Wednesday, July 29, 2009

INSPIRATION

Weaver of Grass recently suggested in her blog a meme for today whose theme was “inspiration.” Yesterday, in the comments section of this blog, she extended a direct invitation to join in.
So, rather late, but for what it’s worth, here goes…
One of my dictionaries defines “inspiration” thusly: The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative; a person or thing that stimulates in this way.
I’m not trying to be facetious when I say my inspiration comes from life—from parents and family and all their history, from the time and milieu in which I was raised, the people I’ve met and the things I’ve done, and all those experiences—good and bad—which have happened to me and around, gave me shape, tempered my mettle along the way. All of it has furnished impetus for inspiration.
There have been numerous models, many examples, various muses; I’ve found influences in every direction. Reasons beyond naming; countless epiphanies. Inspiration in abundance.
Moreover, I don’t believe any of us ever lack for inspiration; what’s tough to come by, sometimes, is insight. Where’s the inspiration in pain and suffering? In a personal illness or the death of a friend? Suppose you lose your job or your marriage breaks apart…how can that be inspiring? Is failure inspiring?
As it happens, that same dictionary also gives a second definition for “inspiration”: The drawing in of breath; inhalation; part of the respiration process.
Of course this definition refers to the purely physiological; part of the biological functioning of a living organism. It has nothing to do with that interior spark that motivates and inspires us, thereby causing a person to feel and act…to create.
Or does it?
There’s another aspect to inspiration that deals with the divinity of its nature and provenance. The notion that inspiration stems from a divine source.
Life is such a precious gift. There is beauty all around—in nature and in people. Everywhere, inspiration. The worst moments of my life have always also contained a blessing…though it took me years to realize this fact. Divine grace? I believe so.
Where do I find inspiration? I find it in the recognition of beauty, the joy of wonder; the little adventures of everyday life. There is inspiration in a fresh-baked loaf of bread on the counter. In the handshake of a friend. In the glowing swirls of orange and turquoise, purple and gold, in a sunset sky. In my old dog leaning companionably against my leg. In the dawn proclamations of a singing wren. In a narrow footpath twisting through a summer woods.
My inspiration comes from loving and being loved…and from sharing. Nothing is more inspiring than sharing. That’s why I write and take photos—to share. You, dear readers, are inspiration personified; the very essence of the word.
With every breath, I’m inspired.

30 comments:

Hildred and Charles said...

I greatly admire your philosophy, and yes, find it inspiring.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Oh, Grizzled this is all so wonderfully true, and you have put it so beautifully.

Being inspired to create, and then communicating it and sharing leads to more inspiration.

That is one of the great exuberances of blogging!

Your blog is one of those that inspires me the most.

Richard said...

Interesting question...Is there inspiration in death? I believe that there is in several ways.

First was that the Good Lord was watching over that individual and knew it was the right time to call that them to heaven. Maybe it was to end their pain and suffering or maybe that person had completed all the tasks set out for them long before they were born. Knowing God is always watching over you is inspirational.

Second reason for inspiration in death is that it makes a whole lot of people reminisce on that persons' life remembering both the good and bad times. Just the act of remembering is inspirational in some form to everyone.

I'm sure people can come up with more reasons but that is a start.

Wanda said...

When the natural world is involved...finding inspiration is simple...just slow down and open your eyes and really see. You seem to know this better than anyone I know...Your posts always show the bigger picture hidden in the smallest things...showing others how to appreciate what is there at the moment...even the weeds...Your sharing with us your riverside view and your pondering thoughts is very inspirational to all.

Rowan said...

Nice post Scribe, my inspiration comes from the same sources as yours, no one particular person or event but from family, friends and the beauty of the world around me.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Hildred & Charles…

I do thank you for your comment. If you enjoy the blog, and find something of value therein—even occasionally, I'm doubly pleased.

gleaner said...

I like how you have given recognition to the blessings that often come from the worst things in life. Inspiring post! (and great colours in that photo)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Raph…

I write because I'm inspired, because I want to share—not with any mind of being an inspiration to others; yet nothing could please me more than to know something I've said or written or illustrated in a photograph has given someone else the nudge to create.

Your vertical, giraffe-centric world reflects that philosophy in such lovely colors and prose that I know you know exactly what I'm saying.

Thank you.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Richard…

You are exactly right in both examples.

Death points unerringly to the fragile preciousness of life. We all are but a momentary vapor amid time's vast landscape. And yet we have meaning and choice. We can use our allotted span wisely or waste it; we can leave behind good or bad; a better world, or a world improved by our departure. We can choose. The legacy—our legacy—is in our hands.

We don't have to be one of the movers and shakers of history, an "important" figure wielding great power, or possessed of an intellect or skill which can ad a lasting mark to civilization. We don't have to cure cancer or talk nations into peace. We can simply practice spontaneous kindness…give of ourselves willingly…do unto others…

Not much, really. A word, a deed, a smile. Just being there.

Death demands that you confront this. I've watched family and friends die, and perfect strangers. Death is a physical divide, and unquestionably a spiritual divide, as well. We the still temporarily living on one side…they the newly dead on the other.

So where is the inspiration? I see it in this very divide, in lives of the now and those already being spoken of in past tense; the ones still fumbling along, and those whose memory has reach its final draft—no more revisions. I know my life is owed to God's love and grace; I wouldn't be here otherwise. And I'm so thankful to be able to share all that I can, every day, with whomever I can.

Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

I thank you very much for your lovely words—they're quite humbling. They also apply equally to your own blog —because you find joy and pleasure in the beauty of nature and the simplicity of life. And you dearly love to share.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Rowan…

Inspiration is so abundant! Just finding myself awake amid another day is inspiring. As is the first birdsong to break the coming dawn, or the soft patter on rain off the roof.

To pass through life and not find all this inspiring is to miss the entire point of existence…all the beauty and wonder, the joy, the great holy splendor of every precious moment. The gift of love, of family and friends; of laughter and that hand to hold when the night is dark or your heart is filled with sorrow.

Much, much inspiration.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gleaner…

It is indeed true—certainly for me, and probably for most of us. Blessings can be found in the strangest places, the darkest corners of our lives.

I'm not saying the blessing will prove greater than the worst circumstance. It may, but it may be something separate.

For example, a child is kidnapped and murdered. Where is the blessing in that? Nothing could ever erase that pain for a parent—nothing. And yet, there are parents who, amid their grief and loss, reach into such situations and make something good and positive from it—by lecturing, teaching, counseling, spearheading legislation, going on TV and helping catch those predators who would commit such acts.

Does it mitigate what happened to them? No. But is there a blessing in there? Yes, in their purpose and the value they give back to society…especially in all the children of the future who don't get kidnapped and murdered.

When I was in my early twenties, I was given a certain diagnosis which carried with it death in the not-very-distant future. I was devastated. Not because I was afraid to die…but because I wasn't going to have time to live. I felt so robbed of all those things I wouldn't get to do—the people and places and adventures I wouldn't have. I was angry and consumed with self-pity: Why me? Why now?

As it turned out—obviously—the diagnosis was wrong. After nearly year of wallowing about, depressed, too sick to do much of anything except sit in a dark room and read about all those things I wasn't going to get to do…an old G.P. figured out what was really going on. He wrote out a few prescriptions, I picked up my pills—and in less than a month I was good as new.

And this was the absolutely best thing that ever happened to me! It taught me that what others found important and what I thought important were two different things. I had to follow my own dream, find my own way. Your perspective on what matters TO YOU really changes, or at least gets voted on with fervor, when you figure you're about to die.

There was a tremendous blessing in there for me—and I'm so very glad it happened.

Jane Moxey said...

I'm here to say hello via Weaver's idea to have people share what Inspiration means to them. I like that you reminded us of the physiological meaning of the word. When in doubt, hit the old dictionary! To breathe in. Yup, that's it. When I feel inspired, I feel like I've inhaled a whole lot of something intangible and magical. I think we are fortunate to have such a rich language in which to express our thoughts and observations and words. I appreciate the wonderfu photographs you have on your blog. Another great way to express the wonders of our world. Many thanks.

KGMom said...

I like your turning over the word "inspiration", examining its facets, watching it catch the light.

I am reminded of the Biblical use of the word "breath" as the life force--inspiring, breath in, breath out. Draw breath, draw inspiration, draw life.

Gail said...

Hi Grizz-

Your words and reasons are beautiful and yes, SO inspiring because they are so true. I love your raw honesty and deep, seasoned wisdom which is hard-lived and honored from the flutter of a butterfly to illness. Each overture a gift to behold. I am so inspired by good energy, regardless of the situation I can feel the good energy in times of joy,sadness, hope, despair, celebration or agony - energy flows. YOU are all good energy - YOU are an inspiring example, YOU transcend all that is unjust in this world by how you live and share you life. Alleluia!!

Love to you always
Gail
peace.....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jane…

Hello to you, and welcome to the riverbank. You're not the first reader who has found their way to this quiet corner via Weaver's fine blog.

I'm glad you enjoyed the post—and especially delighted in the way you said how when you breath in you "feel inspired, I feel like I've inhaled a whole lot of something intangible and magical."

Wonderfully put! And exactly right.

Thank you, too, for your nice words on the photos. I hope you visit again; you're always welcome.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

"Draw breath, draw inspiration, draw life." How succinct! Great line! Practically my entire essay in six words…or at least the piece's summation.

I did think it neat that by coming at the word "inspiration" from various angles, I could work in most of what I wanted to say.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

Well, I wish I were the near-saint…but I have my dark side, my moods and "down" moments. I usually feel more like an outsider than anything; I'm honestly astonished when someone seems to see anything more.

And yet…I'm essentially happy-go-lucky. I have a good time with life; I enjoy people and certainly don't think I'm a bit special. I like to laugh and love to make others laugh. I firmly believe happiness is a choice; that no matter the circumstance, we only have to sink as low as we allow ourselves to go.

I try to live with courage and honor and humility—and I'd rather do the right thing than the "smart" thing. Moreover, I know from experience that when faced with two choices…the difficult path will generally be the one I need to choose.

If any of that seems inspiring, I can only say it comes from a man who has made plenty of mistakes—some more than once—and who still makes mistakes and struggles all the time to keep my balance and perspective. I try to honor those values and beliefs I know to be true and worthwhile; and more than anything, to be the person I want to be rather than the person I would be if I quit trying.

And if if weren't for faith, I could simply never manage.

Val said...

Your photograph inspired me. Tomorrow I will paint a watercolor of your photograph. Simple beauty. Just clouds. But clouds!
I've been thinking today about what I want to paint and you inspired me.

Thank you!!!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Val…

Isn't it amazing how something so reduced, so simple, can be so beautiful? Clouds, sky, light…elemental wonder!

I'd love to see your painting.

Gail said...

Hi Grizz-

and so too, all your said is tribute to your humanity, and humble approach to life and all that is within you and that surrounds you. You are nestled in pure intention and honesty as few I know are. Dark side and all.

Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Jayne said...

Awwww... I love this Grizz. Indeed, if we did not have valleys in our lives, the mountain views would not be nearly as spectacular, now would they? Your presence here inspires ME to breathe deeply. Blessings to you.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Your post on inspiration is in itself an inspiration Scribe - thank you for joining in - we have a saying - better late than never. I am so pleased to read your entry and I have to say that the way you write your post tells me just how much you are inspired by things around you. We have another saying over here - you have hit the nail on the head - you have said in your post exactly what inspiration should mean. Well done, and thank you so much.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

I've tried to fit into other molds, to conform and be what I simply was never cut out to become. I just couldn't manage it. I can only be who and what I am—which is probably kind of corny and sentimental, a bit too…modest?…for most tastes. Whatever. I just try to be the best me I can be…and sometimes I manage and sometimes I don't> but I always try.

Anyway, thank you for your nice words.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

Indeed, not! No peaks without valleys, no ups without downs. A drink of water always tastes best when you're thirsty.

Thank you—I find inspiration on your blog, too.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

THANK YOU! for the idea and prodding—though in all honesty, I sort of sidled around writing anything all day, and only bent to the task at the last moment.

I'm pleased you enjoyed it—because your blog inspires me far more often than you might imagine by making me think about something, which sends me off on a tangent, and eventually manifests itself, now practically unrecognizable, in another riverbank missive. I owe you more than you know.

Jenn Jilks said...

Very inspiring, Griz. As always!

Today I was inspired by noises in the forest. http://mymuskoka.blogspot.com/

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jenn…

Well thank you for the nice comment. And thank you for your wonderful "noisy" post! You've just made my day!

Kelly said...

...beautiful. You could have picked your items right out of my mind. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older...but I've also learned the more I slow down and observe, the more inspired I am. The loaf of bread, the rock...the teacup....... :-)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Kelly…

I'm happy you liked this…and agree.

However, I'm not surprised you find something familiar, because in your lovely photos and writing, I always see the similar light of your own inspiration showing through.