Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Living an Inspired Life
It seems that many of us look for inspiration in outside sources - movies, literature, religious leaders, whatever we choose to take in as inspirational material. Inspiration is often thought of in relation to creativity and the arts, but for right now, let's think of it in the sense of a quote that you feel inspired by. I find inspiration in the rare experience of silence, Bears' books and CD's, magic moments in nature shared with my sons and wife, and so on. How amazing to have such a richness of awesomeness in our universe! Just check this out (takes a minute to load, move the slider around)! Woah!
While there are an infinite number of things we could appreciate and derive inspiration from out there, we will not even take notice unless we're ready to, and that readiness comes from within. Waiting for it to happen to us is not exciting or effective. In eating a delicious apple, we aren't going to focus our minds on as many of the little taste bud messages of flavor and sensation being absorbed by our brains as we can... unless that's what we choose to do in that moment. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Wouldn't it be sweet if every time we observed a sunset, we were physically unable to do anything but be transfixed, uplifted, and spellbound? And, what if every movie we watched gave us goosebumps and in some way redined us for the better? Alas, inspiration is not a given. On the flip side, inspiration is out there for the taking!
Yesterday, I went to the vet with Gia the Cat, who needed a booster shot. During the intake process, an eleven-year-old, who happens to be a friend and violin student of mine, came out from an examination room, apparently holding back tears. I asked her how she was, and the tears began to flow. Her kitten was being put to sleep after an accident that left it with no chance of survival. We hugged. I realized as we hugged how much closer I felt to this friend I already loved very much. We sat down and talked for a bit about our ideas of what happens after we die. I loved her belief that we all go wherever we will be the happiest, and told her. I shared with her the wonderful make-believe, "cause is in the future". She actually laughed, seemingly delighted with the idea that somewhere down the line, she might look back at the loss of her kitten and see how perfect it was that it happened, or that it would certainly lead to something wonderful she might not even be aware of, somewhere in the world. A few minutes later, her mom, also one of my dearest friends, came out with a cardboard box and bloodshot eyes. We also hugged and then looked at each other with a new depth, in silence. For me, the cause for their kitten being put to sleep was to have the opportunity to open myself up more to loving my friends and expanding our connection.
I could say that this vet visit "inspired me", but that's too passive - it didn't just happen to me. I moved into the moment without limits. I didn't worry about saying the right or wrong thing, or showing empathy. In truth, I was smiling a lot of the time. That didn't offend anyone or feel unnatural. And my awareness was that I had not before opened myself to freely loving even my oldest and close friends. Yes, I freely love my wife and family, but my belief was that friends were people that you gave less love to than your wife or family, and of course my response to this belief was that I held back as I connected with my friends. If that's even possible.
A parallel could be drawn here to my first experiences with the Option Process Dialogue. I had a similar feeling of consciously dropping all reservations and opening up to what I might learn - despite the fear that the dialogue would likely end in disappointment in myself. But as I explored more and more, I found myself enjoying the ability to look at myself comfortably and objectively, and loving every leap into self-understanding and awareness.
Inspiring ourselves is a choice. (I think I've heard that somewhere before.) We can certainly choose to not be inspired, to close ourselves off from experiences and not open up into them. I want to live an inspired life, and I'm finding that this requires really opening up and going for it. Every chance I have to question my self-limiting behavior and find self-limiting beliefs, I take it! Rather than wait for the opportunity to be inspired at a concert, at The Option Institute, or when we see a double rainbow (because a single rainbow isn't special enough), why not practice awareness, acceptance, and appreciation in our lives? Let's give ourselves every treat we can grab and then relish it! And why not inspire ourselves with how far we've come in ourselves... by deciding on and actually taking the steps to get where we want to go!