The juxtaposition of our time in Asia and our time in Italy has been enormous and deep for far too many reasons to articulate. But one thing I am left with is this sense in Italy (and likely more broadly in Europe) of the importance of legacy. History and monuments and towers and art and dilapidated stone, crumbling but left intact. Everywhere we go there is an opportunity for our family to dive into the threads of the history that is told and retold, to learn about the plastered remains of Pompeii or the old paper mills of Amalfi or the underground histories upon histories of Napoli. [I won’t get into whose histories we are learning, but that’s for another day…]
In Thailand and Vietnam, where we spent most of our time, these stories were harder to come by, despite the rich histories and cultures. Is it simply that our poor Thai/Vietnamese skills limited our ability to dive into these histories? Less financial means to memorialize these histories? Or is there a different relationship to history and legacy altogether, retelling in different spaces, with different edifices, with different audiences, with different prioritizations?
In this midlife moment of pause, I’ve been thinking about legacy. There are some people I meet who have this drive, this animating force to erect vestiges of self that live on. And others content to witness those vestiges in their nurtured loved ones. And others who experience 'self' itself as illusory, all things moving in the mystical labyrinthian workings of the cosmos, less concerned about the calcification of the ego and its echoes.
I am sitting here, bracketed in a corner of our Airbnb, as light streams over the Atrani hills. [Note for astute blog readers: we're actually in Palermo now – I wrote this while we were on the Amalfi coast.] Light here is a slow and beautiful thing to witness. As the sun rises in the sky, each portion of the interconnected houses built into the mountain becomes illuminated, the sun slowly sweeping across the valley. Asa and Emmet play Legos quietly in the corner. Obie and Chris sleep in the other rooms. I have my earphones on, immersed in my morning’s wanderings.
My relationship at this point in my life to legacy is tenuous at best. For a long time, I have played with the idea, leaving a particular stamp upon the world, in and beyond my family. I wanted to write a book or to leave a mark on a particular issue. And yet, I couldn’t find the right fit. It was like the draw to legacy was misguided, was not the creative force, an empty façade without the mountain holding it up.
Here’s what I’ve come to. For me, the drive towards legacy lacks both grounding and firepower. What I have come more in tune with over this trip is a magnetic draw to purpose, a clarity of something I have been drawn to throughout my life in different forms, in different moments of lucidity. I don’t care about this self, its temporary form, or the structures it leaves behind. I think for me it is much more a question of harmony or alignment. Like there’s this symphony or synchronization of frequency, weaving threads into a story of my life.
In the same way that having kids felt like part of this story, and I listened to that, so do I feel like various forces have coalesced around something simultaneously new and old: studying the experience of intuition. Intuition has always been a character in my life - often only a bit part and relegated to the wings. At this point in my own evolution, it has now taken center stage.
So as far as what’s next for me professionally, here’s what I’ve come to:
- I will begin an online part-time PhD in the interdisciplinary study and practice of intuition in the Fall.
- I will continue my work in the organizational design/strategy world, seeking out a position based in Vancouver (likely an operational role in an academic institution), so I can nurture more local connections to the world and people around me.
You can follow my new blog - Into Intuition - as I dive into my explorations of the practice, experience, and deepening of intuition. This first post explains a bit more about 'why intuition' and how I ended up here.