Inspiration, Motivation, Discipline, Great Habits – repeat process

InspirationWhen we are motivated, disciplined and develop good habits around an idea that inspired us, we do great things. Why is it that, very often, we get an idea and feel SO inspired, but nothing ever comes of ‘it’? Maybe you’re like me and you manage to make something of it, but after a while you get bored, decide it’s too much work or it just doesn’t bring much satisfaction.

If you look at steps 1-4 as building blocks, where is it that you habitually fall off the wagon?

1. Inspiration gets us thinking.  2. Motivation gets us moving.  3. Discipline keeps us moving. 4. Great habits keep us inspired.

Of course, we do not have the time, resources or manpower to act on every good idea we have, but when we are truly inspired we contemplate and scheme about how to make ‘it’ happen. We think about ‘it’ a lot, and though we are not conscious of this, even as we sleep our brain organizes our thoughts and ideas (according to world renowned brain researcher, Dr. Caroline Leaf). Our brain literally begins acting on our inspiration. It’s only then that we have the motivation to get our ‘it’ off the ground.

I habitually fall off the wagon just after I’ve reached step #3.  I get motivated and get the ball rolling. Sometimes, if I’m enjoying the process, I’ll develop the discipline to keep the ball rolling. As we all well know, there are pieces of everything we do that don’t bring us a ton of joy. We just want the end result!! It’s when I forget about how good the end result be, and allow my focus to get locked in on the duty of discipline, that I lose heart. I begin to feel like the duty IS the result of my inspiration. How silly!!

On the other hand, when I push through the dutiful, sometimes painful part of discipline, I slowly begin to enjoy the new habit because I can see ‘it’ coming to fruition.

Becoming aware of what gets me off track has helped me persevere and enjoy the benefit of inspiration that comes through a good habit. What does that look like?

Fortunately, the painful part of discipline doesn’t normally last forever because when we begin to see ‘it’ materializing we are inspired once again. Whether it’s playing an instrument, creating great relationships, writing a book, or reaching a career, political or humanitarian goal – to stay inspired, we must decide that it’s worth the effort. The skills of a great pianist slip if they do not play the piano regularly, but what once was a dutiful discipline is a creative outlet they now enjoy. Likewise, a relationship loses vitality when effort wanes but because it brings great joy it becomes easy to nurture.

Once we make these “great habits” part of our everyday life, we experience the joy of what they produce and that keeps us inspired!

Joe & Carri #8 – Closer to Home

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Joe began the session by announcing that his job transfer request was granted, and his move back to the states was already scheduled. It would be several weeks, but the process was in motion. His move would not take him back to Carri, but it would get him much closer to home – on a temporary assignment.

Carri was nervous. Joe loved being overseas. She didn’t want him to give up his dream on her account. She didn’t want to be blamed if things didn’t work out.  With a little effort, she was able to relax by realizing that Joe was solely responsible for his decision, but with the added pressure of him being state-side, she felt it necessary to make it quite clear that she was not ready to be reunited – at least not permanently. Even so, this turn of events pushed them to deeper levels.

Joe accused Carri of doing very well without him and made sure she knew he was dying inside. She affirmed that she was doing better because she was no longer in the depths of depression, but firmly asserted she was NOT doing well. She missed him and hated having to do everything by herself. She started to say she would give anything to be together again but changed it to – she would (and was doing) anything and everything to make being together again better.

Though they were not ready to determine when or how they could make life together work, they decided they needed to know what non-negotiable the other would demand for it to ever be a possibility. Interestingly, this ended up  mostly being a reiteration of the vision they had already cast.

Once again, they realized their goals largely overlapped. He stressed that he wanted to be in a relationship where both parties put a high value on the relationship and she said she wanted to be in a relationship where both parties fully engaged with each other. Hmmm, sounded to me like their ideas weren’t too far apart. Upon further exploration they agreed!

Suddenly Joe began to rant, We’ve painted ourselves into a corner and  have no place to go. I need assurance that this is temporary. I don’t want this to go on for years.  I want us to be together so we CAN work on things. I need assurance we aren’t going to end up like Mike and Sally – apart for 9 years.

Carri quickly assured him she didn’t want to end up like Mike and Sally either. She wanted healing, restoration and new strength. She wanted to be healthy, happy and loving and she wanted to be married to a happy, healthy loving man so they could have a healthy happy, loving relationship. She said she needed reassurance too. So they decided to, as an Action Step, contact each other daily to specifically assure the other of this desire.

Words Can Hurt But You Are Stronger! #1

strong-armEven the strongest characters, occasionally have their hearts wounded by words that come at them like flaming arrows.  How is it that some seem to deflect these flaming arrows, on a regular basis, virtually unscathed while others seem to be shaped by them?

A popular theory is that if parents, teachers and friends are affirming and positive that a child, when grown, will be a strong, healthy individual with great self-esteem. In a way, I wish that were true, but it only takes a minute to think of people I know personally who have overcome a terrible childhood and because of it, are now armed with a shield that protects their heart. And then there are others, like me, who came to depend on those affirming words heard as a child in order to feel good about themselves and be strong in this world but ….when the apron strings were cut, I wasn’t so strong.  Certainly every child deserves to have adoring parents and granted, it does affect a child positively, but there are no guarantees as to how a a person will survive once in the real world.

I guess it’s best that way. It keeps us all in the same boat with equal opportunity to grow into the strength intended for each of us.  So how do we do that? The strength of the Spirit within each of us is the same, yet some of us hold onto this weakness with a mighty grip quenching what the Spirit in us longs to give. Why not let go of that grip and be free?

Just imagine wearing a shield that could deflect flaming arrows. Now imagine those arrows as carrying words that have hurt you – and still do hurt you.  Wouldn’t it be cool to have protection from them? What if the only words that could penetrate the shield were words of truth? Truth, truth and nothing but the truth.

Yeah, I admit sometimes the truth hurts too – but those are the words I want to embrace, even if they hurt.  Maybe I need to do something with them – like ask for forgiveness – or take action so they are not true any longer or just learn how think about them productively.  Where the truth gives life – embracing lies can be deadly. Hurtful words are most often lies and lies, when believed, can be deadly.  It’s truth that makes us light in the world. It’s truth that sets us free. Understanding the power I have to control which words I allow to affect me has been intriguing, freeing and empowering, both in the spiritual sense and in the physical sense.  Oh, it’s good to be free from the power of unkind words!

Desiring Growth?

Some say that the desire for growth is always rooted in dissatisfaction, I beg to differ. I may be odd, but dissatisfaction rarely inspires me. Initially I feel a bit down, negative and stuck, whereas contentment gives me freedom. I realize that I’m not stuck! Unhindered by negativity, I have the clear frame of mind to look at all the options, think out of my box without pressure, and remember to keep my eyes open for new ideas and possibilities   Dissatisfaction blinds me.

growthDesiring growth is a human phenomenon.  Throughout childhood we look forward to the next phase of life marking milestones and marking walls by the quarter inch.  Once our full stature is reached we continue to look ahead still marking milestones with graduations, marriage, children, careers and accomplishing goals – until we stop, or die.

When I believe dissatisfaction is a good foundation for growth I tend to focus on the negative and that leads me in a path I’d rather not travel. Often the first negative thought is not nearly as bleak as the next, nor that one as hopeless as the one that follows – it’s a downward spiral. Worse yet, dissatisfaction wells up in me a need to blame.  Blaming myself doesn’t help me any more than blaming you or even the circumstances.

Desiring growth, movement or change is not a choice – we are human – it is what we do. Cultivating contentment is a choice that God intends for us to make. When we choose to be grateful and live with a real sense of peace, our eyes are unveiled to possibilities that are veiled when we are dissatisfied.  Untainted by negativity we make healthy, wise decisions and fulfill the longing that never dies – growth.

Besides all that, contentment is way more fun!!  Not to mention the fact that we are called to be content.  We know God doesn’t intend for us to stagnate so I’m quite certain he wouldn’t call us to contentment if that is where it led.  Wanna grow?  Try contentment.  I’ve been so very blessed when that is the choice I’ve made.