The Story of Your Life Carries Great Power, by Monica Williams-Murphy, MD

Friday, 12 Sep 2014 03:45

About Dr. Monica Williams-Murphy (120 Posts)

Dr. Monica Williams-Murphy is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician, who practices in one of the largest emergency departments in the United States at Huntsville Hospital. Through her writing and speaking, she is devoted to transforming the end of life into a time of peace, closure and healing. Media Page

“No man is an island”, John Donne, meditation XVII,  English clergyman and poet (1572-1631)

Ultimately, the story of your life is not your own but affects all whom you have ever known. The story of your life carries great power. That’s why we are so moved by the stories of individuals who have overcome unusual odds.

Therefore, the story of your life is a legacy. The definition of a legacy is a gift which transforms the receiver. The receiver, in this case, could be your spouse, your children, your future unborn family, the community, the nation, or the world.

Indeed, the stories of individual lives have formed the basis and created the motivation for most great cultures and cultural movements- Abraham, Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Lao Tzu, etc, etc. We live by stories and we die by stories– then our own living and dying becomes a story for others.

Do not underestimate who you are and your power to affect others. David O. McKay said that at all times man is radiating what he or she truly is and this radiation affects others and even to some extent the life of the whole world. (For the full and stunning quote, click here.)

The manner of your living and ultimately the manner of your dying has a great effect upon all around you….even the world. As such, it is my belief that events of such power should be recorded for posterity.

The story of your life and it’s lessons should be recorded in audio, video, or
written format. Wisdom emerges in many ways. It is contained not only in the heroic events in our lives, but also is taught when we are able to review the stupid things that we have done. And, most importantly, your unborn great, great, grandchild will need to hear about them both.

Other ideas on how to leave a legacy:

  • Explore the term “ethical will”
  • Connect or construct your family tree and insert your story at
  • Or simply keep a journal :-)
  • Finally, “Live in such a way that when your “sun” sets, others will be inspired by the beauty of your life.” -Monica Williams-Murphy, MD


Our Book: It's OK to Die

"It's OK to Die" is a ground-breaking book filled with graphic stories straight out of the Emergency Room illustrating how most Americans are completely unprepared for death and dying. In response, the authors have created a unique and comprehensive guide urging EVERYONE to prepare in advance, to assure their own peace and to prevent the suffering of their loved ones.
Learn More..

9 thoughts on “The Story of Your Life Carries Great Power, by Monica Williams-Murphy, MD

  1. Rea

    Stories explain ourselves to ourselves. Through stories, we begin to learn who we are and how we are called on to behave. They give power and resonance to a collective vision. Stories give groups a shared identity and sense of purpose. [quotes from Jonathan Sacks]

    Those stories are exactly what you say: a legacy! Whoever survives must tell the story. Hopefully, the story transforms the receivers. That is powerful and as you say, should be recorded somewhere, somehow. It forms part of our Eternity.

    A slightly different thought:
    Great leaders tell the story of the group. The greatest of leaders teach the group to become a “nation” of storytellers. In this sense, Dr. Murphy, you are one of the greatest of leaders.

    1. Rea

      Stories have an important place in medical history. Before the age of modern medical technology, stories were virtually our only means of diagnosing illness. The patient told his story. The doctor had to listen in order to diagnose and treat.

      The field of medicine is different now. Maybe we should look back one more time and bring a little of the listening past into the now and future of medicine.

      Dr. Murphy knows how. More should follow! Our legacies would be a greater gift, then, because someone listened…and we grew from being heard…

      1. Dr. Monica Williams-Murphy Post author

        Certainly an ideal and a goal, Rea. Modern medical practice has compressed the available time down to a tiny crucible, so now we must listen intensely and with “more” of ourselves to “know” the patient and his/her story. It’s a challenge but an utterly worthy one!

  2. Rea

    Also, beautiful picture! Everyone needs beauty as well as bread. Beauty casts its own reflections – in us and thru us to others.

  3. Pingback: The Story of Your Life Carries Great Power, by Monica Williams-Murphy, MD | It’s OK to Die | All Things Palliative - Article Feed

  4. Dave Savage and Beverly Molander


    We absolutely support you in encouraging the sharing and recording of:
    Personal memories
    Family Stories
    Favorite fond Memories
    Family History
    Stories, history and value of your collectibles
    A tour of your home
    Demonstrations of your talents
    Sharing of your wisdom, life lessons learned and advice to family members and future generations – Your Ethical Will
    Sharing of your ethnic and national heritage traditions
    See videos and lists of questions to inspire wonderful family conversations on our website.
    Send an email to get on our list for book launch details
    Dave Savage& Beverly Molander

  5. Rea

    “To be a leader, you don’t need a crown or robes of office. All you need to do is to write your chapter in the story [of many lives, from ancestors to now], do deeds that heal some of the pain of this world, and act so that others become a little better for having known you.” That is a legacy worth having and giving, a gift that transforms. It chooses life, even in dying.

  6. Julie Saeger Nierenberg

    Dr. Monica, I am so glad you wrote this post.

    Largely inspired by some very transformational life events and treasured written legacies handed down in my family, my own life purposes and “work” (as an educator, writer, editor and author coach) have become increasingly focused on the very thing you describe. Now I assist others to leave written legacies for their own personal gratification, as gifts to their families and as testaments of personal truth to the wider world. It’s so empowering to awaken each day knowing that I will be a tool of possibility for others to leave treasured words and stories.

    I recommend it to all. There is no greater gift one can share than the gift of who we are and the journey we travel. These are our stories, our co-creation of community and culture.


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