It’s a word we use all the time, often lightly, without really thinking about what it means. When it came time for me to sit down and write this blog post, I was flummoxed. Not that I couldn’t think of anything to write that would fall under the topic of “inspiration,” rather that there were so many posts I could write that my brain went into lockdown and refused to pick one.
As it turned out, what I needed to do was stop and define what the word means to ME, personally. Not to my partner or my children or all the rest of you out there on the other end of this blog.
Now it’s your turn.
I know it’s Monday morning and you’re facing down the world after a weekend spent trying to escape, but I’m asking you to pause just for a moment. What thoughts or images come to your mind when you think of the word “inspiration?”
I came across this photo while I was working on this post:
I recognized it the instant I saw it, amazed that I’d found something so perfect. The Viking, looking over my shoulder, said, “That’s not inspiration.”
He’d absolutely right – the average person looking at this picture isn’t going to say, “Ah, now there’s a photo that captures the essence of inspiration for all the world to see.” Think about the image that came to your mind when you thought about inspiration. I’m guessing it was something entirely different.
Inspiration is one of those words, I think, that everybody owns in a slightly different way. To me it is a soul word, intimate and personal and deeply connected to whatever lies at the center of me. I happen to believe in a world of spirit, that there are things around me that I cannot touch or taste or see. You may not. That in itself is going to change the meaning of the word for you.
Whatever you believe, you can’t get away from the origin of the word. Inspiration comes from the Latin inspirare, meaning “to breathe into.” In many belief systems the breath is believed to be connected to the soul. At the very least, breath is necessary for life. Inspiration is not just something that motivates us to do more or be more – it is connected to the breath, and therefore to life itself.
When I look at this image I see an inbreathing of spirit, and at the same time if makes me draw a deeper breath, to be still for a moment and be aware that my soul has been touched by something beautiful. And this, to me, is the true meaning of the word inspiration.
Your turn now. What images or ideas came to your mind when you thought about the word inspiration?