I often see the word "inspiration" bantered about. I started to wonder what an "inspiration" really was. I looked the word up and it talks about being "mentally stimulated" to do something. What I find interesting about that is that there is no action that has to take place as a result. If it is a mental process, it may never come to any physical fruition. Inspiration, as a result, could be a quite passive thing that doesn't wind up doing much more than sound good.
I have wondered why I don't feel great when people call me an "inspiration." I think it is because many times I suspect that nothing really changes as a result of what they see in me. It just sounds and feels good to think that somehow there is an impact. There may be a "feel good" desire to be different or do things differently, but I suspect the ball often gets dropped.
As I thought about writing this blog post, I wondered how critical I would sound. Would I sound judgmental? Would I put people on the defense?
Here's the thing, though. I know all too well where many others may stand, because I have stood there myself. I have stood in the world seeing things that sounded good. I have stood in the world feeling that I should be different, or do things differently. I have stood in a world in my head that never materialized in how my life looked.
I suppose one could call that projection. Perhaps I am projecting the me I used to be on others, and think that because that is who and how I was, then that is who and how others are. In some cases, that might just be the case, as I have no real way of knowing if anything changes. All I have are my perceptions, and we all know how often they can be wrong.
So much of this experience is lived in isolation. Even if I am impacting others by what I share, many will never let me know. It is not that anyone has to, by the way. It is just that it is difficult to be on the receiving end of something that is meant as an acknowledgment without any real proof to show for it.
This isn't really about me needing proof, nor is it about whether or not I am inspiration. We live in a world of "don't ask, don't tell." We like our illusions, thank you very much. We like to live in a bubble. We do it so much that we don't allow ourselves to really see things as they are within ourselves or in relation to others. And it does us such an incredible disservice.
I cannot tell you how much freedom I feel these days that I never used to have. It has been quite a process getting here, too. Someone I was talking to recently says she sees in me things she wants for herself, but doesn't know how to get "here." She wonders how to do that.
She wasn't really asking me, but I am sure I said something about it.
People may look at me and think this is how I have always been, and nothing is farther from the truth. It is a place I could never have imagined being. If you had told me 2 years ago that I would be sitting where I am sitting in relation to myself and life, I would have been flabbergasted. How in the world could that possibly happen?
What happened was life. What happened was me interacting with the things that came along that forced, coerced, coaxed me into this place. I could have made other choices than I did, but it was too uncomfortable not to change.
It wasn't some 5 Step program. It wasn't a matter of well-meaning, ultimately meaningless exercises. It was fully, completely being in my life in the moment. It was feeling the pain. It was willing to make mistakes. It was making mistakes. It was acceptance of the fact that many people and many things were not, and often could not, be what I wanted them to be. It was pissing people off. It was learning to listen to MYSELF without condition. It was learning to speak up and out for myself. Learning when to walk away from things. Learning that I would survive in the midst of the judgments of others, as long as deep down I felt that I was doing what was right for me.
As often is the case, I started with one thing, and have come to another. I think they are tied, though. Perhaps inspiration as a mental process never translates to inspiration as a physical one because of things like what I listed in the previous paragraph. We get caught in the inner battle that is waged when who we are and desire to be is at odds what we think we should be.
Have you ever thought about the fact that most shoulds are probably not things you really believe? Maybe you "should" eat better. Do you really believe that? Or is that your doctor or family or society talking? If you really felt you should eat differently, odds are you would. There can be unconscious things at work that have you eating as you do, and causing things that might not be in your best interest. At the same time, perhaps you are learning something as you do, or don't do what you do, and when the time is right for you, you will make the switch.
I go back to a previous blog post about how we might do things a disservice by labeling them bad and trying to get rid of them. Maybe you or your life is a mess. Maybe there is a reason it is that way. The only reason I can see things as I do now is because of where I have been.
I think we are sometimes so determined to have answers and results that we miss the point of life. It is something that is organic, and ever changing, and any perception to the contrary is just a momentary illusion.
In some ways, that sucks. In other ways, it is probably one of the best things that life has to offer in the possibilities that it may present. Most days I have opportunities to remind myself of this fact. There are times it would be all too easy to fall into the trap of the struggle and the seeming decline of my life and health.
As I say this, it occurs to me that I may be an inspiration to myself, and in a way that presents itself in active ways in my life. It is my willingness to go the places I go and experience the things I experience that allows me to build upon what has come before, and it is what has built the layers that brought me to this place. It gives me confidence in the face of uncertainty when everything else might be telling me something else.
Toward the end of last year I was considering HIPEC. I didn't know at the time that chemo would be required first. I thought about rushing into it before my insurance changed, uncertain as to whether or not I would be able to have surgery at my preferred provider. In the end, I felt I should wait. I knew the risks, on several levels, but I decided that it would all work out one way or another, and I would deal with it.
There had been a question about where I would be going for treatment since my insurance changed. It was one of the big concerns I had about moving forward. Finding another provider and doctor and what it involved was not anything I really wanted to do, and on top of that I might have had to rush to handle things.
Well. I got good news in the last few days. I have been told that I no longer have to worry about that. I can rest assured that I can continue treatment where I want to go, and have surgery where I want to have surgery. I cannot tell you what a relief that was (and is). More than once I noted how much lighter my body felt after I found that out. It had a much greater unconscious weight than I knew.
I share this, in part, because I just wanted to, but I also share it as something that tells me that listening pays off. So many things and people were saying otherwise late last year. Maybe I could have been farther along that path now if I had done it. At the same time, I have had experienced life in a whole different way these last several months than I would have if I had done things the way everyone else wanted me to. I have no doubt I did the right thing for me.
More than once I have thought about walking away from the doctors and medicine. I was at one time a big fat no about the surgery. But things change, especially when you allow yourself to be in the moment and act upon what shows up in that moment.
A part of me is very much at peace about surgery and chemo right now. It is my head that remembers all of the pain and fears and issues of last time that is screaming, "what the hell are you thinking about doing? are you crazy?!" I have a feeling I am headed in that direction. I will know soon enough if I am right.
As often is the case, I share a lot of what I do so I remember it. I also never mind when it might give another something to consider. Much of what I am doing is thinking out loud. It is often dangerous territory to be in, as you never know how it might come across.
But I think it is interesting when we don't put up the filters and defenses. I think there is a lot of value in allowing the truest self to be expressed. I have found it is a way to connect to another like no other. It also occurs to me that a great deal of my growth and ability to be who I am now has come through those moments when someone can identify with what I say, and validate me and my experience. And you can't get that when you are trying to be some other person or act some other way.
Interestingly, "inspire" also means to take in air. Anyone alive does just that. It isn't anything conscious or that takes any real effort, though. Actually LIVING life takes much more than just a passive process. It means jumping into all kinds of things that may be less than desirable. It means loving in the face of potential loss or pain. It means trusting even when the outcome might not be what you want. It means all kinds of things you probably don't want it to mean.
It means listening to the only person that really matters - YOU.
I would love to end this right there. But I feel I need to say something about that statement. So many would say it was selfish and self-centered to be that way, and it would be a bad thing. It would also be a way for another to possibly manipulate out of you what they want, or a way that you could do that to another.
The fact is, it is self-centered, and probably even selfish. It is about you first. The fact is, it should be. The more you evolve around self, the more you have a core to function from, the less wobbly you are. The more you know what is the right thing to do, not only for you, but ultimately for anyone else involved.
If you have lived any length of time in this world, that is not going to be an easy thing to break out of. Those around you know you all too well. They know what buttons to push. People won't like you breaking out of this silent oath many of us have taken to be someone we're not. Most of us haven't been trained to be who we are. We haven't been trained to speak our minds, to be true to ourselves.
I sometimes think people are jealous of where I am. It's ironic, given cancer is in my equation. But it is cancer that helped to bring me to this point. It is what in many ways precipitated the circumstances that compelled me to be me. I doubt those who might be jealous would want my full equation.
The fact is, anyone can have what I seem to have. They just have to be willing to do one of the hardest things they may ever have to do - be true to themselves. And when that happens, they will likely see that the truest inspiration lies within.
There is nothing outside of us that we do not have within. Being faced with cancer has shown me with absolute certainty that there are things that no one really knows or has the answers to, so I have stopped asking and stopped looking. I may still look at things and I may still ask things, but it is more for the benefit of the only thing that may have a shot of knowing anything of real value for me, and that is MY inner knowing.
There is so much more to this conversation, and I feel like I am about to go off on another tangent so I think I will stop for now. As with anything, there are so many threads that come together, and it is never easy to speak of one element in isolation - at least not accurately or comprehensively. As you can likely tell, though, I certainly do try to cover my bases.
I can't tell you how many people have told me I should have been a lawyer! LOL.
PS I need help. Please take a look at this page, and see if there might be some way you could assist, or if there is something that would be of interest to you. Thanks.