Feeling Inspired?

This week I’m feeling inspired, are you?

I was inspired by bunches of leftover celery, broccoli, chicken, and parsley to make soup.

I’m inspired by the incredibly blue sky and moderate temperatures to spend more time outside.
I’m inspired by my increasing strength and flexibility to continue adding weights to my yoga workout.
I feel inspired to create a new bread recipe because I can visualize the taste and texture I want it to have.
I feel inspired to continue to do work that I love rather than choosing a more traditional path.

Where does this inspiration originate?

I don’t really know the answer to that. I believe we all have the capacity within us to be inspired at any moment. I also know that I value the feeling so I am open to it. I put myself in environments that support it. I seek out lectures, poetry readings, concerts, movies, computer programming crash courses, waterfalls, meandering routes, good books, amazing coffee, and tasty morsels that have the potential to stimulate my mind and arouse my creativity.

Last week, I took a few hours away from work to attend a documentary film festival. I love that festival. It’s been providing me with incredible experiences for more than 20 years. This year, I fell in love with the movie, “The Man Who Saved Ben Hur”. I felt especially inspirited by the aliveness of 102-year-old Max in “Love at a Certain Age”, and I was fascinated by the audience patter throughout, “Mission Control Texas”. I appreciate the filmmakers desire to illuminate their subjects and share them with us.

It would have been easy to decide I was too busy to drive an hour to watch movies that most people have never heard of. With virtually no effort, I could have convinced myself that it would be more responsible to spend my time working. I could have squelched my happy anticipation, put my nose to the grindstone, and knocked out another project. But here’s the thing…the work would have felt like drudgery and I would have deprived myself of something that feeds me, and thereby, my work.

As I listened to a lecture a day or two later by Anne-Marie Slaughter regarding the need for family leave and flexible workplaces, I was struck by the truth that many people fear they will be penalized for acting as if they care about anything besides their career. That can’t be healthy for us, just as not caring about our jobs can’t be healthy for our businesses. But the quickest way to get us to stop caring about our jobs is to send us the message that we must sacrifice our family or ourselves to do so.

What is the balance point?

I don’t know that I have the answer to that either, but I am certain that filling a day with nothing but drudgery, fear, stress, obligation, and monotony does not yield the best quality product let alone the best life. Some people seem to inherently grasp this and find a way to play, enjoy, and transcend the environment, but many others do not feel as though they have the luxury.

If you feel stuck in nothing but drudgery and unable to see the possibilities that might inspire you…

Maybe you can begin to feel inspired by a tiny rebellion or two! Rebellion suits my contrarian nature. I’ll eat dessert first. Throw away (donate, or gift) something that I thought I just had to have. Follow the 5 second rule. Watch an episode of South Park. Read “Runny-Babbitt”. Walk backward for a block. Wear flowers and stripes together. Eat on paper plates for a week. Keep my fork in my left hand after I cut my meat and eat European style. Impersonate someone new every day. Tell the truth when someone asks how I am.

How does this help? These small acts remind me to challenge my own beliefs and not to take things so seriously. The world will not end if someone looks at me funny for wearing stripes and flowers together (really mom, see the world is still spinning). A sense of perspective helps me see past my immediate concerns to the greater possibilities.

If rebellion doesn’t work for you, try safety and comfort to get you started. I like to dig out my favorite afghan or microwaveable pillow and get snuggly warm. I’ll drink hot tea, repot my houseplants, carry a book with me, cook biscuits, say no, and binge watch a TV show with a strong leading character who makes me feel safe.

The point of all this is to remind myself that I can change my internal environment by making very small changes to my external environment and that I am always in charge of my choices. From this position, it is much easier to shift into better balance in my life. It’s like placing ball bearings in a tall building in earthquake prone California. I give myself the ability to shift with outside forces without threat to the structure of my well-being.

That is the point from which I’m most open to embracing life and all of its incredible inspiration.
Speaking of, I just watched the most beautiful sunrise! What inspires you?




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