AFFIRMATION: Open up and let inspiration flow.
Inspiration is all around us. The most inspiring Christmas present I ever received came from my daughter—a blue jar filled with uplifting messages. She was studying abroad the next semester and wanted me to have a quote for every day she was out of the country, plus a few extras for the days I missed her most.
This gift was so perfect and thoughtful. Even now, when I see this blue jar, I am reminded of the love, creativity, and time it took to make these little inspirations. It contains messages about love, joy, adventure, courage, transformation, dreams, well-being, patience, success, creativity, and staying true to oneself. And on the back of some of these reflections are her own encouraging words. Every morning I looked forward to a new quote, and they always inspired me to live better. It was no coincidence that I usually drew out a message I needed to hear. It has been several years since I received this cherished gift and I still open up the jar to read the beautiful thoughts.
My daughter, McKenna, is the person who truly inspires me to be courageous, have more love and compassion, and live my truth. She was born with incredible empathy and sees the world in a positive light. To me, she is an angel from God. My husband used to say I got the daughter I asked for—but God gave me so much more. When we surround ourselves with people who encourage, energize, and inspire us to live our best life, we find the finest version of ourselves.
Inspiration Means In-Spirit
Where does inspiration originate? Repeatedly, over the last few years, I’ve realized that we receive ideas from outside ourselves. All of the sudden a solution appears like a bolt of lightning. Creative people over the centuries have described receiving a sudden flash of insight. Some artists and musicians state inspiration comes from another place and moves through them rather than being created by them. In writing my first book, I found this to be true.
Johannes Brahms stated that inspiration was a gift from God, “Straight-away the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God, and not only do I see distinct themes in my mind’s eye, but they are clothed in the right forms, harmonies, and orchestration. Measure by measure the finished product is revealed to me when I am in those rare, inspired moods.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, mentioned earlier, author of the popular book Eat, Pray, Love, says in Big Magic, “If inspiration is allowed to unexpectedly enter you, it is also allowed to unexpectedly exit you.” ¹ She provides the following incredible example. Elizabeth started writing a story about the Amazon jungle, but life got in the way and she left the book for two years. When she sat down to continue it, her inspiration had disappeared. During this time, she met the writer Ann Patchett, and they became friends. About a year later, Ann mentioned she was working on a book that takes place in the Amazon jungle.
Elizabeth then describes her own story to Ann—a Minnesota woman who is in love with her boss who gets a crazy idea about a business based in the Amazon. A person goes missing and money is lost, so the woman is sent to the jungle to find out why. It is a love story filled with suspense. Ann then looks at her and says, “You have got to be (bleep) kidding me.” ² Ann had written the same book! Incredible, right?
The only differences between their stories were that Elizabeth’s novel took place about fifty years before Ann’s, and her business was in highway construction while Ann’s was a pharmaceutical company. Ann had started her book about the time the two met. Elizabeth thinks that if we don’t put an idea to use, it will jump to another person until it is carried through. She believes her idea bounced to Ann on the day they met and resulted in Patchett’s novel State of Wonder. ³
Use inspiration before it jumps onto someone else, as Elizabeth experienced. If it does leave, don’t try to hold on to it, just let it go. Maybe this inspiration is better shared by another because we have other ideas to give the world. I believe we frequently receive inspiration, but because of the busy-ness and noise of everyday life, they go unnoticed. Take some quiet time to pause, even for a few moments, to get in touch with your inspired guidance and recognize it for what it is—divine help.
The contact of inspiration though God cannot be done merely by willpower working through the conscious mind, which is an evolutionary product of the physical realm and perishes with the body. It can only be accomplished by the soul-powers within—the real ego that survives bodily death. Those powers are quiescent to the conscious mind unless illumined by Spirit. — Johannes Brahms, German composer, pianist, conductor
Inspiration can be simple. It doesn’t have to come in monumental packages like Mozart’s concertos. When an aha moment emerges and creative insight pours into me, I know I have received an idea bigger than myself. The more we recognize and acknowledge this gift, the more inspiration appears.
Are coincidences divine help in disguise? I have pondered this question, realizing that accidental happenings often have a purpose. This became clear after my house fire. The insurance company sent out several businesses to help with the repairs. The first one to arrive was the restoration firm to clean and rebuild the house. The second was a business that deodorized all soft goods like clothes, bedding, throw pillows, and rugs. These two companies had the biggest jobs in the restoration process. Should I consider it a coincidence that the owners of both firms had links to my family? Or was it something more?
My husband had attended high school and played baseball with one of the proprietors of the restoration firm and McKenna had a class with the daughter of the soft-goods cleaning firm’s owner. Out of all the businesses the insurance company could have selected, these two were chosen. When I found out these companies had ties to my family, I felt safe and protected, and knew everything would work out. Coincidences are life events with a purpose—to help steer us in a more beneficial direction.
Since then, I have discovered many coincidences are orchestrated for a reason. One occurred while my daughter was studying abroad in Italy. The school provided an apartment that was literally right around the corner from the hotel we had stayed in two years before. Seriously, out of all the places in Florence, she ended up in the same neighborhood? I believe the reason for this was to help my daughter feel more comfortable in her new home.
Another example was when I was on a plane. The two guys sitting behind me started a conversation, and after a few minutes, they realized they knew each other’s names and were in the same business. Out of all the seats on the plane, they sat across from each other. Maybe they were supposed to meet to help each other.
Coincidences are not accidents but signals from the universe which can guide us toward our true destiny. — Deepak Chopra, Indian-born American author, speaker, alternative medicine advocate
Think about the possibility that there is more to life’s flow than is seen. Help can come from unexpected circumstances, events, or people. When we open ourselves up to receiving inspirational messages from the universe, we find out that we are here to assist each other in this great adventure we call life. Open up your mind and let inspiration in.
- Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic, (New York: Riverhead Books, 2015), 48.
2. Ibid, 53.
3. Ibid, 55.