• Nathaniel G. Sands

Where do you find Inspiration?

Hanging in my living room, painted by my talented friend Kristen Kitimura

It seems, especially when life gets so busy, that we lose sight of the meaningful - lost in the predictability that the once chaotic world has now become.

What is inspiration? Is it a connection, a sudden revelation, a flood of emotion, an impact to the gut, a warmed heart, a renewed soul?

Is it Love? Is it epiphany? A miracle? A change in being?

We have all experienced inspiration - From music and movies to people and places, all of us have felt that moment of emotional surge and energetic motivation. Although it is most certainly short lived! And so, quickly we forget.

A birthday gift from my friend Mannu

Can we seek inspiration, or does it seek us?

A co-worker of mine says this: "Most of our days are full of positive experiences. And most people focus on that 2-3% of things that are negative." He goes on to say he is of the other sort, always attentive to the 98%. He has told me this a few times. Sometimes he repeats himself... well, maybe I'm being generous with the "sometimes". And although I would say he is also being generous with his own analysis, he does mostly look toward the positive as the day slowly moves forward. But there is certainly a difference between focusing on the negative and recognizing the negative. Can we really ignore the negative things life is sure to hit us with? Would that even be a good thing?

To me, inspiration is a moment of clarity and understanding. Wisdom instilled. It comes from recognising truth and beauty. At first, I thought to put that inspiration is recognising good, but often I have found inspiration stems from things that are negative - albeit, with a positive effect. Sometimes, the most potent form of inspiration is found in the lows. It's a call to action! Especially when encountering life's pain. And we look to stories of those who overcome. Our hero's, those that inspire us, are certainly the one's who endeavoured through the most unfavourable circumstances life has to offer, impossibly overcoming obstacles for the betterment of themselves and those around them.

It is no-doubt true that reality is full of negative things, such as pain, uncertainty, evil and death, but it is imperative that we press on! A noble act - necessary, but difficult. And so, collectively when we recognize the overcoming of despair, we too feel a tug on our heartstrings. Worthy of a tear, or at least holding one back, we can place ourselves inside this struggle - we long to experience it, not because it's good but because it's meaningful. Inspiration is rooted in struggle and produces positive motivation.

Some people have found it odd I carry a notebook with me. When asked why, I say, "You never know when inspiration might hit."

From my notebook today:


Transcends the mundane.

Speaks to the soul.

Pushes boundaries.


Points to truth.

Reveals beauty.

Gain - Newness - Experience.

And of course, Love.

I try to spend much of my day looking for inspirational experiences. From the time I'm awake to the time I'm asleep (but also in my dreams), I look to find inspiration no matter the circumstances. The colours in the sky, the wind on my cheek, the raindrops on my head, the chirping of the birds, the music in the air, the stories that I read, and hear, and see - all contribute to my desire for inspiration, but certainly the strongest of these comes from the people I encounter. It seems to me the most potent form of inspiration comes from stories. And what are the people around us but beautiful and unique stories. Miracles in their own right.

Two inspirational figures - My Father and Daughter

We can't ignore the emotional grandeur of something that changes the very essence of who we are. Rooted in the phenomenon of consciousness, to me, inspiration is a connection. It is the soul's recognition of something beautiful - a moment worthy of reverence. But it is also a call. Its a cause, begging for effect. Inspiration requires response. It requires a metaphysical death to the old and resurrection of soul.

And so, venture with me as we look to uncover the inspiration that is all around us and within us, waiting to be found...

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