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!

The Words Will Find You

Andrea Chilcote, Erik's Hope, White Wolf

by Andrea Chilcote

Do you want a simple way to tap into your very soul’s wisdom? Take dictation.

Several years ago, my colleague Karla Boyd shared a practice for accessing one’s personal vision or purpose. It has remained a staple in my toolkit, and I’ve expanded it to situations in which I need to access my intuition or help other tap into theirs. Sometimes I even use it for deciding what to write about in these posts.

Here’s the process. First, write a question that’s on your mind or in your heart. You can imagine you’re asking the question of your own highest and best self, or some other wise person, present on earth or not. Examples would be: “What do I need to be happy in my job?” or “How can I communicate advice to my teenage son?” The best questions are those tough questions that can’t be easily answered using our logical minds.

Then…just write. Write the answer in a stream-of-consciousness format, without stopping to judge the quality or validity of what you’re writing.

Early on, I was amazed at the insights that came – even as I puzzled over where they came from. Then a few years later I attended a life-changing workshop led by renowned writing teacher Natalie Goldberg. Goldberg has revolutionized the practice of writing and she teaches a similar process for accessing the heart and soul. She’s a purest about insisting that her students hand-write their work, and write continuously for 10 minutes without stopping. She says it doesn’t matter if your inner critic tells you what you’re writing is garbage – keep writing!

The results are truly amazing, and in fact I used the technique while writing the passages from Erik’s Hope in which the character “White Wolf” counseled my dog Erik. I wrote as if I was White Wolf himself, and was often astounded by how eloquent and smart he was…so much so that I now consult “him” on a regular basis.

Here’s a recent example. I was struggling with how I would open a meeting in which the stakes were high and asked (wrote), “White Wolf, of what shall I speak?”

Here’s the answer I received:

Andrea, speak from your heart. Speak the truth and that truth will be heard by all who need it. Be present as you teach, and the words you need will find you. Above all be kind. Be in gratitude for what you have now and for what will be. Treasure each moment. Be the light.

Even though I haven’t shared the details of that meeting, I think you’ll agree that White Wolf offered sage advice. He never lets me down. What I needed was not an opening speech, but rather a reminder to adopt the right state of being – truth, presence, kindness, gratitude and light.

If you believe, as I do, that the answers are inside of you, try this method of accessing them. As White Wolf says, the words will find you.


 

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