’m of the opinion that things, people, groups, titles, our relationships, a job, life’s ups and down, and tragedy are not placed in our lives to defeat or define us. They have been given to us for strengthening purposes, and strengthening purposes only. Whereas, it’s our faith, character, resilience, love for others and how we make people feel that defines us. It’s these things, including our ability to laugh, dance and love that we can hang our hats on and say, “Thank you God, thank you life, it is a good day and I am stronger because of it.”

Enjoy this newly released life-giving song by Justin Timberlake. I hope you will dance and celebrate all that has and will strengthen you!

Action Item:
Pick one challenging situation that you are going through and choose to change your outlook towards it so it doesn’t defeat or define you, but instead strengthens you.

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WEEKLY JOURNAL: Living with Purpose and Passion

What do you want your legacy to be?

“You need to know what life you want (as well as what life you don’t want). Then you have to muster up the will and drive to go after it.”

– Bob Greene

Yesterday was our New Year, New You holistic women’s wellness retreat at Barton Creek Country Club. The day kicked off with exercise, breakfast and then four fantastic, inspirational and extremely knowledgeable speakers. Pam Owens, a married mother of two young children and owner of consulting firm Edge of Your Seat spoke first. I met Pam last spring after attending two intimate women’s conferences where she both spoke and served as the event facilitator. Pam’s approach to life is candid, compassionate and hysterical, which I have grate appreciation for.

Pam presented on Living with Purpose and Passion, and as always I am still thinking about her thought provoking and introspective questions — 36 hours later. I’ve included her worksheet below, as I believe living with purpose and passion is the way we all should strive to live, everyday of our life. And, as a result of Pam’s wisdom, it occurred to me that I can have more than one purpose/passion — which I do. Ridiculously, I’ve placed self-imposed rules around my purpose/passion, so it was freeing to know that not only can I have several, but they can morph and change too!

Furthermore, in pursuit of achieving joy and finding our purpose and passion, Pam asked us to identify three things that we would absolutely NOT be willing to give up, as well as three things that we need to starting saying NO to immediately. I loved this exercise, because not only do we need to know what we want out of life, but we also must be willing to acknowledge what we don’t want. It sounds simple, but answering these questions will guide our joy and provide clarity for our purpose and passions.

Below is the content of the worksheet. I hope you’ll take the time to answer the questions and explore your purpose, passion(s) and joy!

Complete the following sentences and/or answer the following questions:

  • What do you want your legacy to be?
  • How do you define success?
  • My 3 strengths are…
  • When was the last time you felt pure joy? What were you doing?
  • What I like doing the most is…
  • What is Passion? (in your own words…)
  • What are 3 things that you are absolutely NOT willing to give up?
  • What are 3 things that you need to start saying NO to, immediately?

The Roadblocks:  Which box do you check all too often?

___Less Than    ___Jealousy           ___I can’t do it    ___I’m not good enough
___Victim           ___Comparison    ___Lonely             ___Guilt/Regret

Road Test: How do I know if I’m loving my life with passion and purpose?

  1. You are totally obsessed with what you are doing
  2. You can’t stop talking about what you get to create and do everyday
  3. You feel it in your gut without a doubt, an underlying belief that this IS definitely what you’re meant to do.
  4. You wake up ready to take on the day in a new way, leaving what may have happened yesterday in its place so you can be fully present today.
  5. Resilience is your middle name.
  6. You shock yourself occasionally with just how good something you did really is!
  7. Things just seem to become effortless and fall into place.
  8. You can stay focused on what you want to accomplish regardless of the distraction.
  9. Your faith or belief in something bigger than you allows you to stay balanced on your journey.

Point To Ponder:
Are you living everyday with purpose, passion, and joy?


Action Item:
Answer the questions in the journal above and see where they take you!

Neissa Springmann

By Neissa

Breathing In a Legacy of Love and Nurture


…When one is willing to let life in and let life out, it’s more comfortable than when one is in resistance to life all the time.
— Patricia Townsend, Yoga Teacher

Action Item:
Breathe and know that when you sigh out your breath reminds you that you can live to lovingly pass along your legacy with your next grateful breath.

By Cary Fyfe

By Cary Fyfe

Journey seventeen’s legacy theme has been highlighted in my world lately as I have had to escort my mother through the transition of not living on her own. My mom is a delight. Her laugh is like raindrops on sea glass. She has an adoration of life-long friends and an uncanny knack for keeping plants flourishing is magic. I have many sweet legacies to cherish, and, as in most relationships, it is a mixed bag. Our journey together as mother and daughter has not always been smooth and as I willingly guide her through this unwelcome passage, I am a vessel burdened also by regrets that sometimes catch my breath and stop me in my tracks.

One recent afternoon, a dear family friend listened quietly while I shared my heartbreak of having to move my mom from her home. Each word I spoke unleashed a torrent of emotions inside of me – some surprising, some not – but all came from so deep within that they had me at an emotional standstill. As I fought for a steady voice, I told him of the questions, doubts and regrets that were swimming through my mind. I so desperately wanted it all to either go away or make sense so that I could breathe easily in this new definition of my mother.

He waited until my winds eased a bit, then answered my unanswerable questions with a question of his own. He asked, “What is your deepest regret about this?” And without any thought or awareness of what the answer would be, the words spilled out: “That the chance to receive the magic of mothering is slipping away from me.” So many meanings, so many levels of sorrow, the core of it being that the “mother’s touch” would be gone forever.

My friend gently closed his eyes as he let the dark clouds that gathered around my words settle, and he said, “You will be mothered in this new place too, just listen for it and be open to it.” This was very comforting advice so I took a deep breath and tucked those words away. Take a moment to look over the Weekly Intention Guide to set goals that apply well to your life this week.

at iGnite we like to keep our friends close- to stay there for each other when we could use a little rebalancing.

at iGnite we like to keep our friends close- to stay there for each other when we could use a little rebalancing.

A few weeks passed and I visited my mom in her new surroundings, where she has the support she needs. I felt her sorrow as I absorbed her new place in life. I also visited her home again. It was not an easy visit, and my breaths weren’t always steady as I internally resisted this sad transition. I sighed out as I carried a favorite item from her home to take to my own — an old, beautiful ivy — one that had crept its way up a wall, and with a quiet embrace had encircled a portrait of me as a child.

When I returned to Austin, I gently removed the old ivy from my car and found a cozy spot where it could flourish. It brought me peace to have the ivy in my home and as I bent to place it on my porch, one of its leaves brushed across my cheek so softly that I gasped. And there, in that unexpected moment when my breaths were effortless, was my mother’s legacy. Her mothering was right here, right now, alive in the beauty of this old plant she nurtured; alive in her early days of nurturing me, alive now in me, nurturing her through what she sees as the beginning of her final journey.

I gently sighed out. My breath was suspended no longer as I saw clearly that life does indeed ebb and flow, and that our breaths will dance rhythmically with that lovely tide if we let them in, then let them out again. Life flows, no matter how resistant we become, no matter how hard we try to control it, no matter how hard we try to make sense of it. It flows, and the beautiful reality is that every time we drink in a breath of fresh air, we are awake to a message of love and nurture, such as one from a simple old plant. It’s a legacy…a gift — and one that, when you sigh out again, reminds you that you too can live to lovingly pass along your own legacy with your next grateful breath. Join Cary and other wonderful yoga teachers to practice your breathing outside in beautiful Austin and feel the powerful benefits: our updated weekly schedule. 

I realize this weeks video was highlighted during last Journey, but in the spirit of breathing and passing on our legacy with grateful breaths, I think I’ll slip on my leotard, tease my hair, use a bottle of RAVE hairspray and starting practicing my favorite breathing techniques from the video. More than anything, I’m bound to get a belly ache from laughter. Enjoy and happy breathing.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION- Do you use your breath as a powerful tool to calm and center you? 

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Baby Steps to Our Best Selves


iGniter Susan S. enjoys practicing gratefulness for her many blessings at outdoor yoga classes in beautiful and green Austin, Texas.

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just the first step.
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Action Item:
Write down your top 3 values and keep them in a visible place, so you can revisit them multiple times each day. Make a conscious effort to embody these values in your daily actions and interactions.

By April Black

By April Black

The arrival of Neissa’s baby Durant is the perfect inspiration for us to continue thinking about living a legacy-filled life and what characteristics we feel are important to pass along to future generations. As we all know, actions do speak louder than words and the best way to lead is by example. I can always ‘talk a big talk,’ but the way I live my life and handle situations will speak volumes about my values and character. We influence not only our children, but everyone with whom we interact – our friends, coworkers, parents, siblings, spouse – even strangers we meet receive an impression of us. And vice versa! We are all connected and can continue to learn from each other.

In writing this journal, I started thinking about all of the people in my life and what I love and admire most about them. How fun it would be if I could take all of the characteristics I like best and then be that person – a mixture of all of my favorites! What a legacy I could leave and what a vibrant life I could surely live if I were able to do this. I also started thinking about how people would describe me to someone who had never met me before – what words would they use, what would first come to their minds? This is MY legacy and I want it to be a great one! Our Weekly Intention Guide can help you organize your thoughts into a step-by-step plan so you can start iGniting your life more today!

MLK is a great example of someone who left an important legacy and lived out his values. His quote reminds us that to make a change or reach a goal, all we have to do is start. The hardest part is often (if not always) the first step. This week, let’s take the opportunity to think of the people that have touched our lives and have left their legacies with us, and in what ways can we implement their most admirable traits within ourselves. In turn, we can continue to pass these meaningful values along to future generations through our actions. We don’t have to be “perfect” – all we have to do is start living out the legacy we want to leave, take the first step, and enjoy ourselves along the way!

MLK was such a great speaker. Enjoy this exerpt of his “I Have a Dream” speech and leave your own legacy this week and always.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION- What do you want future generations to remember you by? 

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