Living the Inspired Life

"An inspiration passes, having been inspired never passes. It remains like an island across the restlessness of time … An eagerness is left behind, a craving…" The quote came unexpectedly, lighting my soul as I began to write. There was a familiarity and comfort in the words, and I knew instantly it was from my mom.

I quickly surveyed my shelves and found her inscription on the inside cover of a book she gave me when I was 20. There in her little, short-looped handwriting was the quote she had taken from one of her favorite authors [see footnote], followed by a message of love and encouragement: “In anticipation of the results of such restlessness and the fulfillment of such a craving as you put to paper your wonderful thoughts.” I smiled. Truly my mother’s words. Her belief in my dreams still inspires me. She passed away long ago, but her notes continue to pop up in unexpected places. Written inside book covers and found on slips of paper stuck between pages, I feel her word-embossed hugs as if she were here today, wrapping me in her strong, let-there-be-no-doubt-I-love-you embrace. I cherish them every time, inspiration and love rolled together. An act of love passes, having been loved never passes.

Inspiration and love. Ideas and dreams. Imagine a year ahead filled with more of these. That’s my hope for each of us in College Park. Fortunately, they come as a package deal. When an idea or dream inspires you—energizes, awakens, enlivens and lifts you—pay attention to it. A part of you is falling in love. And when something you already love to do or think on suddenly won’t let you go, when there’s a restlessness, an eagerness and craving for more, listen up. Inspiration is knocking.

The question is, what do we do once we recognize inspiration or a new “love” for our soul? If we want more out of life, it’s something to figure out. When it comes to a “relationship love” we know. Put simply, if it feels good, seems right, and we feel “inspired” by this love, we dive in. If it works out, we celebrate. If it doesn’t, we pick up the pieces (with sorrow or joy) and move on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but most agree with Tennyson’s adage, “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Perhaps we could apply the same to our other “loves” waiting to be embraced, those crazy ideas and daring dreams of the soul. Too often when we feel inspired toward some new thought or vision we let the moment pass without so much as a flirtatious backward glance. It may feel exciting for a moment, but instead of pausing to consider, or diving in and exploring the possibilities, we forge ahead with what is and side-step altogether what might be.  How many true loves—true purposes, true passions, truly great ideas—are lost because of this.

Perhaps our new motto for 2013 could be “’Tis better to have lived and lost than never to have lived at all.”  When inspiration comes, let’s hold onto it until it reveals our souls’ true loves. Let’s put our hearts on our sleeves and say to our dreams and ideas, “Take me, I’m yours,” daring to go where they lead. No matter how big or small, let’s write them down, explore, dive in and begin each day living in the center of eagerness and craving. Inspired living and loving is calling to us in the days ahead!

[Quotation by Abraham Joshua Heschel in Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion, first published in 1951.]

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