Cindy made a comment on my last blog post about “inspiration.” So, I’ve decided to use that as inspiration for this “I” post. (Lazy, I know. Sue me. I’m a busy woman.)
Inspiration seems like a word that couldn’t possibly go wrong. I mean, who doesn’t want to be inspired? But I have had plenty of times when the very thought makes me feel a little sick to my stomach. Inspiration brings with it so many things. Usually, it makes you want to strive for something, which means hard work, risk and potential failure. Who has the time?
Of course, most of the time I love to be inspired. I find inspiration in many places, including my garden and through my daughter. (Brought to you by the letters G and C.) I find there is never a dull moment in my life because I’m either struggling to survive or being utterly inspired by everything around me. What is in-between? I have no idea. Either I can’t remember or I’ve never experienced in-between. I’m guessing it’s some sort of inky black abyss — kind of like what New Yorkers and Los Angeleans (Angel-ites?) think is in the Midwest.
Since, if I’m being honest with myself (seriously, who has the time?), I must admit I probably only struggle to survive less than 5 percent of the time. That leaves 95 percent of my life to be open for inspiration.
Folks, this is a problem. You see, I really do find inspiration everywhere: in books, art, nature, conversations, fabric, cooking, social media, work, rocks (I mean it), genealogy, people-watching and search engines. I do NOT find inspiration in laundry or housecleaning. I just needed to be clear with you on that.
So, as I’m wandering around through life being inspired by toads, sunshine, coffee and church billboards, my brain fills up with phenomenal ideas. I’ll admit, not every idea I have is phenomenal, but I have a lot of great ideas.
Here is the problem, my friends: what do you do when you have a bajillion great ideas every day?
And how do you ever find time to work among all of those ideas?
Ok, I’m lucky — my job needs me to have quite a few good, great or phenomenal ideas every day. I get to put much of that random inspiration to use. But what about the other 99 percent of a bajillion (is that a million-trillion-zillion or a bazillion?) ideas that I have?
I sometimes joke — although a part of me believes this — that I could be rich, famous and retired if I had a small staff of assistants to bring my ideas to fruition.
Does everyone feel that way? Is this normal?
I’m not sure. Where do people find the time to get into trouble? They must be so uninspired they go out looking for it. So, assuming some of you are sitting out there bored to tears with life and about to open a meth lab, I’m going to share some pointers on how to get inspired.
- Read. Read anything. I recommend, though, picking up anything by Pema Chödrön. (If things are bad for you, try “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.”) I also recommend anything by Isabel Allende. Start with “The House of the Spirits.”
- Listen to Fresh Air on NPR.
- Get addicted to Pinterest or Twitter. If you are on Twitter, follow non-profits and magazines in your hobby areas or areas of interest. On Pinterest, look at pretty pictures. Look at them. Loooooook. Soooooo prettttyyyyyyy.
- Take up gardening. Seriously: life in your hands.
- Art: look at it, do it. Crafts count. Even if you do it and never show anyone, you should try it.
- Check out live music somewhere. You probably don’t have to look far or even pay money. Local bars often have house bands and no cover. Festivals usually have a few bands. I get invited to house concerts all of the time — so my advice there is to find friends who have house concerts. My church had a completely awesome drumming intro on Sunday — for free. I can remember many years ago visiting a church that had a full rock band in the sanctuary. I didn’t particularly like the message of the church, but if the place had been near home, I might have returned many times just to hear that band!
- Watch the TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?” and ruminate about all of the people who went before you. How they struggled. How they yearned for a better life. How they didn’t want you to grow up to be a lazy butt. Do not disappoint the dead people!!
That should get you started. And here is what you should avoid for how horribly uninspiring it can be:
- Cleaning the house.
Have an inspirational day!