Celebrating What Inspires Us
Moments of triumphant achievement may inspire us. We receive the recognition of a major award or the thrill of winning a significant contest. The overwhelming experience of creating an artistic or scientific or professional masterpiece can be our inspiration.
We may see ourselves in the lives of people we admire. It inspires us to continue working when we imagine what we would say in our acceptance speech or how it would feel to hold a trophy.
Scenes of natural beauty or experiences which change our lives or visiting exotic places can inspire us. Finding exactly the right word or phrase inspires us. Some of us may be inspired to find the right answer and others to ask a good question at the right time.
We may be inspired by a floor to ceiling display of knitting yarn in its many colors.
It can be easy for us to forget to celebrate what inspires us. We may assume other people or the calendar determine when and how we celebrate. There appear to be certain days to celebrate specific things regardless of how inspired we are.
I understand celebration, and inspiration, differently. We celebrate what inspires us no matter what the calendar tells us.
Each of us creates our own celebrations. What inspires us is personal and unique to us.
Other people cannot tell us how and when it is appropriate to celebrate our inspiration.
The holidays which crowd our schedules can be confusing and overwhelming. Many of us lose touch with what inspires us and simply go through the motions.
Inspiration and celebration are not about going through the motions.
We look for meaningful opportunities to celebrate inspiration. How do we celebrate inspiration in our everyday lives?
Waking Up to What Inspires Us
I was brought up to be skeptical about inspiration.
Working hard and being organized seemed to be more important than whatever inspired me. Being practical was more valued than being passionate.
I was good at doing what people expected me to do so I set out to become a person who could get things done. After college I went to law school and became a criminal prosecutor; I was a person who could give other people answers and results. My working life took me to a series of jobs. Each job helped me make a good living. Part of my career was trying to make each job more like what I hoped it would be.
I did what people expected of me.
Over time drops of inspiration would land on me, wearing away the expectations which had built up on the surface.
I realized I was asleep to what inspired me, and I began to wake up. My balance began to tip in the direction of inspiration.
Now each day is about being awake to what inspires us. Our work can be challenging. It helps us explore and discover our true selves.
How can we find ways to celebrate what inspires us each day? Our celebrations do not need to be elaborate or complicated. There are no traditional requirements we need to meet. Each day can reveal its own forms of celebration.
Inspiration will also reveal our grief or our fatigue to us. Spiritual life tells us deep truths and not all our truths are comfortable or enjoyable. We learn to celebrate losses and frustrations as well as triumphs and victories.
Appreciating What Inspires Us
How do we recognize what, or who, inspires us?
What do we mean when we say something or someone inspires us?
When was the last time we were inspired, or we inspired someone else?
Many of us think about inspiration as something connected to spiritual life. Our word inspire comes from Old French and Latin words for breathing or blowing into something or someone. The word described how spiritual life breathes new life into us.
Spiritual life inspires and breathes new life into us.
Some of us can feel inspired by ornate buildings with valued ceilings, by the aroma of burning candles or incense. We may find more inspiration in serving others and helping people who need it.
Our inspiration comes to us in different situations. Other people, particular experiences, the demands of everyday life, or something we read may inspire us. The challenge for each of us is to recognize and appreciate what inspires us and how we will respond to it.
Responding to What Inspires Us
What inspires us and how do we respond to inspiration?
I need to take time to listen and understand when something inspires me. It is tempting and easy to become swept up in the emotions of inspiration.
How we respond to what inspires us and celebrate the people who inspire us reflect our inspiration.
We celebrate the people who inspire us when we follow their example. We share their stories with other people and describe the ways they inspire us.
It is as simple as people who are inspired to knit by a wall of different colors of yarn. They get caught up in all those colors and the joy they get from knitting. It inspires me to see them do something I could never do and turn all those colors into practical things.
Celebrating what inspires us means paying attention and giving credit where it is due. Each day brings us new inspiration.
Who inspires us today?
How will we celebrate what inspires us today?
When will we take time to recognize and celebrate what inspires us this week?
[Image by ulricaloeb]
Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and coach in Southern California. He has served as an assistant district attorney, a college associate professor, and is a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com and his email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.