Just enough to be yourself

Just enough to be yourself
Inspiration is interesting thing. You can set out to seek it but you cannot be guaranteed that you will find it. You just have to try to stay open to it when it comes your way. I sometimes do take a road trip or go to a gallery looking for it. Mostly though I have learned to stay open to the idea that I might find it anywhere. Yesterday a vase of wilted flowers in a clear glass vase made me see. There is also a broken branch on my morning walk that speaks to me. These little things are resting in the ordinary. 
Nor can we set out to intentionally be an inspiration to others. Whether it is as a friend, a parent, or in your work. You just have to do your work and be yourself. In doing this you may or may not inspire others. It is not up to us who or what we inspire. We don't decide. We must live our life as well as we know how, do what we do, and be who we are. Others will decide what inspires them.
I read recently about a monk who prayed that she would not try to be an inspiration to others, but that she would meet everyone with an open heart. It was in a book called Celtic Daily Prayer, in a section about the Desert Fathers and Mothers.
"Amma sara said, "If I prayed to God that all might be inspired because of me, I would find myself repenting at the door of every house. I would rather pray that my heart be pure towards everybody."
I found this to be so poignant. I have been thinking about it a great deal. It insists that we be as good as we can. An open heart is an important part of making and creating. You have to have an open heart to see the value in a broken branch. But our hearts, my heart is not always open. I try but I fail. I am cautious by nature. Timid in lots of ways. It is hard to remain open, this does take work and yes likely it takes prayer. To remain open is to see, and to grow in love and to live in kindness. This is as much as can be expected of anyone. It is the work of a life, not just the work of an artist. And it is not easy work. The world distracts us from it.
Sometimes before a workshop or talk, I feel tense and worried that I do not have enough to offer and then I calm myself remembering that all anyone has to offer is themselves. And the most we can offer anyone is our authentic self. From there we can go forward. When we begin with a pretence or showiness there is no path towards a deeper relationship. We can only grow together by showing and being as true to ourself as we can be. For this is all any of us really has. I always remind myself to just be myself. No putting on the dog or wearing fancy hats. Just be yourself.
The distractions to being ourselves are everywhere. They are in what we gather, and at times I think in our education, as well as our stuff. In some ways these things are meant to separate us. When I think of what we gather in a lifetime, the car, the house, the jewelry, I know they are all rented really. They are ours while we are here. They may be beautiful, even meaningful, but our things only belong to us until we outlive them or they outlive us.
They do not makes us any more or any less than we are. It is easy to get distracted by them though. I do time and time again. They can be like decorations on a belly dancer. So pretty and interesting, but it is really the movement of the woman underneath that is the charm. The little silver coins would be nothing without her passion for the dance.
So the monk tells us to smile at the world rather than trying to get the world to smile back. To go out there and be good to others, this is the advice from the desert fathers and mothers. It was also the advice that I got from my own father. To do your best. To be kind. To be yourself. My mother in law often told me,
"Dear, we are here to be good to each other."
I always think that if you are looking for meaning in life, there it is, right there, to be good to each other, and  to be ourselves, as best we can, as often as we can. To forgive ourself when we fail or get distracted and begin again right away. These are the kind of people I love in my life, the kind who inspire me. They are no more perfect than the broken branch on my walk, but still they bloom and continue to grow despite themselves.

Previous Post Next Post

  • Deanne Fitzpatrick
Comments 0
Leave a comment
Your Name:*
Email Address:*
Message: *
* Required Fields