A Full Circle Tangents Blog from keynoter Anthony Poponi
I’ve thought of my own legacy a bit more lately largely inspired by the words of others and the words about others by others. I promise it will get clearer. Pinky swear.
Words by Others: I was honored to be the lunch keynote speaker (with a workshop that followed) at the New Mexico Broadcasters Association’s Summer Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. [Side note: I’m falling in love with New Mexico. enchiladas, arroyos, enchiladas, biking, enchiladas] At the Convention I met two “Susans” from NMBA one being “Good Suzan” and “Other Susan” [implied troublemaker] and a Paula who was kind enough to put her trust in me and called my keynote “splendid.” The awards that followed that night were a reminder to me that I want to leave a legacy.
Tangent: Clarification: I want to leave a powerful and inspiring legacy. Let’s be clear. My current legacy is mostly a list of stories for a eulogy that would start with “can you believe the time he….” and granted they’re great stories and I’m happy to tell said stories over a beverage or ten but I digress. I’m working on the content for a “second eulogy” and it will take time for the content of those stories to unfold and I’m looking forward to the journey.
Back on topic….the comments from the NMBA award recipients were full of grace and outward facing statements thanking and appreciating the people they’ve gotten to know and work alongside along the way. There was a strikingly humble vibe throughout and it made and still makes me smile. Humility is powerful, a connector and healthy. Listen to Dr. James Doty talk about humility if you don’t believe me.
Fast forward a few weeks later to the Celebration of Life for Corrine Collier Cram and the words of others shook me. Corrine’s legacy was shared in the beautiful words of others. A stunning service to honor Corrine. Stunning. Ah! And I didn’t even want to go! I struggle with going to services for those on my periphery and every time I go I walk away gratefully shook. In 2017, Matt Brown left us way too early and I only knew him this much [imagine my fingers pinched tight] and I walked away from his service shaken by the amazing words of so many people in our community. Those words giving me a peek into the life and the impact of a Matt I never knew from my own interactions. His sons, two strong Colorado men, river men, crushed by their loss as were so many others that day. I cried hard as I left his service and I’m so happy to remember that day now. Human suffering is so raw and painful to observe but also has a connecting power that lingers and creates threads that bind.
Those who spoke at Corrine’s service said powerful things about this little ball of energy, vision with action and endless positivity often expressed as a “happy dance”. Corrine’s book “Attraction Based Consciousness” was given away at her service and is my current read and honestly outside of my wheelhouse in general, but the book found me at the right time, I suppose. The chapter on wisdom teachings from different disciplines is chock full of quote-after-quote from disciplines both ancient and contemporary. A reminder that there are higher truths in most forms of spirituality and it’s so odd to me that something that should bring us together somehow is so divisive. [A resigned head shake]. Corrine lived an inspired and inspirational life. Her service shook me and I thank her for it.
Tangent: Don’t undervalue community. Great books from Dan Beuttner, Richard Florida and Peter Kageyama talk about community and the “why” of “what” our communities need to provide and “how” community affects our happiness. I think about my community all the time and love visiting new places to get a feel for their community.
I make at least one trip a month to Denver for work and trainings and enjoying going for new food, new communities and more of doing the work I love. This past visit I was LATE LATE LATE. That’s late 3 times on three consecutive days for three different clients. And after construction delays, accident related days and both accidents coupled with construction (&%$^#!) delays I craved the uncrowded mountain valley I call home. Get me back home where “heavy traffic” means a 4 minute delay through town! Context from the duality of communities.
Off and on for the past 10 years the Gunnison Valley has been my community. What’s my legacy here in the Gunnison Valley as it relates to my work? Mostly rivers and water. Certainly, there were other roles within community in the form of events and gatherings (Tuesday Night Supper Club!), parody plays, and sports all sorts (rhyming!) but probably mostly water. My fondness for water is not uncommon. Rivers, creeks, oceans, wetlands, marshes, lakes (meh) are my connection to my current legacy. Humbly I say there are those who have done a TON more for these local waters and my contribution is just that….my contribution to a larger effort by tons of great
nerds water people, scientists and the like. Awesome people. But now I’m distant to those efforts as a professional. As I stood alongside “Secret Creek” today and I was wowed by the terrain, the power and the health of a vibrant riparian area. I love creeks as much as any other water body. Wading in a creek with Chacos strapped on and board shorts immersed in the creek while fishing (more than catching) until my feet are cold and legs battered from the bush-whacking and stumbling along the round rocks all whilst trying to trick a fish or two – that’s connecting to water. My “past life” here involved working with the Gunnison River Festival and Coal Creek Watershed Coalition (CCWC) and I worked hard to build those organizations up from where they were and put a lot of passion into those efforts and loved doing it for the most part. Passion in your work isn’t just ideal, it’s critical. Ask me more in an email about passion and engagement, flow and purpose!
At the Gunnison River Festivals kick off party at IBar Ranch the logo we chose a dozen years ago (screams brand refresher!) was all over collateral and merch and made me smile and in Crested Butte the CCWC still has signage around Crested Butte along bridges over Coal Creek. Bridges of the Butte participants roaring by on townies as part of one of the finest and funnest fundraisers ever. My 30 miles on my townie felt like 300 and my costume resulting in a highly unique “first burn” being my rewards for this great cause. Ah summer, I love you!
Full-Circle: The Wailers returned to the IBar Ranch again this year with a tribute band called 40 Ounces to Freedom opening. The lead singers both give great tribute to the legacy of Bob Marley and Brad Nowell both leaving us too early. I filled-in as DJ on KBUT public radio recently and played a Memorial Day show featuring artists that left us too early. I forgot to include Sublime in the playlist but it was great to celebrate music and realize tomorrow is not promised. Want the Spotify playlist? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The River Fest hired Pearl Jam Tribute Chicago to kick off the festival and since I was entertaining a “special lady friend, man” I watched from a few feet away as “The Pearl Jam Crazies” and danced and lost their voices (Clintcident) at the front of the stage. Some of those dancing fools formed a mosh pit including all 82 pounds of Kerry “LaFave” [name changed to protect her innocence]. Kerry’s married to Danny LeFebre who’s innocence need not be protected as it left him decades ago likely at a Pearl Jam concert. As I do not have written permission, I will mention their businesses cryptically. They own The D!ve and M@rios. Decipher that, I challenge ye. That dancing and singing, arm-in-arm and well-off key (well-off, not great stuff) is tribe and community and the experts will tell you to fall in love with you community. Do it. It’s good for you. I pinky swear….oh and your workplace is your community. #micdrop
Corrine’s service reminded me to live an inspired life. When you’re inspired no one needs to motivate you no one needs to engage you and you have intrinsically tapped into something and lit a fire that needs no stoking. I’m so fortunate that I have that passion in my life and I look forward to bringing that to my clients on stage or in workshops and webinars.