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How Will You Be Inspired in 2011?

December 27, 2010

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. They tend to go by the wayside very quickly.

However, it is natural at this time of the year to look back at the year and assess. What went well, what didn’t, and where should we be re-focusing our efforts? Being a Gemini, my restless mind can quickly go in a million different directions. It is important to establish some focus on what is most important.

Since this blog is about inspiration, one of my goals will be to actively seek out inspiration.

#Inspiration is not a permanent, tangible commodity; it slowly evaporates once separated from its source. Tweeted by @wisdomalive

Actively seeking inspiration may seem counter-intuitive. Inspiration is often seen as something unexpected, a pleasant surprise. However, I do believe that we can be more proactive in making these surprises come more frequently and to do so will enhance our lives.

Here are some ideas for seeking inspiration.

1. Pay attention. Notice what makes you come alive. By consciously paying more attention, you may find that inspiration is everywhere.

2. Exercise your freedom of choice. You can actually choose to be inspired.

Here’s an exercise. Write a list of things that you absolutely know inspire you and a list of things that definitely don’t.

Once you have it in front of you, reflect on how you can bring more of the inspiring things into your life and get rid of the uninspiring. Of course, there will be some uninspiring things that cannot be avoided. In these cases, notice how you react when confronted with them. Can you choose to react differently? Can you inject some compassion or generosity into the situation? If, for example, you have to sit in traffic every morning, could you use the time to listen to a good book? There may be some things on your uninspiring list that you can avoid. For example, if TV news gets you down, can you get your news somewhere else?

On the flip side, look at the list of things that do inspire you and figure out how you can actively choose to have them more frequently in your life. If music inspires you, make a commitment to experience great music on a regular basis, whether in your own home, or at a concert hall.

3. Start each day with a dose of inspiration, whether that be meditation, a daily inspirational quote, spiritual reading, a book by someone you admire, a walk in the woods, or a great piece of music.

Here’s one suggestion for creative types. Start your day with 365 Days of Genius, beginning January 1st with Melissa Dinwiddie.

4. Study the work of someone who inspires you.

I read recently that poet and farmer, Wendell Berry, was inspired by a man named Harlan Hubbard. After Hubbard died, Berry decided to spend the next year studying Hubbard’s life and work. This gave me the idea to spend the year 2011 studying the work of one of my heroes, monk and writer, Thomas Merton. Merton was a photographer, prolific writer, and deeply spiritual person who studied both Eastern and Western religious thought. He lived in a hermitage near Louisville, Kentucky. My plan is to start my day with readings from Merton and to attend a retreat on Merton and the poet Mary Oliver in Louisville.

How will you actively seek inspiration next year?

Recommended Reading

How to Hack your New Year’s Resolutions – Quests rather than goals by Peter Shallard

5 Great Ways to Find Inspiration – From Inspiration Source

The Little Guide to Inspiration – by Leo Babauto

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