(from the Magical Mysteries Collection and later published on Associated Content / Yahoo! Voices August 5, 2008)
A beautiful sunset, a symphony, a great play, velvet, even chocolate - sometimes motivate us to create things extraordinary. In flashes of insight gleaned from people, events, and sensory stimuli, we create new recipes, design new games, or invent new machinery. Ignited by inspiration, perhaps after a remembered dream, perhaps after hearing an enchanting piece of music or seeing a beautiful work of art, we feel compelled to utilize our own talents to invent, to write, to draw - to manifest the object of our inspiration.
But inspirational moments are not always explosive moments that demand immediate attention. And we will not always be inspired to become musicians, poets, artists, and writers. Inspiration may hit us in small ways. We hear two children discussing their perceptions of life and we decide to communicate differently with our own children. We walk through groves of trees delighting in beautiful shapes and rich colors and, as light sifts through the leaves, we feel a sudden urgency to paint the passion we see in a simple beam of light.
Sometimes we know what or who inspires up, but we are unaware of the process of inspiration. To inspire - to breath in, using the etymology, or origin, of the word - is to feel suddenly aroused in such a way that we sometimes feel driven by some divine force to act upon the inspiration. Sleeping or awake, when the moment of inspiration strikes, we feel a certain knowing, a quickening of our pulse, and an immediate desire to implement strategies for bringing to fruition the results inspired by that moment. For some, the moment passes with only a cursory glimpse of possibility. For others the moment demands full attention and they catapult into creativity.
Some people feel inspiration is a gift from God. So is God the source of inspiration? Does the origin of the word "inspire," and its actual meaning, "in breathe," (as opposed to expire - not breathing) mean that we physically breathe in the information? And if we breathe it in, are we aware of its scent?
A dog's sense of smell is between 10,000 to 100,000 times better that a human's sense of smell. Researchers in the United Kingdom have given dogs the task of detecting cancer, which the dogs are doing with remarkable accuracy. If a dog can detect the smell of cancer, but a human can't, we have to wonder how much of our universe we are missing, not only by smell, but by our other senses as well.
What if inspiration arrives in waves of scent that we "breathe in" to our being? What if our brain is able to discern one scent from another, process, and interpret the various consciously undetectable scents, and transform them into thought patterns that spark creativity?
We may not always know the catalyst for inspiration, but for those of us who embrace it, for those of us who follow through, the reward is gratification and more inspiring moments. Inspiration without follow-through, however, is wasted. Remember Thomas Edison's words, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."
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