Excerpt from my quarterly newsletter, designed to let you learn about my latest thoughts and activities, and to ask questions or leave stories. To subscribe, click here.

As the new year opens, I want to begin a discussion about the shared responsibility of tending to our relationships, a discussion where cultural, social, spiritual, and individual wholeness are vital and intertwined.

We are born whole, healthy. Our life is on track. But over time, as we try to please, to fit in, to belong, we lose pieces of ourselves. Bit by bit, our wholeness gets chipped away. Take heart. With intention, we can put ourselves back together again. And we can do the same thing in our communities.

It’s taken me many years to retrieve the lost parts of myself, many years to learn the nuances of burnishing and polishing the soul. Now, it is my responsibility and my joy to give back, to pass on that blessing. And I need your help for that.

Here’s what I want to know from you:

What steps are you taking to restore yourself and become whole again?

How are you helping your community become whole again?

Let’s hear from you so that others can benefit from your experiences.


Amazing Grace

I’ve heard Wintley Phipps sing Amazing Grace many times, so much so that his wonderful singing and insightful commentary have become inseparable. Wintley’s stirring offering is a marvelous gift of legacy living. Listen and be blessed.

Pass It On!

Legacy Living Network. Gloria Burgess. Ancient Oak.

Legacy Living Network. Gloria Burgess. Ancient Oak.

Each of us has been summoned to become a person unique in all the world. Just as every snowflake and leaf is unique, so are you. No one else is like you and no one else can contribute to the world what you were specifically designed to contribute.

Dancing visionary and pioneer Martha Graham likens dancing to the art of living. Both require years of practice and development. In her autobiography Blood Memory, Graham points out that we “learn to dance by practicing dancing” and we “learn to live by practicing living.”

For dancing and for living, that practice requires thousands of repetitions. Day in and day out. To learn and master walking, talking, and feeding yourself—complex skills that we take for granted—requires several years of practice.

In your life’s journey—or your life’s performance—some of the most important questions that you ask and grapple with may be questions about your legacy.

Questions to ask include: How do I want to be known… and remembered? What is the rhythm, or presence, of legacy in my life? What choices do I make each day to live my legacy here and now? What or who do I believe in so deeply and passionately that I will make enormous sacrifices for it?

Host these questions as you would a special guest in your home. Pay attention, but avoid hovering over them. In time, the questions will take up residence in your heart, and they will reveal their secrets to you. They will become your teacher and guide as you keep your eyes on the great prize of your life.

Pass It On!

I hope you’re blessed by this post from Guest Blogger Lena Cain.

It’s great when the sun comes out to play, but what about the days when you are feeling blue and the sky is full of clouds? The good news is that there are very simple steps you can take to let your inner light shine.

Pray. Ask for help, and take time to write a Thank You note to thank God for your many blessings. They will multiply!

Clear Your Mind. Take time daily for quiet meditative, unplugged time. This one small act will increase inner peace and you’ll inevitably bring  into your life and relationships.

Set Clear Intentions & Follow Your Guidance.  Take the time to get clear about what you want to co-create in your life. Then, listen to your body’s signals, and watch for that warm feeling in your heart, the tingles, and repetitive messages that keep nudging you. Follow hunches, watch for dream symbols. God and your invisible guidance team are trying to tell you something!

Fill Your Cup. Remember to Play! Dance to your favorite music. Stay up late talking with loved ones. Take yourself out for a date. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Follow your path of joy wherever it leads you.

Take one small step to let your inner light shine this week, and watch what happens…

~ Lena Cain

Lena is a spiritual coach and heartful, intuitive healer. She is gifted in assisting you in clarifying what needs to be healed, so you can experience more freedom, agency, and vitality in your life and relationships. Learn more about Lena‘s work .


Letter to My Mom, Mildred Blackmon McEwen

Give her roses while she can still enjoy them. ~ Earnest McEwen, Jr. (my father)

Dear Mama ~

It isn’t your birthday or Mother’s Day. Christmas is over. Epiphany, too. It’s the beginning of a glorious New Year… 2009… and I’m writing this letter to honor you. I want to thank you for the singular blessing you’ve poured and continue to pour into my life: you!

You are that blessing. Your life is a poem, a mighty spiritual, a testimony of gratitude, faith, and love. And this letter is a celebration of you.

Your road has been long; your journey has not been easy. Bigotry and prejudice fortified you, teaching you how to love even more deeply and how to see not just with your anatomical eyes, but also to see with the eyes of your heart. Greatest of all, you relied on God’s love and strength rather than your own. In this you gave me the gift of faith and unconditional love for myself and others.

You also gave me what my sister-friend and fellow poet Nikky Finney would say is the gift of being “a woman with keys.” A woman with keys moves in a particular way and she has a responsibility, an obligation to help others find theirs, help them move through their rooms, cross their thresholds, unlock their windows and doors on the journey to claim their promise.

I remember as a little girl, you gave me the precious gift of encouragement. When you said over and again, “Be all that God intended you to be—no matter what, come what may.” I now offer that gift back to my daughter, other family members, my students, clients, and friends.

I remember your humility and sacrifice. For many long years you and Daddy toiled and sacrificed so that my sisters and I could have a better life than the ones you’d known. I remember your and Dad’s Mississippi stories of struggle and strife, of Dad’s deep longing to go to college to better himself and improve our lot, of him working as a janitor at Ole Miss and there, by the grace of God, William Faulkner came into his life and paid for Dad to attend Alcorn A&M College, with no strings attached. I remember you working as a teacher and cook in the nursery school to help make ends meet, Dad’s working at low-paying jobs even with his college degree. I remember you both standing on your rock-solid values of hard work, gratitude, faith, love, and integrity.

I also remember the profound lessons you taught me—to lend others a helping hand, to be of service to others… your constant reminders to do something with my time, to make myself useful. Even if I was already occupied doing something! Today your words echo in my soul as the voice of legacy. Early on, you taught me, Doris, Annie, Debbie, and Vera that you make a living by what you choose as your work, and you make a life by what you do for others.

I remember when I asked what compelled you to go along with Daddy’s “impossible” dreams, you said, “I loved your father and I believed in him. More importantly, we had an abiding faith in Almighty God, and He never gave us more than we could handle, and His grace always saw us through.” Even when you didn’t have any idea of how our family would make it, your love and faith sustained you.

Thank you for giving me a legacy that values education, character, as well as loving, lifting up, and helping others with no strings attached. Thank you for painting on the canvas of eternity with your unshakable belief in the nobility of the human spirit, for painting with a palette imbued with the qualities of humility, faith, love, triumph, and the capacity to treat every human being with dignity and respect. Through you, I have a small glimpse of God’s magnificence, devotion, and triumph.

Because of you, I know—deep in my bones—a few things: if you want change, you must stir the waters and be willing to get out of the boat. If you want change, then you have to invest your heart and soul in the generations to come. I also know that each person must live the legacy that God has intended just for him or her, which means that you can’t hide your light under a bushel. You have to dare to wear your soul on the outside, and keep on keeping on—no matter what, and we have to pass it on by building sturdy bridges for others to cross.

Mother, thank you for being a diva in my life, for not merely talking about blessings… but for being the blessing, and for passing it on!

Love and honor, your daughter Gloria


The Legacy Living Network is a resource I’ve created for all of us. Here we can share our ideas, adventures, stories, hopes, struggles, dreams, and triumphs.

This Network is a collective of individuals from all over the world, individuals who are digitally-connected who also share common values—to be of service to one another, and to others. This is a place to share our wealth from our spirit and our soul.

I have endeavored to live my life with stewardship and service to others as central themes. Many of you do so as well. As we know, there are so many ways we can be of service to the world, and here as part of the Legacy Living Network you can offer your love and light to spark the imagination and thinking of your fellow subscribers:

  • Perhaps you can share a story that shows how your choices have made you who you are today.
  • Maybe something is going on in your life and you want feedback or creative input.
  • Perhaps you’d like to recommend a book or website that has inspired you to take that important step toward achieving your goal.
  • Maybe you have a quick thought you could add to join in on the discussion.

The Legacy Living Network is here for all of these reasons and more. It is what we make it. It is our service to the world and to each other… our community space where we can share our lives and unfolding legacies… as each of us consciously creates something of enduring value that will benefit the present and future generations.

Again, welcome, and enjoy!

Blessings. Pass It On!

~ Gloria J. Burgess, PhD

There’s an old saying, “Any road will get you there if you don’t know where you’re going.” Most of us live our lives this way, wandering from one thing to the next, in our relationships, projects, jobs. But do we really have a focal point in our lives?

Without a focal point and without intention, it’s easy to become distracted, bored, or make poor choices. When we’re intentional and have a focal point as our compass, it’s easier to walk a path of thoughtful choices.

Legacy living offers you that path.

My life’s focus is service to others, so I’m wired to look out for other people who might benefit in some small or big way from what I can offer them: a smile, a cup of tea, a hug, an encouraging word , an uplifting story, or perhpas a listening ear and helping hand through my coaching and consulting practice.

When you live with intention and have a specific focus in your life, you can say YES to the opportunities that surround you. In this way, you consciously create something of enduring value that will benefit both the present and future generations.

Learn more about living with intention and being of service in my latest book, Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside.

How do you stay connected to your focal point in life? Click Leave a Comment below and suppport others with your thoughts.

For those of us in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, our recent warming weather is a reminder that spring is on its way. It’s also a reminder to pay attention to seeds you’ve sown along your journey.

Tell us, what seeds have you sown, and how are you nurturing them so they’ll bear fruit this year and beyond?

What a difference one life makes.

Today in honor of Black History Month, we celebrate and lift up Mary McLeod Bethune, visionary Founder of Bethune-Cookman University.

More than an educator, Bethune was also an activist for women’s rights and civil rights, inspirational leader, and community servant. The daughter of slaves, Bethune was a pivotal member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Black cabinet.” serving as the only African-American woman and one of the 20 highest-ranking officials in his administration.

Founder and president of the National Council of Negro Women, Ms. Bethune also served as president of the National Association of Colored Women. More than anything else, she was a friend to and model for thousands upon thousands of black women.

When writing about her death, one columnist wrote, “She gave out faith and hope as if they were pills and she some sort of doctor.”

Faith and hope indeed.

Ms. Bethune, we celebrate and lift you up. Girls and women everywhere owe you a deep debt of gratitude for your vision, faith, hope, love, fortitude, creativity, resilience, and perseverance. Thank you for paving the way and for passing the torch.  Thank you for showing us what legacy living is all about!

This post is by Vera McEwen. Thanks for sharing your heart, Sis.

Legacy Living…Daring to Wear My Soul on the Outside, these books in addition to the your wonderful workshops guide and inspire me.

Leaving my job of nearly 20 years to home school and open a CranioSacral Therapy (CST) practice was a huge leap of faith.  We are heading into our fifth amazing year and I am thrilled!  Thank you for the spur :o).

We have our times of stress and we’ve found that spending time in nature removes all stress.

Not to long ago we had a very stressful week!  We’d finally settled into our new home after the third move in less than a year; the practice…very busy; my daughter Adrianna however, was feeling a bit left out.  I did not know it at the time, but a mini-break to the country was just what we needed.  As we began to leave the city, I rolled the windows down, the fresh smell of hay, and greenness filled the car.  As we left the car to walk toward the horses, peace surrounded us guiding us toward two lovely horses.  Mmm…it was so nice to feel the warmth of their skin next to mine, and they took all tension out of my hands, arms, shoulders, neck, head, and spine.  I was engulfed in a sea of horse hair, it tickled my nose, and made me smile.  We tacked up and rode.  Adrianna, was initially at odds with her lovely black and white paint horse.  Then as the tension and stress of the week passed, she became one with her horse.  It is amazing to watch someone transform from rider to whisperer. She was amazing.  Many thanks to Michele Deboer, she offers lessons and de-stress days for only $20 per person.  She creates a safe environment; it is slow, peaceful, gentle, relaxing, and most of all healthy for horse and rider.  I recommend her place to all who need a gentle break (kids, family, friends, etc).

God has placed us in the care of nature for a reason, that WE may be transformed by it.  Nature, easily removes the stress of your week by allowing you to remember who you are and “whose you are!”  Get out in nature, walk on the soil and leave the pavement behind; let sand surround your toes; tilt your head back, feel the fresh air against your face; and…breath…breath in…fill your lungs with…light.

That night, Adrianna peacefully lay in my arms.  We said the Lords prayer in Latin…together…I stoked her lovely face, long hair and I felt, God’s peace surround me.

We are here to love one another; hug your child, spouse, friend and let him or her be the first to let go.  Tell a friend thank you for kick starting your day with a jog.  Hold hands with your loved ones and feel the warmth of their skin.  Let others see you do these things so that they will know whose you are!

I love you all, may your day be filled with love.

May you be blessed on this liquid sunshine day.