Sunday, February 28, 2010


QUOTE: "I count myselt in nothing else so happy as in a soul rememb'ring my good friends."
- William Shakespeare

What could be more inspiring, more enriching, and more enjoyable than reveling in the company of close friends? Yet in our fast-paced, mobile society finding friendship can seem a daunting task. No sooner do you begin a friendship, it seems, when one of your lives change and you go off in separate directions, never to connect again. In Jeffery Zaslow's book, “The Girls From Ames: A Story of Women and a 40-Year Friendship” (Gotham), he tells the story of 11 women, all childhood friends, who though scattered all over America now, managed to nurture their endearing friendships though both good times and crises.

When one of the women discovered she had breast cancer, she reached out to her childhood friends who sent emails, talked for long hours, sent cards and gifts and showered their love and concern in the most personal and compassionte ways they could. One woman who had lost her own child to luekemia sent a hand woven cap to assure her friend would keep warm during the treatments when she lost all her hair. In an interesting study of 3,000 nurses who had breast cancer, women without close friends were four times more likely to die from the diease than those with 10 or more friends.

In another study done by the Gallop Organization and several leading researchers, they found that employees who have no close friends at work had only a one in 12 chance of feeling enaged in their job. However, if an employee had their best friends working beside them, they were seven times more likely to feel engaged at work.

Friends do so much more than support us during hard times. They help give meaning and direction to our lives. They enlighten us, accept us for who we are, contribute in unique ways that no one else can, and bring to us a sense of contentment that we can hardly understand much less explain.

If you want to feel inspired, be a friend. Reach out to others and others will reach back to you.
Love and appreciate them for who they are, faults and all, and you will experience the power that true and enduring friendship offers you. Maybe more importantly, you will offer another human being the solace of knowing that they are cared for, appreciated and loved by you. That's powerful too.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Norman Vincent Peale

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"Throw back the shoulders, let the heart sing, let the eyes flash, let the mind be lifted up, look upward and say to yourself...Nothing is impossible!"

Beauty Inspires

If you want to get inspired, look for beauty. Just looking for it will raise your inspiration level higher than you're used to. Finding it will lift it another notch. Actually taking time to appreciate what you have found, will send your inspiration level through the strosphere. Then, if you want to prolong this state, share what you've discovered with a few friends. Do these four things everyday and you will grow into a more appreciative human being. So, look, discover, appreciate, and share. Make this your mantra and you will appreciate the results.

So where do you look for and find beauty? When someone asks me where to look, I tell them to open their eyes. Beauty is everywhere. E-V-E-R-Y-W-W-H-E-R-E. I live in a suburb where every house, yard, street and gutter looks about the same. Yet, there is beauty here. Sometimes I sit in my office and watch the the leaves dance on the trees. I like the way the sun filters through them and the way the light and shadows sparkle while I do nothing but breath. I might listen to a Bethoven symphony or to the wind whistle around the house. Listening for beauty is for some even more powerful than seeing it. Finally, you may want to create it. There is nothing more inspiring than creating beauty that resonates deeply with your own being. A garden, a spiral walkway, a clay pot, a poem or piece of music, a rearrangement of your furniture, a new form of expression, say a dance or gesture are all ways you may create beauty in you life.

Once you find or create beauty, take time to ponder and appreciate it. If I cannot find it in my front yard, I may walk a mile to the lake and watch the herring take flight, flapping and gliding and landing on the silvery surface. I may watch for twenty or thirty minutes until my worries and edginess fade. Enjoying it for a few moments magnifies the pleasure and gives the endorphins time to respond.

Finally, relive what you have pondered. Tell someone you sat at the potter's wheel and created a coffee mug you admire. Offer to create one for your friend. That way beauty is spread and with it a little inspriration for the both of you.

Nature's Beauty

Wednesday, February 24, 2010



When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

Remember the Titans

Here's a short clip that you might remember about a team that went through a lot and came out stronger because it listened to the voice of determination and responded with power.

IF -- by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you.
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat these two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What Inspires You?

What inspires you? What fills you with unmistakable joy? I'm not talking fun here. I'm not asking you what's your favorite dessert and then telling you to go out and get some. Sure, that's alright. That's nice even, but go a little deeper. What is it you dream about? What is it that maybe you've long forgotten, but there it is in that moment of clarity. You know it. I know you do. It's what revives something in you--something important. It could be reading poetry, or going head-to-head in a kick-boxing match, or possibly sitting silently in the park while a Purple Finch lights on the branch next to you. A friend of mine laid a labyrinth in his back yard, which he walks to gain clarity and a connection to his deeper self. Others find it in mediation, yoga or in cooking a special meal for friends or family. Only you know. Only you can discover it if you don't.

That's what I did. In a time of emotional turmoil, I ventured out to a beautiful old church downtown and stepped into a sanctuary full of music. A sixty member chorus was rehearsing for an upcoming concert and I wanted to hear the choral sound. I had sung in college myself, and when I graduated I dreamed more choral dreams than any other. No other archetype, it seemed, resonated so prominently in my dream mind. When the director asked me to sing with the group, I did. What I gained from that one short rehearsal I can barely put into words. I sang for an hour, maybe less, and when I woke up the next day, nearly all the heaviness, the grief, the bewilderment that I had felt for more than six weeks had lifted. Like a balm on a severe wound, the music, singing it, hearing it, breathing and enjoying it, soothed my pain and magically, it seemed, transformed me. I suddenly felt serene. That's the power of finding your own private and very personal inspiration. That's the potency you gain when you align with your true self.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dan Jansen

Who is Dan Jansen? How has he inspired millions of us around the world when we watched him perform with guts and heart in the 1988 Winter Olympics? Maybe you recall the story or maybe you will once you hear it again.

Let's step back four years to the 1984 games. Dan Jansen was America's best hope for speed skating gold. A few years earlier he set the junior world 500 meter speed skating record after his sister, Jane, inspired him to get into skating. He came into the 1984 Olympics with high hopes. He finished sixteenth in the 1000 meter race and a near medal fourth in the 500 meter race. Of course, there is nothing like coming a skate's blade close to standing on the podium to motivate an Olympic athlete to train with heart and gusto for the next four years, and that's what Dan did. He competed and trained at the highest level and came into the games sharp and primed for victory. This was a guy hungry, talented and deserving.

What happened? The day of his first race, in the wee early morning hours, he received word that his sister was on the edge of death with leukemia. He spoke to her but she was unable to respond. Later that morning she died. That evening Dan lined up for the 500 meter race, the race he was touted to win, and race he did, with every fiber of his being, but he never made it. Early in the race he fell and with the fall dashed all hopes for a medal in his best race. A few days later he fell again in the 1000 meters and left with nothing to show for his four years of grueling effort.

In 1992 Dan Jansen returned to race and disappointment struck again as he just missed the podium with another 4th place finish. In the 1000 meter event he placed a disappointing 26th.

In 1994, with his last chance for a medal, Dan placed 8th in the 500 meter race, his best distance, and all but dashed his hopes for any Olympic medal. He had one final race, the 1000 meter event, and in it surprised a lot of people when he set a world record and earned the gold medal he had waited and worked so long for. He dedicated it to his late sister.

Later, his teammates chose him to carry the American flag in the closing ceremonies. In 2004 he was elected in the Olympic Hall of Fame.

Dan Jansen will always represent to me strength in tragedy and dedication to excellence. He's an inspiration. He's my symbol of hope.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

QUOTE: If You're going through hell, keep going. --Winston Churchill

Inspired Singing

Watching this young teacher, Danyl Johnson, perform for Simon and the rest of X-Factor inspires me each time I watch it.

What Inspires You?

What inspires you? What flat out tickles your gut and lightens your spirit? Is it watching the sunrise float over the horizon? Maybe it's the awareness that you are more than some strange accident. Or is it that child, so determined, so brave who stands and falls and stands again only to fall flat on his hind side for the umpteenth time before he takes his first wobbly step? Or maybe it's someone's courage to follow their dream or, through necessity, to battle one of life's demons.

Courage, friendship, lightness of being, nature's glint and many, many other things can and do inspire us. This site is about looking for and discovering the strands of delight that exist all around us and within us and that bring us delight when we experience them.

I hope that you are as inspired as I am at inspiration's gifts. I hope that each time you visit this site, you will feel lighter, freer, happier and more inspired than ever for living in this world of wonder. Inspiration is our shared gift. Let's discover and enjoy it together!