Where Do We Find Inspiration?

“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso


Each of us wants and needs something to believe in. We want to believe in ourselves. We also want to be inspired, to go on to do daring things, and take part in experiences that broaden our perspective and expand our horizons. But where is inspiration? Where can you go to find it or discover it within?

These questions are valid. More importantly, the answers are necessary to jumpstart momentum and make you feel good about your prospects.

So, where is inspiration? Is it in nature, the song’s melody, the written word, the touch of a loved one, the laughter of a small child, the aroma and taste of food? In truth, inspiration can be found in anything. What you look at one day may change the next day by allowing you to see and experience something new.

When you are truly present in life, you notice things.

And it’s necessary to be fully present to see what may be right in front of you.

Reactions, for example, and movement, as well as change. If you remain stuck in thoughts of the past, worried about the future, or so absorbed in your own troubles that you can’t think about anything else, inspiration will be hard to find.

On the other hand, when you think of possibilities, dream of doing something you’ve never done before, or imagine various scenarios your life may involve, that’s inspiration at work.

Cultivate the art of dreaming.

Indeed, allow yourself to dream.

Flex your imagination muscle, for every person has one, and it’s there for a good purpose. Humans can dream of things that aren’t yet a reality, construct a reality within their thoughts, and design plans to bring those imaginary goals to fruition.

If you prize imagination and give inspiration room to grow, you can flesh out dreamscapes and make them real.

Everything is possible with imagination and inspiration – and, of course, the willingness to work hard and persevere despite all obstacles you encounter.

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How to Find and Embrace the Seeker in You

July 10, 2022

Photo by Chen YiChun/Unsplash

“What you seek is seeking you.” – Rumi

What is it that stirs your thoughts, fills you with anticipation, and motivates you to act? It’s a goal you want to pursue, an accomplishment you want or need to achieve, or a result you’ve worked hard to obtain.

You’re seeking something – an outcome, success, resolution, fulfillment.

You might not realize that what you are so earnestly seeking is simultaneously seeking you.

That may sound a little out there, but not if you believe in the transformative powers of making dreams a reality.

Suppose you put forth your efforts and focus on a single goal. In that case, you are more likely to be successful in the endeavor than if you only act perfunctorily, without enthusiasm or determination.

This is not only true of the achievement of tangible results – like completing a comprehensive report or presentation at work – but also being successful in developing a lasting friendship, building a romantic bond, nurturing your children, and realizing emotional enrichment.

The goal – what you seek – is circling, not yet fulfilled, but waiting for you to find it and bring it into reality.

Granted, your search may take longer than you think or would like. It may require sacrifice, additional training, the modification of certain behaviors, the elimination of some habits, and the development of new ones. You might need other resources or allies or rely on the encouragement and support of your network.

You want to help bring hope to those who have none. This could be a calling to the ministry, public service, philanthropic efforts, organizing neighborhood contributions to a food bank, volunteering at a seniors’ or children’s home, visiting a shut-in, or bringing food to a sick neighbor.

Your goal is to influence a particular area of expertise. To do so requires years of study and practice, as in medicine, psychology, law, engineering, and architectural design.

Whatever it is that you seek, the closer you get to your goal, the more vivid and real it becomes. Your enthusiasm builds and spurs you forward.

Life is meant to be experienced, not endured. What you choose to pursue, the dreams and goals that lift your spirits and make you smile, are the ones that emanate from the seeker in you.

Embrace that seeker. It’s the only way to live a vibrant and purposeful life.

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Why You Love Someone

November 12, 2021

Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash

Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash

“You don’t love someone for their looks or their clothes or their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.” – Oscar Wilde


Most of us have experienced love. For some, it’s platonic at this stage, while others have known deep and enduring love. There are, of course, many kinds of love and, according to the song, “Love makes the world go-’round.”

Why is that I wonder? What is it about love or, specifically, why do you love someone? When I came across the quote by Oscar Wilde, it all seemed to come together.

Two people in love – and I’m speaking of romantic love here – are coordinated. They communicate in a language that’s both verbal and non-verbal, and what they’re saying may only make sense to each other. Ergo, “they sing a song only you can hear.”

What a fabulous way to describe why you love someone. You’re privy to a private concert, a song, and a melody meant for you alone. Others, of course, may witness and hear the interaction, but it doesn’t have the same resonance.

It isn’t meant to.

Love is many things. Indeed, love can be all-encompassing, uplifting, generous, and selfless at its best. There’s also the dark side of love, but that’s more controlling and selfish than anything else. When darkness intrudes on love, it morphs the emotion into a life-robbing state rather than life-affirming.

Back to why you love someone, let’s stick with the sweet and heartfelt song only you hear. Savor the thought. Remind yourself how much this applies to your situation, to your special love.

Now, make it a point to express your love for that person meaningfully today.



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Create Something That Lasts

November 9, 2021


Photo by Alexey Topolyanskiy on Unsplash

“The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” – Stephen Covey


The elixir of immortal life hasn’t yet been discovered. It may never be. While you can’t live forever, you can live a life of lasting importance, meaning, purpose, and joy.


You create something that lasts.

Parents do this with their children, the very essence of personal legacy. By bringing a child into existence, the mother and father present the world with a precious gift, a unique human being with potential.

This act is both loving and self-serving. And both are good things.

To love a child is a parent’s greatest joy. To ensure that the child grows thrives, and learns how to embrace life, utilize his or her talents and take action to help others and make a difference is to perpetuate the lineage, serve as an extension of self, and reap the rewards of paternal pride.

Artists, inventors, scientists, sports figures, and writers also create something that lasts. Their passion and perseverance show up in their work and accomplishments, things that will be remembered and singled out for distinction.

Yet every person can create something that lives on. You needn’t be famous, at the top of your profession, incredibly wealthy, or superlative. However, you need to put forth your best effort, live with passion and zest, and follow your beliefs and values.

The core of who you are – that unique combination of joy, intelligence, enthusiasm, talent, strength, compassion, love, and helpfulness – will live forever. What’s said about you may be verbal or in books or other written communication. It may be a thought or fond memory.

What do you want to represent your life long after you’re gone? We can choose what we create, rich or poor, man or woman, young or old.

And we’re the only creatures that have this unparalleled gift.


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How to Enjoy Life’s Simple Pleasures

March 1, 2021

Photo by Picography

“If someone asked me what my idea of luxury is, I think my answer would be: flowers in the house all year around.” – Mary Sarton


Searching in vain for something to make us happy is enough to drive anyone a bit crazy. This doesn’t mean in a clinical sense but more in the vein of running around in circles.

We need to find effective ways to deal with everyday stresses and overcome the sameness of routine. Here’s a novel idea: Take the time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

Enjoy Life’s Simple Pleasures

Think for a minute about simplicity. What could be easier than taking a brief break? Close your eyes. Engage in nothing more than listening to the silence of your thoughts. If what’s going on in your brain is a whirlwind of competing thoughts, acknowledge the chaos and let it begin to subside.

  • Concentrate on your breathing, in and out, all the while reaffirming that life is precious and good. How simple is that? 

When most people think of how to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, they can’t produce a list that doesn’t include the big three. These are money, possessions, and dozens of friends. Of these three, only having friends truly counts as a simple pleasure. The others are accumulations of material things – certainly not conducive to overall happiness. Of course, many other things may pop into the front of your mind as a simple pleasure that isn’t, but you get the point. 

Now, back to enjoying life’s simple pleasures, what are some of these, and how do we overcome our reticence to appreciate and enjoy them? Simpler still, what steps can we take to enjoy life’s little pleasures? 

If it gives you joy, it’s a simple pleasure, period. These are easy ones:

  • Smell the fragrance of flowers on a morning walk. That’s a simple pleasure.
  • Savor the taste of a delicious meal. That’s a simple pleasure.
  • Delight in the laughter of your young child or the sound of your friends laughing with you. Another simple pleasure.
  • Reflect on the wonder of the velvety touch of a rose petal.
  • Marvel over the silky softness of a kitten’s fur.
  • Reciprocate the delicious caress of your loved one.

These are all such simple pleasures.

Life’s simple pleasures are easier to recognize and appreciate when you do this. Focus on life now. Strip away the incessant need to acquire and accumulate. Think only about the here and now. Be present.

As to how to get going enjoying them, here are a few suggestions:

  1.  Make time each day to do something you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a long time. Just 15 minutes is a good start. Read a chapter of a new book by a favorite author. Go for a walk outside. Talk with a friend. Work on a hobby. This isn’t too hard to figure out.
  2. Think of this as a treat. Engaging in some well-deserved and much-needed me-time is critically important. It allows you to rejuvenate and regain your sense of well-being, to take a break from the non-stop daily pressures and schedules. Everyone likes a treat. Why not give yourself one?
  3. Need help? Craft a list. Put on the spot to think about a simple pleasure? Do yourself a favor and write a few down as they come to you. That way, you’ll have several choices when you decide to stop and enjoy one.
  4. Remember that enjoying life’s simple pleasures helps you enjoy living. We’re only here for a short amount of time. Make the most of each moment and enjoy every minute of each simple pleasure.



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Keep the Focus on Now: It’s What Counts Most

October 10, 2020

Photo by Peter Pryharski on Unsplash


“Forget past mistakes, forget failures, forget everything except what you’re going to do now, and do it.” – Will Durant


Far too many people waste time worrying over things they’ve done in the past. In the process, they often neglect or, worse, can’t even recognize opportunities that may be right in front of them.

Frankly, aren’t we all guilty of this on occasion? I suspect we are, even if we don’t want to admit it. Regardless, being willing to see our tendency to dwell on past mistakes and/or perceived failures and then moving past that temporary negative line of thinking to remind ourselves that we live in the present and not the past is good. This turnabout ensures we pay attention to the present, where we can act and implement plans. That’s the only way to accomplish goals, broaden horizons, and pursue long-held dreams.

And it’s a truth that lacking focus, we won’t be able to see where we want to be in the future. That’s true whether the future in question is next week, a year from now, or 10 years beyond today.

Here’s what happens when we commit full attention to an activity. It typically gets done faster and usually with better results. It’s easier to zero in on what’s necessary to minimize distraction and sharpen attention to the task. Athletes know this as being “in the zone.” It’s a good analogy to preparing for working on what needs to be done now.

Before you can focus, you need some tasks to begin, a goal to pursue, or an activity requiring effort. Focus is not a concept of abstraction. It’s always specific in the context of action. Put this in real terms. Focus means figuring out what we need to do to concentrate our attention in the here and now and jumpstart our ability to be fully present.

This may require some practice, especially for those too accustomed to getting lost in social media or other timewasters. Learning how to focus and live in the present won’t happen overnight. Suppose you tell yourself you will eliminate all distractions and pay attention to what must be done now. That’s not going to make all those ever-present distractions somehow magically disappear. Instead, it will take a concentrated effort to wrest thoughts away from dwelling on the past and a list of what went wrong (as well as worrying about mistakes or failures that may never occur in the future) to remain firmly in the present and do what needs doing now.

Another strong recommendation is to have a list of things to do. That way, there’s less likely to be a vacuum where thoughts can drift back to ruminate over painful experiences in the past.

Although everyone can benefit from some downtime, that too can be scheduled. Be sure to carve out time for enjoyable activities like gardening, reading, hiking in nature, lunch, or coffee with friends, starting a hobby, or taking a mini vacation with loved ones and family members. Keep in mind, though, that even downtime requires focus. The best downtime recognizes living in the present and maximizing every second of being alive.

This is truly what counts in life.


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Be an Enthusiast in Life

September 28, 2020

Photo by Kai Visuals on Unsplash


“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life…if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.” – Roald Dahl


Life is worth living. And when it comes to living, the only way to live is to do so wholeheartedly, without reservation or regrets, no holds barred, and full speed ahead.

Too often, we tell ourselves that we’ll only go so far, that we’ll try something, and then give up before we’ve even allowed it to have a chance. That’s not living. That’s dipping a toe in the water and deciding it’s too cold to go further.

This kind of defeats the purpose of discovery and exploration. You must be willing to entertain the unknown, step into unfamiliar territory and overcome your reticence and fears if you have any hope of living a joyful, zest-filled life.

You don’t regard yourself as enthusiastic, preferring to play it safe rather than be bold. It’s OK to be tentative initially but venture forth and do something out of your comfort zone.

To make it easy, start small. Don’t go out on a boat ride if you’re petrified of water. Spend some time gazing at the water from the safety of a secure dock. If you can’t stand heights but must use an elevator to get where you’re going, and the elevator is made of see-through material, don’t look down. Look out instead. While this won’t make you an enthusiast about the water or less afraid of heights, it will push your boundaries. You will realize that you can attempt things you didn’t believe yourself capable of.

As for permitting yourself to go after what interests you, there’s no time like the present. Life is short, and you might not have this opportunity again. This isn’t about being fearful you’re going to die but about taking advantage of the preciousness of life and living it to the fullest.

When something sparks your interest, pursue it with vigor. Learn all you can about it and jump in with both feet. Indulge your curiosity. Feel your excitement build. Follow the energy. That’s living vibrantly and with purposefulness.

Go on, be an enthusiast in life. You can do this.

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Treat Yourself to Happiness

September 10, 2020

Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash


“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” – Iris Murdoch


As someone who loves small treats, this quote really resonates with me. Whether it’s the tiniest nibble of a decadent dessert, watching the magnificence of the sunset, relaxing with a good book, or laughing at a well-told joke, a treat I give myself contributes to my happiness.

Some might say I’m easily pleased. That’s a good thing. I find joy in life’s smallest treasures. For me, nothing is too small to count.

But I didn’t come by this realization all at once. It took years of experience, learning from mistakes, close brushes with tragedy, and death for me to appreciate the little things – which add up to the big things, as in life itself.

Let’s just say you don’t go for the blowout and expect it to last. While it’s great to have an exhilarating moment, if you think it will be here forever, you’re wrong. Life doesn’t work that way. That’s why it’s important to savor the bite-size moments, the here and now, exquisite experiences of all the senses of sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell.

What constitutes a small treat to you?

  • To qualify, it has to have some meaning.
  • Does it make you smile or laugh?
  • Do you treasure the relationship or bond and the expression of your caring or love?
  • Is this a little reward for hard work you’ve put in, solace for not quite achieving a goal, a shared treat with friends, loved ones, co-workers, or others?

Looked at in this way, treats can encompass just about anything. It isn’t what the treat is, but what it means to you, how it makes you feel.

Perhaps the bigger issue is your willingness to allow yourself treats in the first place. If you don’t think you deserve them or are somehow being punished, you likely won’t seek them out at all, or, if you do, you likely won’t permit yourself to fully enjoy them.

Life presents each of us with myriad challenges. The good experiences, the positive moments, the little treats help us find and experience life’s vibrancy, purpose, and happiness.


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Look at Experiences as Blessings

September 8, 2020

Photo by Faye Cornish on Unsplash


“Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.” – Buddha


There’s certainly no shortage of experiences in this world. Indeed, we have dozens of them every day. Some we don’t even think about since we do them so often they’ve become automatic. There are, of course, some experiences that are more memorable than others. Then too, some experiences cause us pain. Some are easily accepted, while others linger with perhaps more negative emotions than we’d like. Yet each of these experiences is valuable. How so? Consider the following:

Experience teaches.

We learn from doing, even if that lesson is what not to do the next time. For example, if you burn your fingers picking up a skillet handle, you immediately feel the pain and remember to use a potholder or towel when you attempt to do this again. A corollary to this is that when something great happens, the experience also teaches a worthwhile lesson.

Everyone has experiences – why not use them?

Instead of sleepwalking through the day, going on autopilot, and having no sense of place or time, tune into the moment. Really feel and be present in what you’re doing. Whatever it is – making coffee, getting ready for the day, driving to work, finishing a job assignment, taking a meeting, walking during lunch, shopping for groceries, running errands, stopping off for a yoga class, or playing with the kids when you return home – inhabit every part of the action or activity. Take notice of how your body feels, the rhythmic cadence of your breathing, the sights, smells, sounds, and touch of things around you. This is making use of your experience. Not only that, but it will also fill you with an appreciation of life.

How to see experiences as blessings

OK, so we can get behind the lesson that experience teaches and that we all have experienced experiences, so we’ll try to use them. How can we begin to see experiences as blessings – particularly those experiences that are painful or ones we’re desperate to forget? Shouldn’t we try to get past those as quickly as possible?

Think for a moment about who we are today and how we got here. Not in the sense of physical movement but in terms of the choices we’ve made. What we’ve done is a result of deliberate and conscious choice on our part. We are a product of our actions, our experiences. Whether the experience was good or bad, it shapes us. While this may not be clear, or perhaps we never thought of the experience in this way, in each of these experiences is a hidden blessing. Going back to the example of the burnt fingers from a hot skillet, the experience, while painful, taught us a valuable lesson: don’t do that again. It also allows us to be grateful we are alive and able to go on, albeit with a sore finger. Sometimes pain brings us back to the present like nothing else: Voilà, a blessing.

Mostly, though, the blessings inherent in each experience are more transparent. We get a good grade or receive kudos from the boss on a project well-done, and this translates into something better as a result. Digging in the garden to plant seeds, bulbs, or transplant flowers or shrubs yields an immediate blessing: beauty, a sense of accomplishment, a transformed setting. Talking with a loved one who’s traveling, visiting a sick friend to bring some much-needed cheer – these are also experiences that are rich with blessings.

Think about what actions you took today; all the experiences you had from the time you got up. What about them made you smile, enriched your life, made you feel fulfilled? There’s a blessing in each one of them. All you need to do is look for it. This necessitates a conscious decision to embrace all of life, the good and the bad, and to regard each activity as an opportunity to realize the blessings inherent in all experiences.


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Connect to What Matters

September 7, 2020

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash.

“I define joy as a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace – a connection to what matters.” – Oprah Winfrey

Are you looking to find meaning and joy in your life but find daily distractions get in the way? Perhaps the key isn’t so much the striving for what you don’t have but a focus on what you do have – and what really matters.

Consider the fact that life is never static; it’s constantly on the move. Whether you learn and grow from experiences or stagnate and continue to make the same mistakes is entirely up to you. Somewhere in the process is a vital step: connecting to what matters. If you can identify who and what matters to you the most, and recognize these individuals and events when you encounter them, you’ll be better able to live your life with an understanding that they are instrumental to your overall well-being and internal peace.

What happens when you’re late for work, the kids are squabbling, and you just dropped and broke a dish scrambling to get a meal on the table, you’re worn out and just want to go to sleep, you’ve had a fight with your loved one or a disagreement with a friend? Where are the well-being and internal peace here? Is it lost for the moment? How can you recapture it and weather the distraction, annoyance, problem, or issue?

Remind yourself that this latest disruption, as with most things, is temporary. You can get through this by concentrating on doing the best you can at the moment. Remembering what matters and being fully connected to those vital aspects of your life will not only sustain you through rough times, you’ll also be the stronger for the experience.

First, know what matters. Keep this foremost in your mind at all times. Refer to it as necessary. The beauty of connecting to what matters is that this is an ongoing learning experience that builds and sustains well-being and internal peace.

There is no downside to this process. Indeed, life is much richer with connections that matter, whether that’s friends you can rely on and enjoy good and bad times with or a career that motivates and excites you, broadening your horizons through travel, engaging in a relaxing or stimulating hobby, or whatever.

Maximize your joy in life through connection.

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Choose the Best Version of Yourself

September 6, 2020

Photo by Picography


“The best version of yourself is all that you need to be.” – Martellus Bennett


Children are often asked by their parents what they want to be when they grow up. Among the typical answers are professions where individuals display daring, skill, or great knowledge, such as a firefighter, doctor, jet pilot, astronaut, or someone with unique talents, including superstar athletes and videogame designers. Less often, but equally compelling, are the answers that include being a mom or growing up to be just like dad. What all the answers have in common is a desire to be the best version of yourself.

Isn’t that the essence of what our time on earth is all about?

After all, life is short, comparatively speaking, and no one knows precisely how much time we have. All the more reason, then, to spend the days in pursuit of self-improvement and personal growth, so that we can use what we learn each day as a springboard to greater knowledge.

This does not mean, however, that obstacles won’t appear along the way, perhaps thwarting or delaying achievement of certain goals. Indeed, much of the knowledge and skill that individuals acquire comes as a result of mistakes made in the earnest effort to reach success.

In my experience, when I’ve regarded a mistake as the end of any possibility of success, such an attitude fairly determined the outcome. On the other hand, when I heeded the advice of wiser counsel to simply learn from the mistake and keep going, the ensuing result more often than not turned out to be positive. Even during times of great personal hardship, mental anguish, physical illness, and financial or social difficulty, being optimistic and maintaining a determination to persevere made all the difference. As such, I am a fierce optimist and always see the positive in any situation; despite that, however, much negativity may appear to cloud the view.

How can we be the best version of ourselves? Is there a template to follow, or must we wing it? Perhaps the following will be useful:

  • Be true to your values, never sacrificing honestly held core beliefs just because they may be unpopular.
  • Always have a set of goals to investigate, pursue, and work to achieve.
  • Surround yourself with proactive, positive people.
  • Remind yourself of what you’re good at, as well as areas where you’ve achieved success.
  • Instead of giving up on your dreams, seek to retain some portion or aspect of them that gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
  • Share your goodness with others, since the generosity of spirit is a welcome addition to everyone’s life.


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