I have decided to begin a journey of recording moments of things that inspire me. This could go on for a day or two, though it’s more likely to last a few weeks or even more as I find myself constantly inspired by moments both large and small. Life is chock full of these moments – the little ones sometimes just as significant as the big ones, for we all know how much can shift in an instant. A mere word here, small gesture there can literally change someone’s life.
I can’t be the only one to be amazed at life, can I?? I know I’m not, but still find that not everyone is so struck by the majesty of existence. Someone once asked me, “How can anything be special if everything is special?”
What does it mean to be inspired anyway? The first definition the dictionary offers is “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” In my experience, being inspired requires an openness to these kinds of stimulations followed by an internal inquiry. I am often inspired because I believe inspiration and learning can occur at any time, at the hands of any person or situation I experience. But, I must check in with myself, to notice and allow a shift to occur.
The second definition? “The drawing in of breath; inhalation.” To exhale, to give, to do, we must first inhale or take in. Authentic creative action can not occur without some sort of internal spark. As a singer, I LOVE this definition. We can not sing or talk or express without first some sort of inhalation or inspiration. This also speaks to the paradox of “everything is special because everything is special.” Every breath is important – even if they’re just like all the other breaths – because, if they stop, then, well… you’ll die. Pretty straightforward, yeah? Without the figurative kind of inspiration, you just may figuratively die! We don’t want that, now do we?!
Today, I had a meeting with the spiritual director of my interspiritual seminary. We have been in conversation for a while to dream up an intergenerational gathering. We want to create a space where people of her generation (quite a bit older than I) can learn from and relate to people of my younger generation and vice versa, of course. I could go on about our ideas and what this group will look like, but I’m sure more will unfold on that later. What is important right now are the two moments that inspired me.
Diane is, shall we say, more than old enough to be my mother. She has a distinguished career as a psychotherapist, an interfaith minister, and the executive director of my interfaith seminary. Her work in the world inspires me and I’ve even read her name in the acknowledgements section of books by other authors who inspire me. Yet when, during our conversation this afternoon, I offered that maybe she would be the main facilitator of our intergenerational group, she frowned and gave me a look that said, “No way.” The point of this group is to learn from each other, in equity. I know that, of course, but allowed myself to get a little nervous at the thought of co-leading with this accomplished woman. This inspired me to take a look at my feelings of self-worth and honor that I have something to offer here.
My mild neuroses also leads me to get a little over-excited and can tend toward talking out of nervousness. This happened a bit today until I asked Diane a question about which she didn’t readily know her feelings. She took a moment to ponder in silence. I noticed this in stark opposition to what would have been my natural response – keep talking until I land on an answer. This brief moment inspired me to not be so afraid of silence and to accept not knowing the answer just yet.
Seems to be a common theme, eh?