Friday, April 19, 2013

Breath of Life

Inspiration n. 1. Stimulation of the faculties to a high level of feeling or activity. 2. The condition of being so stimulated. 3. An agency, such as a person or a work of art, that moves the intellect or emotions. 4. Something that is inspired, as an idea or action. 5. Theology. Divine guidance or influence exerted directly upon the mind and soul of man. 6. The act of breathing in; inhalation. *

*American Heritage Dictionary 1980

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 Inspiration is something we all experience whether you’re an artist or a writer or a chef or an ordinary person. We may wake up with a GREAT IDEA for a new project or story or recipe or way to organized your closet and be eager to get started on it. It’s a great feeling. It’s a joyous feeling! It makes us gasp *gasp* with that aha moment.

What I wonder is where does inspiration come from? I can be reading a non-fiction historical novel and a paragraph will ring in my head as something I must save as an idea or jumping-off point for a fictional, futuristic novel I will write (it’s currently number 4 on my list). Or I can be wandering through the grocery store and spy an ingredient that will suddenly make it onto my grocery list and become the main entrĂ©e for dinner that night. Still, where does this inspiration come from? What makes that passage ring or that ingredient become necessary?

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Because I have a strong faith, I’m going to suggest that inspiration is indeed Divine guidance, the breathing in of God’s breath. Inspired comes from the Latin origin of in spiritu. For you Catholics, you know this; you hear this every Sunday mass – in spiritu Sancti – the Holy Spirit. Perhaps our inspiration is God speaking to us, giving us joy, leading us to our purpose, filling us with His Holy Spirit. If you are a non-believer, then perhaps inspiration is an intellectual spark of connectivity – firing neurons. A spark that makes us say, “I get it!” or “that would work great!”

 Wherever inspiration comes from it is something we cannot ignore. It must be answered and fulfilled. It is our driving force, the impetus for us to get moving. The artist must break out the paints or clay searching for the correct medium, the writer must stare at that blank page forming the opening sentence, the chef must begin chopping.

For me, some days I stare at the blank page inspired but struggling with a beginning. Other days I’m inspired to do laundry or finger paint with my Little Man. What is your inspiration? What is your breath of life?

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