Inspiration Meets Sandstone

cave3

“Far better to live your own path imperfectly than to live another’s perfectly.” ~ Bhagavad Gita

This is a short, meaningful read.

Ra Paulette is an amazing confluence of passion, creativity, inspiration and living at choice. He is proof that people can follow their chosen path, as unique as it may be.

At 69, Ra demonstrates that even when we play, our efforts and contributions can stir the hearts and imaginations of others. To say the man has a vision might be an understatement.

For 25 years Ra has been axing, sanding, and forming exquisite sandstone caves in Taos County, not far from where I live in the New Mexico High Desert.

Following is a CBS video of Ra and some of his work. Or is it really work? If you enjoy being inspired and awed, sit back and enjoy this 5.5 minute story.

cave2cave

If you’re looking for the intersection of your passion and how it might inspire others, consider these three actions:

 

  1. Change your story. We all tell ourselves about who we are, what we’re capable of, and what we believe we deserve. If you can dispel your self-limiting stories, you can begin to write new stories grounded in courage and action.
  2. Nurture the nudge. You have inspirations and opportunities coming at you every moment. Start to nurture these inspirations by following through on the insights.
  3. Embrace your natural abilities and use them in new ways to bring excitement into your days. Embrace your strengths by reflecting and acting on them.

Considering the Unconventional

3584816830_e60300c0c3_m

“It is especially important to encourage unorthodox thinking when the situation is critical: At such moments every new word and fresh thought is more precious than gold. Indeed, people must not be deprived the right to think their own thoughts.” ~ Boris Yeltsin

Last week I attended a diverse professional group meeting. Being my first visit, I was invited to rise and tell a bit about myself to this relatively small (>40) group, some of whom I casually knew. I acknowledged that I am a practitioner of the unconventional; a fan, if you will, of unorthodox… defined by Dictionary.com as “not conforming to rules, traditions, or modes of conduct, as of doctrine, religion, or philosophy.”

I suggested they consider me not a rebel, but as someone who challenges stagnation in people and society by looking at areas in our lives most in need of repair or rejuvenation and then, deliberately, not doing what the conformist majority is doing. I am simply someone who encourages the use of information, imagination, and interpersonal skills to pursue life in creative ways — that defends choice yet, defies the herd.

Then there was silence. Followed by warm, welcoming applause. 🙂

4084706293_65b24fa23f_m

It has been said that the more often you do something the same way, the more difficult it is to think about doing it any other way. Roger von Oech says “We can break out of this ‘prison of familiarity’ by disrupting our habitual thought patterns. He suggests writing a love poem in the middle of the night. Eat ice cream for breakfast. Visit a junk yard. Take the slow way home. Such jolts to our routines will lead to new ideas.”

Learning happens in unconventional ways. Some of us prefer more traditional systems and methods, while others are open to exploring unorthodox ways in which to play, interact, learn, and grow. Rarely is there only one right or wrong way to do things — unless one is a staunch conformist.

3978324300_8f41b203e7_m

If you’re looking for unconventional ways of viewing what you’ve always been doing, simply use your imagination. Or you can consider any of these three ideas as starters:

  1. Work in the dark. If you’re feeling stifled, try working in a dimmer environment. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology has shown that darkness and dim illumination promote creativity. Other experiments discovered that you can gain insight by simply priming yourself with the idea of darkness – even just describing an experience of being in the dark.
  2. Generate provocative statements and then use them to build new ideas. This allows people to explore the nature of perception and how it limits creativity and possibilities. Provocation challenges limitations and can serve as an alternative to judgment. It allows us to develop a provocative idea into something viable and realistic.
  3. Re-educate. Our future can be seen in the quality of our youngest generation yet the current models of building quality people seem to be falling short. New modalities such as green schooling, homeschooling and even un-schooling children offer hope for something different. With access to unlimited educational resources via the Internet, almost anyone can educate themselves in myriad fields, and so the re-education of individuals is an act of considerable non-conformity.

2293278754_875e6a74a1_m

Inspiring Others

“Have you ever been stopped in your tracks? By a stranger who affected you profoundly?” ~ Eric Tonningsen

Months ago, I briefly mentioned a woman named Rose. I committed to writing about her in a later post. Now I am. Rose served as the inspiration for a story I shared over a three-month series of progressive speech contests. This video was the last time I told the story in May.

If you watch the video, you’ll better understand where this post is going. And yes, it has to do with how we inspire… and how people like you, inspire me.

Fifteen months ago I launched this blogging journey. Truthfully, I get more out of reading and viewing your posts, than I do crafting and sharing mine. I’ve (virtually) met an amazing, creative cadre; people who take time to share what’s on their minds, in their hearts, seen through their lenses, and created on their unique easels.  To each of you, for enriching my life, a respectful hat tip.

We don’t all follow one another’s blogs. Ergo, I want to acknowledge four bloggers whose work has inspired me and in doing so, invite you to visit their site. You may find yourself comparably inspired. Yes, there are countless more than these four people who move, motivate, and inspire me to think, act, laugh, and cry. I appreciate how each of you chooses to contribute to our community.

In my predictable format, here are three ways in which to consider inspiring others, if so inclined:

  1. Untether people. Don’t simply give people your advice. Give them the freedom to figure it out themselves. No one likes a micro-manager or a know-it-all. If you’re asked for help, share a rough outline to help the person move in the right direction, but leave something to their imagination so they’ll have the freedom to fill in the blanks. Self-discovery will show them that they’re fully capable and more powerful that they ever thought possible.
  2. Empathize with people’s judgments and how you’d like to see their life differently. You can often find presence in the feelings and needs that lie behind their world view. Maybe they aren’t changing, but you can create space in which to transform your own judgments and expectations. You have the capacity to shift opinions of others and relationships by simply focusing on yourself.
  3. Acknowledge contributions of others. You’re just one person yet you’ve contributed to your own life successes. What about others who have added meaning and value to your life? It’s not always your idea. 🙂 Acknowledge other’s contributions publicly, if possible, to show people you’re humble and appreciative enough to give them credit for how they’ve affected you.

Tapping Into Your Wisdom

“Those who know are wise. Those who know themselves are enlightened.”       ~ Laozi (Lao-tzu)

One of my sisters is a ‘go to’ person. She is an impartial sounding board, grounded in integrity, and she serves as a lens through which I can see matters differently. She is intellectually and emotionally wise and she possesses a solid sense of self.

Throughout our lives, we encounter people who presume to know what is best for us. The insights they offer cannot compare, however, with the powers of awareness and discernment that already exist within us. Even my sister.

Like most people, I have spent much of my lifetime looking for answers, direction, and solutions. This meant always looking to change something or acquire something to improve my life. Society conditioned me to focus on improvement, getting more, and fixing what kept me from getting more and better. Does this sound familiar? Over time I have learned that I always knew what was best and right for me. The answers, direction, and solutions were always inside, while I was often looking outside.

When you couple your innate knowledge with every experience, sensation, and process in your life, you accumulate wisdom. The longer you live theoretically, the more wisdom you possess. So when the tables were turned and this sister asked for my thoughts on a matter, I suggested she find quiet, listen to her inner wisdom, and reflect on:

  • Imagination – This is the imagination of what you desire and what you want to feel. For example, you may want calm instead of stress. Imagine what calm would feel like and your wisdom will guide you to the thoughts, words, and choices that bring calm.

  • Inspiration – You are inspired a lot, but probably ignore it or misname it. The wisdom that comes through inspiration can be accessed through a focus on possibilities. If you want something to happen, ask yourself what you can do to create what you want and the guidance will come. Simply ask, then listen.
  • Intention – We create everything through intention. So intending an experience, relationship, or object is done by thinking about it and feeling it already present. The wisdom of intention will then be verified in the form of possible choices, something you hear someone say, or an opportunity presented to you.

Keep in mind that accessing wisdom is more than just wanting to or hoping to, especially if you have ignored or resisted it. This is a journey of exploring, discovering, and experiencing, one day or one moment at a time. When you are unsure of whom to trust, how to respond, or what you require, the guidance, direction, and knowing you need will be available when you tap into your own wisdom.

Big Dreams

“If you don’t have a dream, how can you have a dream come true?”

~ Jiminy Cricket

I don’t know about you but I’ve got them! Big dreams are not only for the young or naïve. Everyone needs big dreams because they inspire, guide, and enhance our lives and performance. Unfortunately, big dreams take time to fulfill making it easy to become distracted by doubts, frustrations, and setbacks. Staying positive and managing the distractions will keep the focus on the dream rather than the distractions. Two strategies used now and when distractions arise can maintain your focus and support the realization of big dreams.

  • Paint Your Dream – Imagine and visualize a detailed vision of the dream as if it were now fulfilled. Where are you and what are you doing? See yourself easily and joyfully living your dream. Fill in the color, sounds, feelings, and activities. The more detail in your painting the more powerful the dream and the more attractive the path to living it. The more often your dream is painted in your mind, the sooner it will be realized.
  • Act on the Dream Today – A dream is fulfilled with time, committed effort, and persistence. Taking at least one action (small is best) each day keeps the dream in focus and moves you closer to its fulfillment. It will be the accumulation of daily actions that create the reality of the dream.

I’ve learned a lot about dreaming big through my own journey (including my missteps) and from coaching others. Big dreams give purpose and meaning to life and performance. Big dreams do come true and they can come true for you.  Take a moment to review your big dreams. Then, apply focused action, increased self-confidence, and these two strategies to bring them into your realm of possibilities. Feel the hope and motivation that only big dreams can inspire.

Now go and live those dreams! 🙂