Inspired

Andrea Chilcote, Erik's HopeThink about something you do that inspires you, something for which you feel such passion that you never tire of it. Time seems to pass without notice.

Does that inspirational activity come to mind easily? Is it what you’re doing right now (or at least right before you began reading this post?) Is it your work? Your hobby? Your longing?

I’ve been thinking about inspiration a lot in the past few days, as I’ve prepared for an overdue vacation. I definitely am inspired by my work – oh, I don’t mean to imply every day is bliss, but the work itself is something I pursue with passion. And I can tell when I need a break, because I begin to get impatient and cynical, and the feelings start showing up, ever so slightly, in my day-to-day communication.

Writing is part of my work, a part I love. And one of the symptoms that appears when I need a break is a lack of inspiration for writing. So odd – that which usually energizes me becomes a drain. It’s not that I don’t want to write. It’s more that the things I hold precious get lost in the sea of demands and to-do’s.

Just this week I saw a LinkedIn post entitled “What if you’re not passionate about anything?” I rolled my eyes and read no further. But seriously, I thought a lot about it. “How can that be?” I felt a sense of compassion for whoever wrote the statement, and wondered if lack of passion was an indication something else was at play.

One meaning of the word “inspire” is inhale, or breathe in. How interesting that taking a breath, literally or metaphorically in the form of a vacation, serves to engage. Regardless of the sense of mission or passion felt, we simply cannot give of ourselves without taking in. I think it’s a rule of our humanness.

So back to my earlier question, does the source of your inspiration come to mind easily? Or do you need a breath (or several) to gather the mojo or light the fire? I’ll be rekindling mine by the sea. Perhaps I’ll see you there.


This post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a blogger. Enjoy it!

Self-Care – Inspiration from New Year’s 2014

Andrea Chilcoteby Andrea Chilcote

I gave up “resolutions” some time ago because they’re often short-lived should-do’s that lack inspiration.

One of the many reasons resolutions don’t work is that they seem to set us up for either perfection or failure. When we fail (skipping the gym, eating the French fries) – why bother tomorrow?

For me, the key factor is that word “inspiration.” What inspires me in this new year of 2014? The advice I offered in last week’s post: Care for yourself first, if you wish to give to others.

I’m finally serious about this, and I’m not finding it easy. But this time, I’m reframing “failures” as small learning experiences. An example: On Monday morning, the amount of to-do’s before a trip challenged my usual gentle approach to structure. I made a list of nine items, then prioritized it. The latter step was important, given that I likely had less time than tasks. Guess what I noticed? The one thing “for me” on the list was #9. Interesting. I moved it up.

Andrea ChilcoteThis small realization has led to daily (and sometimes hourly) assessments about what I need. And, it’s not a selfish practice – far from it. I’ve finally (at age 52), decided it’s impossible for me to contribute what I wish to contribute in this world if I do not have the things I need to sustain my energy. In 2013, the scale was unbalanced. It will be different in 2014.

You are nurturing, caring, and giving beings. Is the scale in balance?

Self-care is possessing enough self-awareness to invoke repeated patterns of being that harmoniously correct the behaviors of over-functioning for others while under-functioning for yourself.”
― LaShaun Middlebrooks Collier


This post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a blogger. Enjoy it!

Inspiration

Inspiration, Andrea ChilcoteWho inspires you today?

by Andrea Chilcote

Lately I have had the opportunity to meet, dialogue with, and work with some amazing women and men. These are “ordinary” people who don’t think of themselves as extraordinary. Yet their courage of conviction inspires me with every breath I take, and any time I become weary, I am heartened by their stamina and drive.

Today’s post is a tribute to the people who know who they are, what they desire for our world, and stand firm in their values.

More than ever before, it seems we are no longer satisfied to know of a right path yet remain on another. One former client wrote to tell me of a drastic life change he made, inspired by his passion to improve literacy. He sent this quote by George Eliot: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Another said “I’ve made a firm commitment to myself that a year from now I will be doing something very different for a living, in a field I am excited about and with very little concern about the income.”

Whenever I feel weary because I work hard, I am reminded of all the others who do even more. My veterinarian friend Dr. Kit performed over 6000 low cost spay/neuters for needy families and rescue groups in 2013. She draws forth the energy because her love is so great.

Recently, I spent time with a colleague who recently experienced a major, painful surgery. She is back to work teaching and supporting others, appearing as if the pain she still feels does not exist. Surely it would if she were not compelled to service. Many who suffer significant physical and emotional pain seemingly don’t suffer at all because there’s so much to do.

Thank you all for being a light in a needy world.

_____

The following post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger. Enjoy it!

Gratitude

by Andrea Chilcote

Today’s post consists of an exercise – if you dare. Want to feel more empowered and alive, regardless of the state in which you find yourself right now? Practice gratitude. I’ll be with you all the way.

I’m feeling grateful today, and I’m expressing it as prayer. Oh, not a prayer in the purist sense perhaps, but a prayer as I define it. It’s an earnest expression of a strong emotion, intended to connect to others in a positive way. How’s that definition? Here we go.

Today I am grateful for Arthur’s health. After celebrating a milestone birthday this year, he is preparing for many more. I could focus on fear of the future, but instead I focus on what’s true today. He is healthy and whole.

Who in your life is model of health and longevity? Who inspires you to care for your physical body even when you’re tired?

Today I am grateful for all of the clients who entrust me with work that is important to them. I am, right now, feeling a “flow” of work that is meaningful and important. I could grouse about the hours and the stress. Today I choose to be thankful for the abundance.

What is “flowing” forth in your life? What abundance is blessing you?

Today I am grateful for the love of my playful dogs. No matter what they need (or demand) when I’m too busy or too tired, fulfilling it creates a spark of energy.

What calls you to play? What distraction gives you the energy to persevere? Give thanks for that.

Today I am grateful for this opportunity for connection – connection with all of my cherished friends and colleagues, and with each one of you who is reading this message. If ever I feel alone, I can reach out to you.

Who are you thankful for today? Who gives you a lift when a lift makes all the difference?

Perhaps my list was not complete. It’s simply my list, this one day. Make your own. What are you grateful for today?