Friday, November 18, 2011
a : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions; b : the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs; c : the quality or state of being inspired.
My alarm went off this morning at 6:00, as is usual for Friday. Most Fridays, I have a bag packed with my yoga stuff ready, the coffee maker set for 5:45, and journal, pens, and computer in my bag, ready at the door. But last night I was too tired to pack my stuff, too tired to set the coffee maker, feeling the slowing down and coming in that happens in the dark and cold of late-November.
So I hit the snooze, and laid there in the dark, calculating how long it would take me to gather my stuff, make the coffee, and get across town by 7:00. I didn’t make any decision before the alarm went off and I had to hit the snooze again. I continued to try and coax myself out of bed, “I need to stretch, need to move my body, need the zen of a candlelit yoga studio as the sun rises But I just. don’t. feel. like. it.”
But then I had a revelation. I realized, laying there in the midst of my apathy, “I need to get on my bike! I need to speed up my heart, get my blood pumping. I need to inspire and perspire.” I’ve been enjoying long hikes in the woods with Dharma this fall, letting go of all things cardiovascular for a while, letting myself slow and watch the season fall toward winter. But there comes a point when I need turn it up, get the lymphatic system flowing, and just breathe heavy.
So I put on my leg warmers, my wool socks, cords, tank top, long-sleeved shirt, hoody, puffy jacket, and winter riding mittens, and threw a dry tank top, stocking hat, and scarf along with my computer and journal in my pannier bag. As I was getting ready, Paul checked the weather and called happily across the house, “It’s not even cold out! It’s 36 degrees!” Oh the relativity of living in Minnesota!
Anyway, as I pedaled my bike along the parkways en route to Uptown, my lungs pushing against my ribs, my ipod blaring, the golden sun taking its sweet time to rise, my shadow biking long across the fallen leaves and tall grasses next to me, I pushed out the stagnation, and woke myself up.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ? Howard Thurman
This morning, I gave myself exactly what I needed. Because no one else can do this for me, no one else can make my heart quicken and push the stagnant air from my lungs. And really, if we do not take care of ourselves, no one will step forward and do it for us. Only we have the power to breathe life into our days, our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. Through pushing against our boundaries, waking ourselves up, and asking ourselves what we need, we inspire ourselves first so we may be alive in this world, alive for everyone around us.
Writing does this for me. It breathes life and reflection into my days, it relieves and awakens me. But writing is not enough, as is no one thing. We are responsible for all aspects of ourselves. We are responsible to take this life and keep it vital. We each have this power, this possibility.
What we do for ourselves, we do for another–when we are inspired, we become pure inspiration.
How will you breathe life into yours and those around you today?