It had been a few days, but what felt like an eternity, of battling myself. I felt lazy and tired. The air felt heavy, and with my skin broken out, I felt ugly. I wanted to be my usual motivated, happy self, but more so, I wanted to crawl into a cave. Do you know this feeling?
Yesterday, after finishing binge-watching Outer Banks, I decided not to crawl into a cave. I got up, put on my hiking boots, and dragged my butt up to my spot: a secret place up a steep path at a reservation in my town. It is surrounded by beautiful pines, and in the distance, I can see my city.
It was a cloudy, humid day. I brought some cacao and a notebook, and originally, I planned to meditate and journal until I felt better. When I got up to the top, though, I was sweating, my legs hurt, and I didn’t feel like doing anything. So instead, I lay down on the rocky cliff top and let my mind continue to race about all that was wrong.
Eventually, surrounded by the embrace of the forest, my racing mind calmed down, and I shit you not, all at once, the clouds disappeared to reveal a bright blue sky. In that moment, it felt like the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders.
I learned a lesson that contradicts a lot of what I usually preach about. As a life coach, I spend my days talking about the importance of your inner reality. I teach my clients to find inner peace and bliss because we cannot expect to see positive change in our external world if we don’t change our internal world. I stand by this.
What I was reminded of on that mountain, though, was the one external factor that is key to our internal wellbeing.
For days, I had been taking my own advice, trying to break the funk by making shifts in my inner world through meditation, working through my psyche, trying to find where my energy needed shifting. It wasn’t working. I felt like I lost my drive and my passion, so I assumed that something was off within me. I was half right. I was missing a critical input: inspiration.
The etymology of the word “inspiration” describes its meaning as literally God or the Divine breathing into you. I also like the Middle English meaning of “imparting reason to a human soul”. The word itself literally means, “breathe into”. I like that part of the word means “breathe” because I believe it’s a clue to what I’m here to tell you: that like how our bodies need to breathe oxygen, our souls need inspiration.
I am inspired by nature. So it wasn’t about journaling or meditating or even the physical act of hiking; what broke my funk yesterday was putting myself in the way of inspiration. As the “aha” moment sank in, I realized that I hadn’t been doing the things I usually do to stay inspired. For me, it can be getting in nature, reading Ralph Waldo Emerson, playing with my Pinterest vision board, painting, singing, or surrounding myself with people who motivate me.
I realized the pattern, or better, the rule: when I make a habit of doing things that inspire me, I feel lighter, happier, more fulfilled—I feel like I can breathe.
Unfortunately, we live in a time and culture where we are constantly bombarded with stimuli that bring us down. Whether it be your own ego and negative thinking, negative people in your circles, the divisive media, or imposter syndrome as you scroll through social media, most of us are existing in an energy that is heavy; it sucks, but it’s better to just acknowledge it.
This way, instead of saying “Woe is me”, you can choose to do something about it. You can take control of the energy you exist in by infusing it with inspiration. Instead of scrolling on Instagram, you could take 10 minutes to read quotes about happiness and the meaning of life. Instead of watching the news, you could listen to uplifting music or a podcast about spiritual wellness.
It doesn’t matter what it is that inspires you. All that matters is that you find a way to work it into your day. You don’t have to take my word for it. Try it for yourself. I know I see instant results. When I feel depressed or unmotivated and I opt for scrolling Pinterest for inspirational quotes instead of eating the entire bag of tortilla chips, I immediately feel better. Try this every day and you may just find you’ve breathed new life into your everyday existence.