Designing a Legacy

The last two months (hell, the last year… the last 26 years) smashed my heart into pieces time and time again, and there is no way that I would have been able to sweep up the pieces off the floor and begin gluing them back together (again) without the unconditional love of my nearest and dearest.

Our hearts and bodies do not exist in a vacuum, and neither does our creativity.  We are formed and molded by the relationships around us — and all the relationships that informed those relationships.

Each life, each creative spirit, is a uniquely interwoven push-and-pull of love and rejection that is formed by and an influencer of the community surrounding it. 

If we each are influenced by and influencing the community around us, we each have an obligation to treat that responsibility with awareness and care.  Those who recognize and uphold their influence with care do not just live, they leave a legacy.

This month I am celebrating artists who have actively designed a creative legacy, how they have shaped my creative experience in the here-and-now, and how their creative legacy continues to inspire others.

How did all this come about?  At the end of November, I sat down with several family members to ask if there were artists in my family that I never knew about.  And sure enough, there were writers, preachers, and fearless adventurers littered throughout our genealogy.   Those people, with their passions and pains and insecurities, influenced my grandparents, my parents, and therefore my own upbringing.

However, legacy is not a nostalgia for the past.  Yes, my great-grandparents, my great-uncles, my aunts all influenced the family fabric into which I am woven, but our creative spirit also draws from something more than just a series of past encounters.

Legacy flourishes through devoted attention to the present moment.   Your past will always influence your present, just as your present will influence your future.

With sensitive awareness to your own heart’s health, admission of your flaws, dedication to reacting from a place of caring rather than pain, and devotion to pouring out positive creative energy, you create a rippling impact in your community.  

The work to know, to find the gift within that we have to offer the world, to discover what it is that is our own legacy, you could say, that takes a lot more effort and you just don’t get a lot of space, if you are also concerned about what other people think, that is, to make it. To find the time. To put priorities in the order that fits your heart, not necessarily your practical mind. You have to know these things, in order to change something.

(From On the daunting and fragile task of making space by Dipika Kohli of Design Kompany and Kismuth)

Legacy, which gives honor to the past and is founded in the present, is also an investment in the future — the future of your heart, the future wellbeing of the people around you, and the future wellbeing of people you will never meet.

What legacy are you leaving?  (Yes, please do comment below with your answers!)

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2 responses to “Designing a Legacy

  1. Pingback: A Legacy of Lifelong Passion: Molly Kaplan and Her Minstrels | 13/13/13 Sketchbook Project·

  2. I’m not sure I can be the one to determine what legacy I’m leaving, but I can aim to leave one of presence and connection, listening and encouragement. Thank you so much for this beautiful post.

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