Mapquest Your Inspiration (a/k/a Hey, Is That Your Butt on Fire Over There?)

Inspiration.

It’s what lights a fire under your ass and gets you moving forward, not living a stagnant life.

Many of us operate by inspiration and don’t even realize that we’re doing it. We think of that term as one of those frilly, flowery words that those “woo woo” New Age people throw around, but it’s a word more people should be using, contemplating and talking about EVERY day.

Why is that, I hear some of my realists and straight talkers ponder. Because when we turn on the TV, as I did yesterday afternoon when I returned from a lunch appointment, the news that sometimes comes up to greet us can be daunting. It can be enough to convince us that there is so much hatred, pain and gloom in the world, that we should simply turn around, hop back into bed and throw the covers over our heads.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this isn’t a wonderful way to spend the afternoon and have done so many times before, but sometimes what we see and hear around us can be paralyzing. It is inspiration that fuels a fire in our belly to DO, to GO, to IMAGINE that no matter what it looks like outside, there is always more. Somewhere out there.

So this week, I asked you to get over your own prejudices about the word “inspiration” (should you have it) and contemplate where your sources of inspiration lie in your own life. The question:

What are your sources of inspiration and how do they inspire you?

I hope you took a morning walk and thought about it or maybe if you write in a daily journal, considered this topic something worth a few minutes of your time.

I derive inspiration from many sources.

I am inspired by special people in my life — my husband, my sons and their family, my dog – to follow my dream and hopefully get out the messages that I hope will touch other people’s lives. If in the process, I can be successful in really reaching people, if I can also ultimately improve the quality of life for my loved ones, even better. That drives me.

I derive inspiration from human connection — that moment you and another person realize that you are on the exact same plane, all alone straddling the clouds together, talking enthusiastically on something you both feel passionate about. There’s nothing more exhilarating and exciting, and in that moment, I am fueled to take that moment of connection and channel it into something inspired by the conversation- a song, poem, character in a book, blog…something!

I find inspiration in fresh air — Okay, I know this one sounds bizarre. But I can be sitting at my keyboard, my favorite tea beside me (Good Earth, black chai vanilla decaf, if Santa or any of his elves are wondering), my awesome dog snoring away peacefully and a completely free day ahead for writing…and hit a concrete wall – THUD. Then step outside, and as soon as the many smells of winter and conservation behind our house and Christmas and all of those other wonderful smells, sights and sounds are absorbed, and the fresh air tickles my nose and fills up my lungs, I am so full of energy, peace and best of all, inspiration. The ideas come flooding through and I’m charged and ready to go. With one simple step outside and a few good inhales. Mmm. It’s amazing what a little oxygen can do. It reminds you …that’s right. You’re alive, blockhead. Now do something valuable with that bit of news.

I am inspired by Italian art and architecture— I see a picture from Florence or Rome, and I immediately transport myself back to the greatest travel adventure of my life, something I’ve yet to experience again but do hope to once more – someday.

Florence

I’m sure this was what fueled my interest and love in a book series this year (Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard) whose main characters embodied all things Florence – the history, the storytelling, the art, the architecture, the food, the landscape, the passion. I haven’t lost my infatuation with that place and I know that I will go back again someday and when I do, I will see it with a new set of eyes but until then, each read, each view, each contemplation really sets my heart afire just thinking about it and inspires me to make that return journey again.

I am inspired by the opportunity of good will carried forward — Yeah, that’s right the “Pay It Forward” concept. (Not as crazy about the movie, which despite my complete adoration of anything with Kevin Spacey in it except maybe Superman Returns —<shudders> — but the ending of the film PAY IT FORWARD pissed me off beyond belief!) The concept, however, is so intriguing. I am instinctively a hopeful person. Sometimes I think to others I may come across as a glass half-empty person but I’m not. Not really. In my heart, I am always half-full but through my experiences, I have been faced with some personal disappointments and heartache that has definitely left some scars and I have to make a concerted effort sometimes to have faith in others. I try really hard but it isn’t always easy, I’ll admit. I have felt let down a lot but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that you can only be let down if you set expectations in such a way that creates a no-win, and often, I’ve done just that – created an impossible scenario so there was only one thing that could happen – disappointment.

I know, that deep in my heart, I’m an idealist. I always believe people can be good, that they are inherently good and that the circumstances of their life now, their past, their surroundings and their ability to satisfy their basic needs shade this part of who they are. For some, it lightens it and for others, darkens. So in this way, as part of that outer world, I see each of us playing a part, having an influence, in some way – big or small. I have to believe that. I’ve just got to. Even when news like yesterday’s tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut might try to convince me otherwise…though I do realize that biology and body chemistry also play significant roles in someone’s words, actions and judgment.

I try to force myself every day to look for opportunities to create settings that cultivate good will, not pain, not fear, not anger. Some days, it’s easier than others. (Usually those days where I don’t have to face bumper-to-bumper traffic or go shopping at WalMart…otherwise, look out!) I don’t believe in karma, yet I do believe that the actions, words and energy you generate and deliver to the world really do have more power than we remember sometimes. We have the power to heal or hurt — educate or block — help or sideline — encourage or silence. I am inspired by that fact…that as human beings, we have the ability to make this choice every day with the words and actions we elect to wield and how we use this personal power. And when I see others using it in positive, healing and enlightening ways, I feel energized myself and can’t wait to follow their lead.

How about you? What inspires you — to do what you do? To carry forth whatever you think is the reason you’re sticking around here on Earth? To be a better person?

I’d love to hear from you. As always, thank you for reading. It really means a lot to me, and I just wanted to tell you that from the bottom of my heart.

Cheers to finding that daily spark in your life!
~ Chris

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