I’ve talked twice recently with longstanding professional artists about legacy.

Floyd Tunson and Mark Wong both shook off the idea of their work in that longest view. They work for themselves, their visions, and let the rest play out as it will.

In recent months, I’ve transitioned from the workaday career to the heart-centered path I’ve long, long fantasized about and feel simply is a matter of humanity. The priority.

I wrote poetry during that time, some of which speaks to my inner workings during that workaday stretch. Here is a poem I wrote while sitting in rush hour traffic in 2010. I was on my way home from work at a pet food company.

 

The Hourglass

Sitting in traffic

I feel heartbeats slipping

down the hourglass’ tireless

throat and dial down

my fantasies

accordingly

 

Now, Humanitou is my platform for expressing and developing the authentic me with something of meaning to share. It’s my practice and my tool for giving voice to my best self, and the humanness and others.

With my focuses on creativity and yoga, service and connection, leadership and communication … all I have been, am and will be has come together here.

But I still question myself.

I question if I’m doing enough. I am in awe of prolific, creative people (e.g. Austin Kleon, Seth Godin, Don Goede). I sometimes think “prolific” is a descriptor I’d like to carry in my obituary.

So I wonder when I sit back to watch Netflix with my wife each evening after our boys are in bed if I’m wasting what I have to offer, if I’m being lazy, if I’m failing.

It occurs to me I’m talking about two things: legacy and enoughness.

 

While I Was Away | Humanitou Poetry

Legacy

For someone to create prolifically hints at legacy. Otherwise, where does all their work — the lasting energy of what they have put out to the world — go?

Even if we only hold onto our work in digital form, it piles up in a virtual landscape of files and folders and invisible clouds. What are we to do with those remnants when our bones are fed back into the earth?

And to crush the clock every day, simply because we can? Or because now I love how, what, who and why I’m engaging in life more than ever?

Doing that tells me I am trying to apply the workaday clock-punching mentality I always dreaded to myself and my life’s work. I’ve been so trained.

I’ve always protested that mentality, saying the quality and value I provide in my work has very little to do with the time I spend on it, be it a little or a lot. The work and its meaning are the thing.

Enoughness

I drop off my sons each morning. I pick them up each afternoon. The hours between are my time to do my life’s work. My family gets priority for my time beyond those boundaries, and as needed.

Come to think of it, that also carries a rich legacy. The richest.

I used to read poetry to my sons when they were in the womb. And throughout the pregnancy with our first son, I wrote it for him.

For example, I wrote “While I Was Away” on June 5, 2010. I was on a work trip for the aforementioned pet food company:

 

While I Was Away

If you missed my reading bedtime poetry

the first weekend in June of the year

of your birth … If you wondered

where Sandburg and Kooser,

Collins and Harrison, and so

many poetas Cubanos went while my voice

fell silent, deep in the South for

the premise of making a living (while

foregoing a life), know

I missed it, too, that

on a muggy Saturday morn in

Georgia, I sat through a

presentation about gut health

and fecal this-and-that in dogs, staring

into an empty coffee cup, and hoping

you have been busy, writing into

your own sense of poetry

in my absence, tapping verses

with the tips of your fingers and

toes, giving Mama smiles and company,

love and hope more intimate and accurate

than the pens of Harrison and Collings,

Kooser and Sandburg could dream, streaming

the rhythms of Taos new and bold and filled

with satisfaction.

Know I missed reading bedtime poetry

the first weekend in June

of the year of your birth

while I was away.

 

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When my sons were babies, I told them: You are my poems of greatest consequence, and always will be.

When I was younger — pre-parenthood — I would have thought it hokey to say, but that has to be my truest legacy, the one that counts.

The rest just is. Enough.


Title Photo: unsplash-logoPablo García Saldaña