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Are You Feeling Inspired?

[Posted October 6th, 2009] by KimRuchAlegant

What inspires you?  Inspiration is different for everyone.  You may feel inspired when you see a beautiful rose, hear a well written sermon, pray, climb a mountain, or watch your child sleep.  (or a million other things)  It is important to make time in your life for that which inspires you.  When you get your fix of inspiration, you can go back to your regular life and be the best you can be. 

I go to a Unitarian Universalist (UU) Fellowship, and one of the things I love best about it is that you never know what you are going to learn on a Sunday morning.  This past Sunday the sermon was given by a friend of mine.  We are a lay-lead congregation, which means that half of the Sundays the service is run by someone other than the minister.  Now, my friend happens to be a retired Baptist minister, turned UU.  He believes his spirituality is still developing, and he spoke about his perspective as a Christian Unitarian Universalist.

One of the things he said which struck me was when he was talking about volunteering, especially for the Fellowship (our “church”, which we don’t call a church in deference to the people who are not comfortable with the term).  He said that William Ellory Channing wrote about how if your volunteer activities drain your energy instead of giving you more energy, then you are doing them for the wrong reasons.  Hmm.  I think this ties in with inspiration.  If you are doing activities that you are inspired to do, you will get more energy from them.  If you are doing something out of obligation, it will drain your energy. 

So I suppose the question is, how do we take inspired action?  We all have things we “have” to do, like do the dishes or fold the laundry or clean the bathroom or pick up doggy doo.  It can be hard to feel inspired when doing such tasks, right?  So what can we do while doing the mundane if not icky tasks to maintain our inspiration? 

Buddists would say to be mindful, be fully present in the moment with what you are doing.  Don’t worry about the fight you had with your spouse or the grocery shopping you are going to do next.  Being present may not leave you feeling inspired, but you should feel peaceful.  If we pick up the doggy doo while having a negative conversation in our heads, we are going to feel very negative about the experience.  Could you choose to notice the lovely trees or flowers or grass or whatever is lovely in the vicinity?  Could you choose to think of someone you love and send them happy thoughts while you do the dirty work? 

There are stories of people who lived in the Nazi Concentration Camps in Germany who did not let the experience affect their happiness.  I don’t think I could live and maybe die in those conditions without it affecting my outlook on life.  What kind of person would you have to be, to feel inspired in such a situation?  That is the kind of person I aspire to be.

Maybe picking up doggy doo isn’t so bad.

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