Finding Inspiration

Inspiration. With it we can overcome the steepest of obstacles yet without it we are left feeling utterly incapable. While its etiology is as varied and individual as the people seeking it, I have found its necessity to be equaled vital to everyone. Inspiration fills the chasm between one’s existence and the ability to thrive.

I am often asked how I find and maintain inspiration amidst all of life’s challenges, specifically, living with Multiple Sclerosis. While I definitely have days seemingly devoid of it the majority of my days are filled with a myriad of different sources. Be it reading scripture, chatting with friends, listening to music or enjoying the company of family finding things to inspire isn’t difficult for me, it’s maintaining that fire in times of adversity that poses the real challenge. Sometimes I find myself inspired by a song or particular bible passage and, while in the moment, find myself particularly touched, however, as soon as I am out of that element I lose the feeling. I have, however, found a few methods to be particularly helpful in tapping back into that mind-set:

• Shrinking and laminating favorite bible passages and keeping them in my wallet is a great way to carry my inspiration with me. I often pull them out at infusions or in times my soul feels troubled.
• Keeping an inspirational playlist on hand always helps me tap into a positive emotional state.
• Coordinating with a friend who knows to be on ‘call’ for you during a particularly difficult time always helps.
• Keep inspirational quotes on hand for quick and easy reference.
• Play with your animal. I love on Abby and find almost instantaneous inspiration from doing so.
• Volunteer or help someone less fortunate. It is always incredibly inspiring to be of service to others.
• Write an old-fashioned letter to someone. It will not only inspire you it will make their day.

Of course, sources of inspiration vary among people these are just a few that work for me.

Inspiration sometimes gets confused with happiness, and even though they oftentimes align themselves they are quite different.

You can definitely feel inspired while not happy, in fact, oftentimes my best written work I done while I am feeling sad or pained. It’s funny in that inspiration can come in the aftermath of something quite painful such as a break-up, riveting diagnosis or argument. I found some of my most poignant poetry written after my diagnosis with MS. This is definitely not to say happiness cannot elicit inspiration, rather, the relationship between the two isn’t as clear cut as some would believe.

This morning I woke up sort of blasé as I have been fighting both the flu as well as a couple of other infections and am under the gun to improve before Thursday’s infusion of Tysabri. The gentleman from the cable company came out to replace a few antiquated boxes and while doing so proceeded to tell me about his wife who’d recently begun treatment for pancreatic cancer. Being of kind heart and faith I listened intently then asked her name so I could add her to my prayer list. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and gave me the most heartfelt ‘thank you’ I’ve had in quite some time. His demeanor, grace and genuine regard for my small gesture inspired me greatly. On this morning, thinking only of myself and finding it hard to find my own source, a complete stranger guided me to the most beautiful kind of inspiration yet.

What inspires you? Whatever that may be tap into and relish it as it’s when inspiration runs dry that we seem to as well. When you think it’s lost, stop and take in your surroundings because somewhere nearby is a cable guy waiting to give you yours.

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