I am often told that I am inspiring. Merriam Webster defines inspiration as "the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions." It humbles me to know that my journey, full of triumphs and struggles inspires other people.
The idea of “inspiration” is a crazy thing to comprehend. Something that one person may not even notice could be the most inspiring thing in the world to someone else — and inspiring in what way? Does it inspire them to do? To say? To think about? To create? I’m always curious to find out where people draw their inspiration — and today I'm showing you where I draw mine.
In the beginning of my journey, I drew my inspiration from my dreams. Quite literally. In my dreams I was fit, I was healthy. I was never overweight in my dreams. I never struggled with breathing or walking. Upon waking it usually took me by surprise to realize that I was a fit girl trapped in a fat girls body.
Dreaming of being fit and healthy made me realize that it was up to ME to take the necessary steps to live the life that I dreamed of. It was up to me to take RESPONSIBILITY for the body I was living in and the body I wanted to live in. I didn't feel like I was my authentic self.
I hear a lot of other weight loss folks talk about how they loved themselves when they were overweight/obese/morbidly obese. I'm happy that they had that in them. I DID NOT. I did not like the person I was when I was nearly 400lbs. I did not love myself. I was merely living and existing.
To find my authentic self and my inspiration I had to to ask myself a question "who am I?" In 2008 I was a mom, a wife, a graduate student, a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, and a friend. But none of these things got to the core of who I was. I was merely living on the surface of my identity, and not in touch with my deeper self. I was spending my time looking outside of myself to create a sense of who I was and that was bringing me further off track. How can we know who we truly are when we spend our time and attention trying to be something other than what we find ourselves to be? I knew who I was truly meant to be. I met her in my dreams nearly every single night.
For me, my truest purpose in life began when I sought to seek the answers to the deep questions of MY life and then living in accordance with what I found to be true. It was like I turned on an inner light, and something inside me woke up. Once I did that, my inner self seemed to have a voice that, if I listened to it, guideed me in my daily choices. This is not the voice of personal opinions, judgments and preferences. It comes from a deeper place than that, and with practice and time I learned to tell the difference between the voice of my ego and the voice of my authentic self. For me, it took a lot of time and experimentation to distinguish between these two voices. Now, the difference is very clear to me. The challenge is in choosing to listen to my true self rather than to my ego when they don't agree.
Now, I know that I am being authentic when I am making a choice that creates a resonance of affirmation inside of me. Alternatively, I have learned to recognize the lack of resonance as well -- even for simple things. For example, yesterday my son enthusiastically proposed that we buy a dessert at Sam's Club. He was very excited, smiling from ear to ear at the idea of a dessert. His proposition went clunk inside of me, so I said no and suggested something else that passed my inner test of resonance. Ultimately, we were able to find something that worked for us both (angel food cake with fresh berries and low-fat vanilla yogurt, compared to the Key Lime Cheesecake he had wanted.) I've learned that if we had tried to force it, BOTH of us would have been out of sorts, him because he didn't get something that he was so excited for, and me because I would have eaten the Key Lime Cheesecake. When I listen to my inner feedback system, I find my life is easier, more graceful and I am more peaceful inside. When I fight against it or ignore it is when I get into trouble and find myself disconnected from what I am doing or who I am with and I become irritable inside. It's like having an internal GPS that tells me where my truth is.
Living in a place of authenticity involves being rooted in your deepest beliefs, values and truth and living a life that is a true reflection of those beliefs. It is about being true to yourself through your thoughts, words and actions. It means being willing to sacrifice any relationship, situation or circumstance that violates your truth. My example, if you are living in a body that requires you to function in a way that is not in accord with your truth, you need to change it. Does this mean you will live a charmed life? No, you will still have your share of sorrows as well as sweetness in your life. However, you will have the wisdom of knowing who you are to guide you. The more you practice listening to your inner wisdom, the less friction and discord you will find yourself creating in your life.
Once I started to listen to my true self, inspiration started coming at me from all different directions! I was inspired to LIVE! To LOVE! To be AUTHENTIC! This meant that I had to change a lot of things about myself that were not at the core of who I really was. I had to remove people from my life. I had to apologize to other people who I hurt with unkind words and thoughts. And I had to forgive myself.
So what inspires me???
WHAT INSPIRES YOU??