“It is of the utmost importance to keep yourself inspired. Inspiration is our daily bread, and if you are not feeding your soul, your chances of advancement are slim. Do whatever you need to do to keep your heart alive and your thoughts high. Your foremost responsibility is to keep your joy light burning. If you do not, all else will be of little value to you or others. Delight is the atmosphere in which we thrive.”
I’ve been making more time for joy and inspiration lately and I have to say it’s made such a difference in my outlook. My life feels so much less like a slog to the finish line and much more like a jig to the next adventure. I don’t know where I picked up this idea that things need to feel arduous and unpleasant in order to be useful or legitimate, but I’m releasing that a day at a time. Whew! What a relief.
Things that have inspired me lately:
*A video of Joni Mitchell performing her song, “Both Sides Now”. Those lyrics really resonated with me and I loved the simplicity of Joni alone on her guitar with her slightly melancholic voice, humbly sharing her insights.
*A screening of The Deer Hunter at The Film Forum. I had never seen this movie in its entirety. My friend Adrian invited me, saying it is one of his top 3 favorite films of all time. I figured I better take the rare opportunity to see it on the big screen. What a beautifully made film. I loved witnessing the characters’ lives in their blue collar town in Pennsylvania, the camaraderie, the tight knit community. It reminded me of the town in which I was raised, called Bellerose,in Queens. My parents both grew up in Bellerose, as well, so we had history there. Most of the residents did. People knew each other, asked how your family was, if your grandma was feeling better. Friends grew up and dated and got married and had kids. We didn’t have the Vietnam War to tear us apart and irrevocably change the lives of our friends. But my dad did. I still remember him tracing the name of his best friend Stephen Gabrys from the Vietnam Memorial in DC. He held a small piece of white paper against the granite, and carefully shaded back and forth with a tiny pencil until Stephen’s name appeared. All the while tears streamed down his face. It made me realize for the first time, that this war had changed my dad’s life, even though he’d never mentioned it to me before. I think this film did a beautiful job of illustrating what that change looks and feels like. Heartbreaking, far-reaching, and so important to remember.
*Karaoke. There’s something that’s still absolutely terrifying to me about karaoke, but that’s part of the thrill. You may pick a song that’s way too high for you, or start singing an octave too low (like I did with James Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues”, causing me to sound like my batteries were dying). You can think you know a song and then realize, once there’s no singer to help you along, that you have no idea how this song really goes. And that’s why I love it. There’s chance involved. You may fall flat in front of a room full of strangers, but you can also strike gold and have people you’ve never met before patting you on the back and offering fist pounds to you as you joyfully make your way back to your seat. It also feels like everyone involved is at least slightly terrified and so we’re all in it together. Maybe that’s why I like it. It’s a microcosm of life. And in this version, everyone is wishing each other the best.
What has inspired you lately?