Meg Newhouse Publishes “Legacies of the Heart”
Reflecting, Choosing Impact of One's Life Gives Later Years Meaning
Legacies of the Heart, Meg Locke Newhouse’s “long-gestating” book is now available for all of us. In Legacies, Meg provides an unconventional compass for discovering our own legacies and answering legacy questions. The book guides us to a more conscious imprinting of our legacy—the impact of our lives—on the memories and values of those we touch and in the material records we leave behind.
Classmates who knew Meg at Wellesley won’t be surprised to learn of her lifelong efforts to elicit “passion and purpose” in all those around her: students, clients, and family and friends. For the past two decades, her work with people in midlife and beyond has aimed to help them find ways to craft fulfilling and contributing lives. Out of this work, her interest and work in legacy evolved naturally over the past several years.
In her introduction to Legacies, Meg describes an inspiration for her focus on legacy that occurred at a museum in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, near a mural showing three very early human beings fleeing a volcano. Meg recognized the real marvel in a cast of the three’s footprints formed 3.6 million years ago and recently found in nearby lava ash. As she traced the millennia-old bits around the footprint casts, Meg realized that the legacy of these unique lives lived on in the impressions their feet had made on the earth. She comments:
Most of us leave behind “footprints” that vanish within a few generations at best. Nonetheless, these footprints are our precious, unique legacies, connecting us with unborn generations. I believe that we humans are hard-wired to find and make meaning of our lives, to make a positive difference, and to hope that some evidence that we existed and mattered continues.
She subsequently declares:
The question for us all is this: How do we live so that we shape our legacies consciously, so that the best of who we are and what we value lives on, at least in our family, for at least three generations? Can we preserve our footprints that long?
This book challenges you to consciously cultivate your legacies, from early adulthood and especially as you navigate midlife and elderhood. Legacies improve with a special kind of intention and attention, which I have described using the concept of living and leaving legacies of the heart.
. . .
While Meg recognizes “legacy” as an enormously complex concept, she distills its gist to “the imprint of our lives that endures in some form. . . our essence and our actions, our being and doing [that] lives on in the memories of those we have touched and in their own essences and actions, and in tangible records of all kinds that embody or signify the intangible qualities.”
She further explains that three frequent deathbed questions show the importance of leaving the world with a sense of meaning and completion:
Have I given and received love?
Did I live my life and not someone else’s?
Have I left the world a little better than I found it?
In Legacies, Meg urges that these questions not be left till the end of life and sets forth various means to navigate the later years to create a life which has meaning to others and has made some positive difference to the world. She says: “I want to be more intentional and generous as I continue to leave my footprints.”
Legacies of the Heart is available in print at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Create Space. An e-book will follow. Meg hopes we will read it, like it, recommend it to others and, please, will do her “the great honor and favor" of writing an Amazon review – "sooner rather than later!” You can learn more at her book website www.megnewhouse.com as well as her renovated site www.passionandpurpose.com.
After teaching, and earning her Master’s and doctorate in Political Science, Meg worked as a Life Coach. In 2002 she founded and co-led the Life Planning Network, a national community of professionals committed to a holistic model for helping people thrive in the second half of life; she’s been engaged with the Conscious Elders Network from its early stages. She’s helped plan five Positive Aging conferences and written three how-to books, as well as co-edited LPN’s Live Smart After 50.
Meg’s other passions include her husband Joe, children and grandchildren and friends––plus music (our ’63 Memorial Service was graced by her lovely flute playing), public policy, yoga, nature, travel, and all kinds of learning and personal/spiritual growth. She and Joe live in suburban Boston.