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Healthy Inspiration

Finding new ways to do things is one of the joys of living. Like a new dress that makes us feel fun and interesting, a fresh perspective adds spice to life. New recipes, a different route to work, a fabulous once-in-a-lifetime vacation all offer a wonderful boost. The best part about inspiration is the endless possibility it offers: from arranging the living room in a new way to exploring a different spiritual tradition, the range of options is infinite.

The best inspiration fills us with hope and the joy of anticipation. After all, it’s fun to mix it up! On a deeper level, too, inspiration helps us be creative in our work. So what’s the best way to find it? And is there such a thing as inspiration that isn’t helpful, or healthy?

The best inspiration encourages you to create connections. Connections between images, ideas, the five senses, the natural world, the intangible. The best news in the universe is this: inspiration is available virtually everywhere. It’s found in books, movies, music and art, on the street, and in the classroom. It’s in the way the gal in the office puts her outfits together, the way a TV chef makes ordinary ingredients into something sublime, the way a French woman decorates her home. All of this, and the Internet, too: the more you take in, the more you will cultivate the connections that let you create a home, an image, a career that reflects your taste as an individual, and the larger world around you as well.

The shadow side of the search for inspiration is anything that makes you feel that your life, in comparison, is somehow less rich and interesting. This means that the celebrity magazines making you feel like your body or your career aren’t quite what they should be, or anything you read, see, or do that makes you feel bad, isn’t healthy inspiration. Anything that makes you feel like you need to be fundamentally different than who you are is unhealthy inspiration, and should be tossed. What you are looking for is any idea that makes you sing with possibility or envision a better future—even if that future is as simple as a new paint color in your bedroom by Monday morning.  

The world is your oyster! Be on the lookout for inspiration that lifts you up, makes you happy, and gives you an anticipatory thrill. Spend an afternoon in the library or the music store, or wander the aisles of a gourmet grocery or a nursery full of healthy spring plants. Fill your imagination with images and ideas that bring color, fun, and creativity to your life, and find joy in every possibility you dream of.

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