Random Image

Do you ever have ideas just pop into your mind, completely unaware of their origin or reason for coming to you? I do. In fact, it happens pretty often.

When this first began, I didn’t pay much attention to when ideas arrived. I thought to myself, ‘oh, that’s interesting…but, I’ve got stuff to do’, disregarding them, only to have the ideas return later.

Believing myself to be someone who respects both intuition and inspiration, I’ve learned now to slow down long enough to take the idea inside and let it sit with me. This is definitely an acquired skill, but offers such value to me and to anyone who chooses it.

So, when my latest idea arrived, I leaned back, breathed into it a bit and let it have its way with me. Here’s what it said:

‘Why don’t you create a post from a random image.’ A statement, not a question.

I responded that I needed more information than that to take any action and was given this:

‘Go to your website, click on the POST button, click on the IMAGE button, see what comes up and SELECT a picture that speaks to you, then write a post about it.’

‘Oh sure’, I thought, ‘simple.’

I confess, I tabled the idea and went on about my business.

Over the next week or so the idea reappeared, sort of like someone knocking at your door, leaving and coming back and knocking again. I knew I would give in.


‘Okay,’ I said, ‘Stop already, I’ll do it!’

At the beginning of this post is the image that spoke to me.

It’s beautiful and very intriguing to me. How is that the tree is growing in the middle of this gorgeous body of water? I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it before. I also loved the subtlety of the colors and the mix of purple and orange as it spreads across the picture.

I looked closely at the image. I don’t think it’s photo-shopped, but again I wondered, how is it possible for the tree to be there?

I let my mind wander. I let my heart go with it to see what my mind would pick up on. I wondered if the ‘idea’ that started this all directed me to this specific image. Was that possible?

And, I wondered too, what has this all to do with inspiration?

As it turns out, quite a bit, I believe.

This whole exercise is about inspiration. It’s about thoughts and feelings appearing inside me with no obvious cause or reason. They just show up and it’s up to me to recognize them and to learn from them and appreciate them. To invite them to sit down with me, like I would if a friend called me up to have a chat.

If we truly pay keen attention to our lives, I believe it is always like this. Invisible, intangible, delightful inspirations come into our day. We have the chance to work with them and see where they will take us. The question I feel it’s important for me to ask myself is, ‘will I invite them in?’

Once I’ve decided to open myself up, it becomes magical, mysterious and memorable. I can’t explain from where, or how the ideas come. Or, why they chose me. And I can’t explain about the tree in the middle of this water. The thing is, it all inspires me. It’s beautiful and wonderful.

And I sit back…thankful for inspirations.

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Take A Chance

How does inspiration actually work? I think it’s a good question.

When you name a website ‘messagesforinspiration’ like I did, you really probably ought to know. When it comes down to it, everyone has to decide for themselves, but I thought I’d give you my answer.

I believe that all inspirations start with an idea. It can be any idea, but the ones I favor are meant to open a door or a window for you. Maybe it opens only a crack, but still it represents something new or perhaps something that you haven’t tried in a while.

I think that the ideas can come from anywhere. They can be very simple or seemingly complex, but they have to capture some part of your imagination and offer some hope for a positive change in your life.

My aim is to provide thoughts and ideas which may intrigue you or prompt you to accept a challenge or embrace an opportunity.

So, for today, here’s one for you.

Take a chance.

I don’t mean being cavalier about your choices in life or doing anything dangerous. But, I do believe that we can become so set in our routines that we rarely look outside the box. And, there is a lot outside the box!

I’m suggesting that you take a chance about one thing and see what happens.

What fascinates me most when I take a chance, is the revelation of how everything is connected. On the face of it, things seem separate, but if I look carefully, I realize they link together. And, if I really, really look carefully, they link both forward and backward.

It’s always helped me to have examples, so I’d like to share one with you from my life to illustrate what I’m saying.

Many years ago, Maureen and I were visiting Asheville, North Carolina and were shopping in its quaint downtown area. We ended up in a local bookstore and I was attracted to the display of local writers. One of the books had a beautifully hand drawn picture on the cover. I picked it up and began reading. As I turned the pages, the author (and illustrator) recounted the first leg of his journey on the Appalachian Trail. I fell in love with the idea of vicariously walking the trail with him, especially since the idea had always appealed to me. I bought the book and told myself to read the daily entries and not rush ahead. It was a fabulous experience.

I wanted to let the author know how much his book meant to me, so I researched him and found his home address in Asheville and decided to ‘take a chance’ and write to him to express my appreciation. Along with my note I decided to offer him a gift copy of my first Little Buddha book, as an additional thank you. I mentioned to him that I didn’t expect any reply, but would certainly be happy to receive one.

Several weeks later his reply arrived. He was thrilled that I’d bought and read his book, honored that I would share mine with him and wanted to stay in touch, which we did.

A few years later, he began his fourth and final section of the trail which put him within 50 miles of my home. He called and relayed that he’d miscalculated his food supplies and wondered if I’d be able to help him out. I met him just off the trail where it crossed Route 20 in Massachusetts. I bought him a hot breakfast from McDonalds plus gave him a lunch and dinner I’d made, so he could make it to his next food restocking location.

Fast forward a few more years.

If you’ve checked out the BOOKS page on this website you’ll notice the first book mentioned. It’s titled, talking with (god). I encourage you to look carefully at the cover. It’s magnificent  and so beautifully draw. Guess who drew it, as well as the rest of the incredible illustrations inside? You got it, my friend, the Appalachian Trail hiker, Mike ‘Sketch’ Wurman.

I am so profoundly glad that I took a chance and wrote to him. Thank you, my friend for being in my life.

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Fun

What are you aiming for this year?

Are you unsure or do you have some thoughts about it already?

Here’s a suggestion you might not have considered. How about including fun in your life? I mean an ‘on purpose’ kind of fun, rather than hoping fun arrives when you need it.

If you’re game, grab a pencil or pen or even better, a crayon. The color doesn’t matter, whatever is handy will do. Oh, and a piece of paper, notebook, journal, or as my dad always used to do, reach for an old envelope.

Now, this is very important. This is an exercise of speed. You may find it works best if you write down exactly what comes to your mind immediately. The things that are sitting inside you and close to the surface are probably the ones you need the most.

You can always dive deeper once you’ve captured the quick and easy stuff.

Ok, here goes. Write down everything that comes to you that sounds like fun. Remember, it doesn’t have to be practical, reasonable or affordable. Stop now and just write.

I’m going to assume you wrote some things. I hope so.

Are you pleased with your list? If not, you can have a do-over whenever you want and as many times as you want.

Here’s another idea. Wouldn’t it be fun to see what other people wrote down on their lists? To me, this offers several opportunities for joy. One, you may want to borrow a couple of items from their list. Two, you may want to get together with them and do some of the items that appeal to both of you. Three, if you expand this to more folks, you may be able to do some fun things in a group.

As with all ventures, it is up to you to decide.

Just in case you’re interested, I’m going to share some of my list with you and maybe plant a few seeds:

Zoom with our Game Group friends, paint some rocks and put them around town, do art projects with my grandchildren, go for a drive with Maureen, put together some Legos, create a Zentangle heart and get it made into stickers, read a good book, make another tie-dye shirt, play cards, watch some shows we like, listen to music, email and text some friends to catch up, have conversations with Lia, and dream about when the weather is warm enough to be in water outdoors (any water really; a brook, stream, pond, lake, ocean, pool, even a puddle will do).

Earlier in my life I thought that intellectual aims were the most important things and that fun just filled in the gaps. But life can become serious and when it does, fun can become lost in the mad shuffle and get squeezed out.

That’s when my alter-ego has to appear. Inside me, there is a perennial four-year-old just waiting to be in charge. His job is to say, ‘enough work, it’s play time’. This is easiest to pull off when the grandchildren are around, but I’m getting to be pretty good at when I’m solo.

I hope you get good at it too.

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Try Outs

As I grew up there seemed to be quite a few different opportunities to ‘tryout’ for things. Whether it was for a sports team, a musical group, a play or something else I might have been interested in.

One theme seemed pretty common to them all. They each created some uncertainty inside of me. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know if I’d be any good at what I was trying out for. I wasn’t sure I’d get picked and what it would mean to me if I didn’t.

I might be terrible and embarrass myself. I couldn’t know for sure if I’d be welcomed and, I didn’t know in advance, if I’d stay with it or perhaps find, it wasn’t for me. Would I be allowed to quit, if I didn’t like it?

You may have experienced some of these same thoughts.

The fact is we’re always trying new things, sometimes because we want to and other times because we have to. If we’re sick, we have to try new medications. If our car dies, we have to find a new one. If we lose our job or give it up, we have to search for another. The list of new things we have to try or tryout for is considerable.

Interestingly, I rarely assumed that all would go well, that I would like what I tried out for or that I would be good, perhaps even great at it, or that it would bring me joy.

I wonder about that now. How much time did I spend thinking about the potential downsides? I believe the answer is, quite a bit.

And, I think I brought that attitude with me for much of my life. It sat on my shoulder during the college admission process and job interviews and some major life decisions.

I place no blame here. I realize we all absorb ideas and attitudes from our cultures. It’s pretty much a given.

Then one day something changed. I began to ask myself what was really true. Instead of allowing my standard responses to continue to guide me, I challenged everything. I became something of a rebel.

I shifted.

I opened to new possibilities. I started asking myself, what if I absolutely love this new thing? What if I change my idea of ‘success’, making it more about enjoyment than accomplishment? What if I learned to treasure the adventure and release my attitude that it has to lead to something tangible?

I began to embrace the idea that this life is mine. I get to decide what it means and what direction it takes. I get to choose which attitude to accept.

I found that I could let go of my tendency to believe I had to prove myself to others and recognize it is more important what I think and believe about myself. I am the one leading this life. I am the one with hopes and dreams.

I am not trying out for this life. I am this life.

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Three Dollar Wisdom

At some point a few years ago I stumbled across an idea. I didn’t know exactly where it came from but I think it’s worth sharing with you.

I realized that I was losing some really good ideas because I wasn’t writing them down at the time they came to me.

So, I went to one of my favorite places, the Dollar Store. Sure, that may be hard to believe, but I’ve discovered a few simple treasures there. This time, it was $3.00 worth of small lined pads of paper.

When I got home, I placed them strategically around so one would always be within easy reach. That way, I reasoned, I could capture any thoughts that arose I felt were worth remembering.

I don’t know about you, but if I don’t write something down when I’m thinking of it, it’s likely to disappear. Sort of like when you wake up in the morning after having had a particularly vivid dream, but later when you try to recount it to someone, all the details have become fuzzy.

Not all of what I write down is of the same quality. I can prove that to you. 

Here are two examples of some inconsistencies in life I’ve observed. Why, I wonder, do they call two baseball games played back to back a ‘double header, but when they play just one game it’s not called a ‘single header’? 

Or this. Why is December 21st known as the SHORTEST DAY of the year, rather than the LONGEST NIGHT of the year? I don’t get it, do you?

But then, there are times I’m very glad I paid attention and took the time to record my fleeting thoughts. Here are a few I’d like to pass along.

PHYSICAL PAIN

“Breathing into physical pain, rather than tightening and accentuating the pain, allows it to release, move out and away from me. It’s so good to remember this for when the time comes.”

MEASURES OF SUCCESS

“What if there is more going on here (on earth) than keeping score? What if the score doesn’t matter at all? And what would happen if I released any need I had to WIN?” 

(Good things, I bet)

CONSCIOUS CHOICE

“What if what you want to happen ALREADY EXISTS, and that you have the ability to consciously choose it? And what if the more clear you are about consciously choosing (visualizing), the more accurately it will appear (manifest) in your life?”

SIMPLE

During a conversation with Lia, I asked, “Is fear behind every angry reaction (I have)? Her answer was, “YES, it is that simple.”

Again, I asked, “Is the antidote to fear always love?” and she responded, “YES, it is that simple.” And lastly, I asked, “Is everything that’s wrong with my body because of what I’ve put into it (thoughts, food, worry…)?” And as before, she answered, “YES, it is that simple.”

I pass these along as a way of offering you an opportunity to harness your own constant stream of inner wisdom. I know you have it in you and I hope you choose to let it surface and use it for your benefit. And, perhaps the benefit of others as well, if that feels right to you.

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Worthiness

Do you seem to have an endless list of things to do and not enough time to do them? Even the most important ones?

There’s probably some club you could join where everyone feels this way. Of course, it’s likely you wouldn’t have time to go to any of the meetings.

I could be in this club.

I have a TO DO list almost a mile long and as soon as I start to feel I’m getting ahead, I add new things to it. Most of the time I add more than I complete.

I asked myself recently how I felt about this. The answer was, burdened.

My thinking mind said, ‘but there’s so much to do and we need to get it done. We have to organize and prioritize. We can do this, we just need to make some adjustments. Let’s identify ways to handle this.’

My thinking mind set about brainstorming ideas; I could get up earlier, avoid distractions and break up my TO DO list into smaller more manageable pieces.

Perhaps these were reasonable fixes, but the feeling part of me knew each of these ideas would only add more items to my already bulging list.

An idea dawned on me.

Maybe the answer wasn’t to identify and fix the reasons why I couldn’t get everything done.

Maybe the answer or answers would appear if I explored the belief(s) that drove my need to check off all of the items.

This felt promising.

I began to wonder what would happen if I didn’t complete each of my self-assigned tasks. As I looked at each item, I discovered a common theme. I would not feel good about myself.

But why?

That now seemed like the critical question to ask. What did completing items from my list really do for me? Well, it gave me a sense of accomplishment. Beneath this, where my beliefs live, I realized there was more. It also gave me a sense of worthiness, which came through the praise of others and my own self-congratulations.

So, why is this necessary?

That answer eluded me at first, until I went inside and looked into my heart and spirit, and then I knew. I saw clearly how my ego was driven by fear and how it believed this fear was necessary in order to protect the self-image it had created. An image that firmly rested on praise from the outside and the inside. My ego believed it was vital to create opportunities (like the TO DO list) that would serve as nourishment to keep me healthy.

In the past I would have begun an internal argument with my ego. I would have attempted to convince my ego that it was wrong and that this approach would always lead to unhappiness.

But, I’ve learned that my ego plays a necessary part in my life and I no longer argue with it. Instead, I offer it love, which is the only thing that allows it to relax and calm down. I thank it for doing its job and keeping me safe. I offer it my gratitude and then share from my heart and spirit a more powerful truth. That I am inherently worthy and valuable. That I am radiant and beautiful and beloved. That I am a child of god and never need to prove myself, to be found worthy.

Looking beneath the surface, beyond my worldly concerns and thinking mind, I find a place of love. My true home.

In this light, I can let go of the significance of all of my TO DO items and they can each patiently wait their turn now.

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