Got a Light? (A Post About Inspiration)

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Here I sat like I do most every night. On the couch at 11pm, just finished watching three episodes of “The Office” and eating two gluten-free freezer waffles, an apple, and a pint of hummus, wondering yet again why I can’t seem to keep my promises to myself.

I promise to get more sleep so I have more energy and less surliness to offer my children.

I promise to write so I can get some of the thoughts that swirl in my brain out on paper in the hopes that I can rearrange them into some kind of sense.

I promise to at least not eat for the hours I’m staying up too late not writing.

And every night 11pm and then 12am and all too often 1am see me in the exact same spot.

Just before my husband went to bed, we talked about how maybe it’s the rules that are keeping me from keeping my promises. Maybe I want to break the rules and so making rules just tempts me to break them.

“But how do I get myself to stop toasting up freezer waffles and go to bed unless I make a rule for myself?” I asked my husband. He, having no hang-ups around following rules nor around going to bed at a reasonable time, just shrugged and kissed me good-night.

Tonight, after I’d had enough streaming video, I decided to check out White Hot Truth, Danielle LaPorte’s blog.

I’m not always in the mood to handle Danielle’s level of peppiness. It would help if I found her grating, like I do most motivational-type people, but I don’t. Nearly everything I read of hers is profound and honest and just leaves me feeling like crap because I feel like that level of authenticity and optimism just isn’t something I’m likely to achieve. I recognize her words as truth, but I fear they don’t apply to me.

I wasn’t in the mood for it tonight, either, but Monday’s epiphany after book club has the idea swimming around in my head that I can choose to look at things positively or negatively. So, I went to White Hot Truth with the plan to look at it positively.

And wouldn’t you know it, here was a post about the difference between motivation and inspiration. Either can help you achieve your goals, Danielle asserts, but it’s the inspiration that sets you ablaze about those goals.

I like that. Clearly, with all of the rules I make for myself, I’m trying really hard to address the “motivation” part, but I’m missing the “inspiration” part entirely.

The reason my husband doesn’t have trouble going to bed at a reasonable hour is because he loves his job. He can’t wait to get in to work and do some science. He is ablaze with the possibility that maybe—just maybe—he’ll contribute to a discovery that will improve the health of humankind. And even if he doesn’t, he’s just looking forward to the fun of trying.

I love my job, too, but in a “sure, I love my job,” kind of way, not a “Man, I love my job!!!” kind of way. (Of course my job isn’t exactly a job; it’s more like…life, but it’s what I’m doing during the time that other people do their jobs.) But I’m not an “ablaze” kind of person. I’ve got a fiery temper and can make searing comments to those I love when inflamed, but that’s not at all the same thing.

How do I set myself ablaze? How do I tap into inspiration? (Aside from quitting thinking of being a mom as a “job.”)

I scrolled down the page a bit and found a grand pep talk in which Danielle encourages us to “decide to rise.” It seems to be a variation of “Just Do It” but without the sweat shops and child labor and the trying to get me to buy sneakers.

Danielle writes:

On the other side of deciding to rise is illumination, ecstasy, insight. And the angel of your strength is there waiting, smiling, applauding, with a goblet of endorphins for you. When you transcend circumstances you get special privileges. Like the deep knowing that life wants you to win, evidence that you are indeed amazing, and irrefutable proof that your mind chooses what matters.

I felt tears well up as I read this post. I thought about how most of my days involve just trying to get to the end of the day without some kind of catastrophe. I transcend nothing. I don’t give my all to my kids or to my husband or to myself. No wonder I dread going to bed. Because when I wake up, I’m going to have to do it all again tomorrow, tired, cranky, scared, and so much less than what I would like to be.

My husband told me the other day that he is really excited for NaNoWriMo because he loves my novel idea (no, I will not tell you what it is) and he thinks that I can really pull it off and that it’s going to be awesome. My immediate thought was, “Crap. Now he’s going to be disappointed in me.”

My husband and my kids love me and they seem to think I can do anything. My friends seem to think highly of me and my abilities as well. If I could have a fraction of the confidence in myself that the people I love have in me, I think I could easily be inspired.

And if I could be set ablaze with passion for…anything, maybe I could burn hot enough to melt away the self-doubt that holds me back.

But where does it start? What’s the spark that’s strong enough to survive the dousing my negativity is sure to give it?

2 Replies to “Got a Light? (A Post About Inspiration)”

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Jamie! I’m glad the post resonated with you. My husband and I have been doing a lot of talking about happiness and inspiration and motivation throughout the day and in more depth tonight when the kids were finally in bed. It’s helpful talking to him because he is a happy person by temperament, whereas I’m kind of not. We’ve been exploring the differences in how we view the world and how that might contribute to inspiration and happiness and that “ablaze” feeling. I’m not sure if I’m close to any “answers” but I’m sure doing a lot of percolating.


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