Starting Over

Discovering myself, my family and friends in a foreign land, second time around


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Picture book series

“I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.”  ― Albert Einstein

“I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.”
― Albert Einstein

June 2010
Taking DQ to my favorite spot in Washington D.C.

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Why I need a daily dose of inspiration

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It behooves us, as humans, to make some effort to be inspired each day.

Watch the sun rise shyly through clouds, tentatively peeking with errant rays like naughty children, unable to hide their light as they slip out unwittingly, eager to explore beyond the curtain of clouds.

Listen to some music, allowing the notes to drown out mere sounds in the ether with a cadence that makes you listen keenly, through the cacophony of clutter that marks the day.

Read a meaningful passage, a powerful quote, a sensational story that jolts you out of the lethargy that arises from the depressing reports brought to you by newspaper on your doorstep or inbox.

Why?

Because we can.

A human life is many things – a gift, an opportunity, a journey, an adventure.

It may be a series of mishaps for some, a litany of tragedies for another; some privileged by birth and others immensely talented.

The human condition that connects us all is the ability to observe and introspect. Beyond the focus on food and fashion, on achievements and acquisitions, there lies a question dormant within our psyche.

Why am I here?

The answer may seem easy to find; obvious even, in the packaged text that appears on Facebook posts and corporate office walls, posters with pithy text in fancy fonts across breathtaking photographs. It is a trick question; a rhetorical one. What we are looking for is a reason to keep going. Reading the answer is not enough. It needs to be felt. What we truly need is inspiration.

Like any worthwhile endeavor, inspiration requires focus and attention. Just as respect and self-esteem cannot be passively handed over like possessions, being inspired is a personal experience. It requires looking below the superficial to find the sublime.

Inspiration may not answer the existential question but pauses the daily drama for a moment.

In her memoir, Seeking Peace, Mary Pipher defines “moments” as

“discrete time, complete in themselves and utterly distinct from the habit-bound wave time in which we all live much of our lives. While minutes are earthbound and can be measured, moments both merge with eternal time and exist outside time altogether.”

Its that point in the movie when the camera holds steady and slows down the background noise and you can see every tear, every wince, every wrinkle on the actors face. Just as in the movies, you blink and the moments of inspiration morph into the high speed chase that life represents for most of us.

In the fog of a busy life, moments are hard to catch. Slippery as mist, ephemeral. But think back to a special memory you have of a friend who is far away, or a parent who is no more, and you will remember not the days or years, but specific moments of togetherness, tenderness, laughter, joy. Stopping to see the wonder makes me younger and older simultaneously – younger because it takes innocence to be awed, older because I get to count these moments when I get nostalgic.

The depth of a life well-lived is measured in the storehouse of such moments. And the way to amass this treasure is simple. Devote some time to be inspired each day.

In a lifetime where the end is certain, the path is what holds promise. Great discoveries are made not in solitude on a mountaintop but in a moment of surrender.

Surrender to those small mercies that dot our existence. In the guileless smile of an infant, in the concern of a stranger who offers you a seat, in the absent pat on your shoulder that your parent gives you, in the curious compliment that you receive from your kids. The trick is to capture that moment and treasure it.

So hold that asana for a minute longer, that place where you find yourself rock-steady while standing on one foot, when the mind is focused on the body and your breath flows to keep it steady.

Savor the perfect balance of flavors when you taste what you have lovingly created, a meal for your family which will nourish more than just the body.

Share the beautiful pictures that you came across on a blog this morning that spoke to you wordlessly.

Like fireflies in your jar, for every moment you capture, there are many more out there. Get inspired.