It’s a wonderful world
I see skies of blue
and clouds of white
The bright blessed day . The dark sacred night
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world. - Louis Armstrong: What a Wonderful World
These can be challenging times. One thing I hear in my coaching practice is that people are feeling uninspired, even despondent. This isn’t surprising when you consider that many of the loudest voices clamoring for attention these days tend to be the least inspiring. This can be quite the psychic weight to carry and made me wonder what is inspiration and is there a way to become inspired?
Recently I was fortunate enough to go to the Van Gogh Immersive Experience at The Armory in Schenectady NY. Stepping into the creative vision of one of the greatest artists in history was a kind of “Alice through the looking glass” experience that transported me into another dimension. One of such exquisite beauty and magnificence that the experience has remained with me as an inspiring reminder of how beautiful, and wondrous, is our world.
This lingering sense of wonder begs the question, was it beauty that made it so inspiring or is there more to it? And if there is, is there something to be learned that might inspire us today? Upon reflection I’ve concluded that what the immersive experience achieves is to turn us from mere spectators of the grandeur of Van Gogh’s vision into its participants. One feels the overwhelming connectedness of all things; the immersion dissolves all illusions we have of our separateness and replaces it with the universal, beautiful truth that we are all one. An extraordinary achievement when you consider that Van Gogh’s desire to share his world with others never materialized, how alone he felt at the end of his life. What an inspiring thought centuries later!
Experiences like this make me feel fortunate to be a participant in the spectacular Hudson Valley, Berkshire Hills region where kingfishers, bald eagles and blue herons accompany a summer swim in the lake. It’s an endlessly inspiring place to live and has, of course, been the connective inspirational backdrop for artists, writers, musicians, and innovators for centuries. The creative heritage of painters like Thomas Cole and writers like Edith Wharton continues seamlessly today; so many inspiring artists, filmmakers and performers make the area home.
Inspiration, though, extends well beyond landscape and art. And inspiration is so much more than a learned skill, it’s a philosophy by which to live. A philosophy based on human connectedness and the alignment of heart, mind and spirit in service of the greater good. So, wherever there is aligned human participation there’s inspiration: A man, wrongfully imprisoned for 24 years, works tirelessly to get his law degree, defends himself, is released and dedicates his life to helping others wrongfully incarcerated. A teenager brings joy to elderly ladies in the nursing home by volunteering to paint their nails and listen to their stories. A teacher bakes pizza to feed his hungry sixth graders.
If you’re feeling in need of inspiration in these complicated days, the winter is the perfect time to immerse yourself in what inspires you. Today we are blessed with more knowledge, wisdom and information at our fingertips than ever. Immersing ourselves in the masters of yesterday and the inspirational people of today - artists, writers, filmmakers, philosophers, scientists, and spiritual teachers - will help re-energize us on our own inspirational journey of exploration, learning, discovery and creativity.
Surround yourself with people who inspire you. I’m particularly inspired by people who are kind, courageous and disciplined, in whatever they do. Up & Running Morning Show When I am a guest on his show, host Rick Schneider on WKZE 98.1fm radio is a source of endless inspiration for me. With his philosophy of “help people, don’t hurt people”, come rain, snow, or shine he’s in his studio at 6am every day delivering good news, good vibes, and eclectic music to start the day with a dose of inspiration to accompany that first cup of coffee. Rick is one of those people who inspires me to try harder, do better, be better.
Our world is thirsting for inspiration today and inspiration is contagious. The more inspired we become, the more people will gravitate to us, the more we will inspire others and the stronger our connections will be. So become a participant in the grandeur of life, pick up that paint brush, deliver food to those in need, post inspiring images on social media, whatever it is that you love. Step into a future guided by the light of divine inspiration where a world of wonder is awaits us all.