giving up, effort, and trust

“i still often find myself at a loss for inspiration. i never give up though. on those days that i am discouraged and unmotivated, i try and get away from the daily routine. i put aside the lessons i had planned (as much as is possible to stay within my responsibilities) and i focus on the things that i truly enjoy: guitar, art, poetry, reading, song writing, nature, etc. then i tap into that wonder i have for those things and bridge it to the material i have to teach.”

this is what riley says in response to vivien’s call for inspiration. i was intrigued by this post because it has ramifications for more than just inspiration.

life is wonderful sometimes, sometimes it sucks, and most of the time it kind of just stumbles along. little bits are missing. like inspiration – but other things, too: motivation, passion, drive, time – you name it.

“i never give up.”

it struck me that like so many clichés, when you look beyond the surface, this is quite mysterious. what does it mean to give up? the image i get is of someone letting go of the reigns, letting the horses go wherever they will, and the presumption is that they will go into chaos, or worse.

but somehow i suspect that this is not the right image. it seems somehow that giving up is not so much an action but an attitude, and specifically an attitude about the future. “i don’t believe that the future will bring me what i need/want.”

there are two things involved here: imagination, and trust. the first thing is a difficulty imagining what the future could bring. interestingly, imagination and inspiration are very similar in this sense (and are intrinsically linked) – both are peopled by a repository of ideas, memories and images.

and perhaps you cannot imagine what the future might bring, but you still don’t give up? that’s about trust: “i have no idea what the future will bring but i’ll be alright.”

“i never give up” – that also means, “i’m willing to put in some effort.” as riley puts it so well, that does not at all have to mean the blood, sweat and tears type of effort, the effort that makes you grit your teeth. when riley is discouraged and unmotivated, he is able to muster the trust, energy and wisdom to break out of his routine.

why wisdom? wisdom engenders trust. remember when you were a teenager and you broke up with someone for the first time? it seemed like the end of the world. now that you are wiser, you can look back and see this from a much larger perspective, and see that there was so much more ahead of you. part of the reason why we are able to trust is because we have a perspective that tells us that we have survived so far, chances are we’ll survive again.

because of his trust, energy and wisdom, riley puts effort into enjoyment; he directs his intention and attention to things that nourish him: guitar, art, poetry, reading, song writing, nature. and his effort is rewarded. rewarded with wonder. and he is inspired – he receives what he was missing.

if you’re interested in what the other participants of this blog writing project on inspiration have to say, go to vivien’s web site or click on one of the links below. i am also honoured that this article was mentioned in the carnival of healing #89.
isabella mori
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  1. 5 Sources Of Inspiration in Photography b Brian Auer
  2. Seeing Life Through The Eyes Of Inspiration by Andrew Rickmann
  3. Sources Of Inspiration For Your Blog by Simonne Matthew.
  4. Inspiration For Blogging by Ronald Huereca.
  5. Webmaster Blog Inspiration by Lee Robertson.
  6. Reliable Sources Of Inspiration for Inspiration Bit by Vivien.
  7. Inspiration For Design And Advertising by Tara.
  8. Finding Inspiration At The Top Of A Ladder by Rory.
  9. Frustration Is A Source of Inspiration by Bes.
  10. Graphic Designer’s Snapshots of Inspiration by Lauren Krause
  11. Sources Of Inspiration For A Young Blogger by Shankar Ganesh
  12. Get your creativity back: the old fashion way by Mirko.
  13. Storyteller’s Muse by Shelly.
  14. What Inspires A Graphic Designer by David Airey.
  15. Defining Inspiration by Jenny MCB.
  16. Sources Of Inspiration for Observers by Pearl.
  17. A Tribute To All Mothers by Jacklyn.
  18. Teaching, Inspiration, and Rock‘n Roll by Damien Riley.
  19. Sources Of Inspiration From DailyBlogTips – interview with Daniel Scocco.
  20. Inspiration From Your Future Self by Kate Hudson.
  21. The Roots Of Inspiration by Isabella Mori.
  22. Please God, Bless The Mess by Rosemarie.
  23. Inspired To Write by Marcia.
  24. Inspired By One Minute Miracle by Lewis Bass.
  25. Motivation And Inspiration for A Hobbyist by Joey.
  26. Postcards Of Inspiration by Paulie.
  27. The Little Successes Along The Way by Carolyn Manning.
  28. The Really Simple Domino Effect by Hamelife
  29. Questioning Inspiration by Nanny Molly.
  30. Inspiration or Despair That is the Question by Joey.
  31. Sources Of Inspiration For Writing by Yvonne Russell.
  32. Life on Hysteria Lane by The Rock Chick.
  33. Inspired By People by Jacob Share.
  34. They Showed Me How To Find Release by Carolyn.
  35. Crazy Wisdom Inspiration by Pamm
  36. Sources Of Inspiration For Life and Blogging by Dj Flush

4 thoughts on “giving up, effort, and trust

  1. Damien Riley

    Thanks Isabella! That’s my 2 1/2 year-old’s name by the way . . . so I really like it!

    Some posts start out as freewrites and end up being well-crafted and proud moments. I really didn’t think this post would mean much to anyone other than teachers, but I think the point of finding ones nucleus of excitement is a crucial one for anyone who seeks to inspire others. Thanks for reading and paying attention to the point. I love your site BTW and added you to my blogroll. Take it easy. -Damien

  2. Pingback: Thoughts & Philosophies

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