"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Room 46: Find Your Lightning Bolt
Inspire Yourself To Action
Let’s face it. We’re not always in the mood to go looking for another door to kick down on our road to awareness. Some days we just want to escape back into the room we’ve been living in. We want to do nothing, think nothing, be nothing.
And, yes, I bet even Gandhi liked to curl up on his nail bed and sleep in once in awhile.
And it makes sense. We get overworked, overstretched and overindulged. And like anything that’s over-saturated, eventually it’s going to fill up until we can’t take it any more. That’s the exact moment we get tired, cranky, and depressed.
All we want is for someone to send us to the corner for a timeout, and a good long nap. And, fortunately, sometimes a little wallowing into our shirt sleeves is all we need to get back into the game. Rest and decompression is an important part of rejuvenation, and a vital component in seeking out new rooms to explore.
Of course, the problem comes when the rest we seek becomes chronic, when our nap turns into a slumber, which evolves into a funk, that blows up into a full-blown attack of apathy.
It happens to the best of us. We let our tiredness and depression spiral out of control until we can’t get out of bed anymore, literally or figuratively. Either way, we have slammed the brakes on our lives, on our growth.
Now, most of the time we can snap out of it ourselves, especially when we have the awareness to know that being miserable takes a lot more energy than feeling good.
On the other hand, there will always be those times that no matter what we do, or how hard we try, it’s still going to be difficult to pick ourselves up and get moving, and even more so when we don’t have the support team to give us the gentle kick in the ass we need?
At times like this, we need to be our own best motivators. We need to find a way to put the defibrillators on our chest and jump-start ourselves back to life.
Of course, we’d like to think the lightning bolt is going to randomly hit us, but more often than not, we have to find the lightning bolt for ourselves. This is what it means to seek self-awareness.
In short, we need to find ways to inspire ourselves into action—to reignite that ember of a spark into the full raging fire of passion it wants to become. That’s what this week’s room is all about. Finding the lighting bolt.
Room 46: Find Your Lightning Bolt
Inspire Yourself To Action
Before we begin we should realize that inspiration is a tricky business. There is a synchronicity to inspiration. It happens at just the right time for the right person, which is why something will inspire one person and do nothing for another. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to becoming inspired. We need to seek out what works for us.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Inspiration is not something we can always call up out of thin air whenever we feel like it. The stars need to align at the exact moment we’re ready to hear what the universe has to offer.
But don’t worry, there’s still a solution: the stars are much more likely to align if we meet the universe half way; if we at least attempt to walk towards the lightning bolt, even if we don’t know what that lightning bolt may look like.
What we can do is put ourselves into a position to be inspired and then let the universe do its magic.
And we can start this week by making a list of everything that inspires us, or has inspired us in the past. And by inspiration, we mean anything that moves us to act, join in and become an active partner with life; anything that uplifts and enriches our lives. Simply put, anything that brings out the best in us.
To get the ball rolling, I have started my own incomplete list of things that have uplifted and inspired me to act. Feel free to share what inspires you in the comment sections below. Who knows, you might have just the inspiration that will inspire someone else to make the next step in their life.
1. Running by the beach. I love running. And I love the beach. Put them together and you can pretty much guarantee I’m going to drive home feeling better than I left. We all have a place like this, somewhere we feel lifted and inspired. The key is to find a way to get ourselves to that place on a regular basis.
2. A good quote. Yeah, I’m a quote junkie. I love anything from Bart Simpson to Buddha, with a special fondness for Rumi, Emerson and Mother Teresa. I put quotes all around my house, then forget where I put them. Invariably, I find the right quote months later, at just the right time. Try it. It works.
3. “The Waters of March.” I don’t even know what this song is about, but it inspires me like nothing else. Listen to the version by Susannah McCorkle. You can listen to it here, but ignore the photos. http://bit.ly/Q9dVf8
4. Artwork by Tess Apablasa. It’s no secret that I use a lot of my 15-year-old daughter’s photographs on this site. And not just because the price is right, but because there is a real energy to her work. Not just an eye, but a love. The more we can surround ourselves with beautiful objects that exude the right energy, intent and love, the more inspiration we’ll have for our everyday lives.
5. The Last Lecture of Randy Pausch. I bet most of you have seen this. But, if not, check it out, or check it out again. In 2007, Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch, who was dying of pancreatic cancer, delivered a one-of-a-kind last lecture. This moving talk will teach you how to “really achieve your childhood dreams.” Of course, you’ll need an hour and sixteen minutes. But, it’s well worth the time. http://bit.ly/QmiB4X
6. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. This book never ceases to inspire me. As does “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse, “Gift From The Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. And, of course, there’s always Rumi.
7. Dead Poet Society. A great movie with a powerful message on living a life that matters. “Carpe diem…seize the day boys…make your lives extraordinary.”
8. “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. This book is showing up on more and more bookshelves every day. While, it’s a book on writing, it goes far beyond that, showing us how to fight the resistance that tries to prevent us from having the life we want. If you have a dream and don’t know how to get it, read this book. I dare you to not be inspired. Of course, if you actually follow his advice, you won’t just be talking about your dream, you’ll be living it.
9. Find Your Purpose with Kyle Maynard
Next time you’re ready to quit, watch this ESPN classic. http://bit.ly/OPLQLE. On second thought, don’t wait that long. Watch it now. There’s no reason to wait to become inspired.
10. A good flash mob. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a group of people coming together for no other reason than to perform for the pleasure of complete strangers. And while I could spin the symbolism of the flash mob in many spiritual ways, let’s face it, I like stupid. It inspires me. If you’re looking for the best flash mob, most people vote for the Frozen Grand Central flash mob at New York Central Station. http://bit.ly/NNpNJ9. Personally, my vote goes to the Sound of Music flash mob at the Central Station of Antwerp, Belgium. http://bit.ly/R9v0Li.
11. Biographies. I love non-fiction and biographies, especially when it’s a story of triumph over adversity. “Unbroken,” “Born to Run,” “Left to Tell,” “Buddha.” Ask your friends for their favorite inspirational biographies and before you know it, the right book will be dropping on your lap. In fact, I’m open to suggestions.
12. Crescent Moons. Okay, you’ll probably have to be living my life to feel this one, but let’s just say I feel invincible whenever the tiniest sliver of a moon appears.
13. Ellen DeGeneres. Don’t underestimate the power of laughter as a path to inspiration. Humor makes us feel good and feeling good makes us want to get up and do something, like dance. Of course, she is more than a comedian. She’s a kind-hearted humanitarian committed to making the world a better place. Check out her Tulane University Commencement Address in 2009 at http://bit.ly/Q89Hdh
14. Leslie Green. We all need a little Leslie Green in our life. Let me tell you about Leslie. I only met her a couple months ago, not in person, but online. She runs a beautiful and wise website called www.trustlifetoday.com. But, beyond her wisdom, she is one of the most supportive and generous people I know. And we need people like this in our lives. People who will support and help us on our journey, but also recognize we need the freedom to live our own truths. The greatest inspiration we can have is a good, loving, and neutral support system. Seek out and surround yourself with as many Leslie Greens as you can.
15. TEDTalks. Where else do you have access to the world’s most inspiring, informative and innovative people talking about how they are going to change the world? At TEDTalks, of course. I realize most people have already heard about TEDTalks. It has millions of followers. But, if you’ve forgotten about it, or you’ve never heard of it, go to your computer and bookmark www.ted.com, or download the podcast from iTunes. Become a regular viewer. It has inspirational stories from the world's most inspired thinkers and doers in the world. Whenever I need a push of adrenaline, I go right there. In a matter of moments I’m transported to another world.
16. Meet Nick Vujicic. I challenge you to watch this and not feel inspired to believe you can’t do anything with your life. http://bit.ly/Obtc4d
Ultimately, the greatest thing about inspiration is that once you start looking for it, you’ll start to see it everywhere. Your heart and soul will begin to gravitate toward those people, things and ideas that uplift you and make you, as Emerson said, “what you can be.” And in the process, you will begin to refuse to settle for anything less. That’s the real room we’re seeking today.
And it’s all just one lightning bolt away.