this red berry
What inspires you? I have been asking this question lately, to whomever might be kind enough to respond.
When asking myself the same question, as usual, I’m driven to the dictionary. According to the definition found at Dictionary.com, to inspire has to do with animating, quickening, arousing.
Those who know me would not (ever) describe me as quick – even at my most inspired moments – or animated. I move in what I prefer to call a “methodical” way. The most frequent word used to describe me is “calm.” One person described me as being “surrounded by a twenty-foot circumference of calm.” Another commented about me, “If she was more calm, she’d be dead.” I think that was supposed to be funny.
Maybe that explains why “inspirational speakers” don’t do much for me, not usually. But it’s not their fault. (“It’s not you, Tony Robbins, it’s me.”) I’m not wired for that sort of quickening or animation.
What I appreciate most about the online definition is the Middle English origin, “to breathe.” I have heard it also explained as “to fill with breath.” For me, inspiration is as simple – and as life-giving – as breath. It comes naturally, like breathing.
But I can only produce something as a result of inspiration when I have cleared the clutter and allowed space for it.
Alternative definitions for inspire include “to influence or impel.” Now we’re getting somewhere. I can be impelled, if not in an animated way. What influences me more consistently than anything else is either a good conversation with a trusted friend, or complete silence and time to think and listen to the silence. The latter is really an extension of the former. The silence (combined with the gift of time) provides opportunity to sift through those inspirational conversations for the gold, to notice the one red berry.
So that’s it: talk and silence. When you get down to it, inspiration is not all that fancy.