I’ve been thinking about inspiration. Where it comes from and how you get it. Sure it can come from our heroes, the ones who devote their lives to something for the betterment for everyone. But it can also come from smaller acts, those less grand. LIke a young adult pushing back against peer pressure to follow their heart, or a neighbour helping with a meal or a bill, or my 81 year old mum who recently decided to become more independent.
Inspiration comes from action, not grand scale activities, but small things that make a difference to an individual, the community, or the environment. They come from upholding your personal code of honour to do what you think is right.
One of my small actions is to retrieve discarded plastic from gutters to save it from eventually ending up in our oceans, then I walk past a mound of litter and feel helpless wondering if there’s any point. The task seems so big and I wonder if my small actions can really make a difference. But what’s my choice? Do nothing? Usually I take a deep breath and try not to let others’ carelessness get to me. I tell myself there must be more going on in their lives that I don’t understand, too much for them to comprehend how their actions are impacting others.
However, other times at the beach when I’ve run to one end and begun my walk back with a plastic bag collecting rubbish, someone will smile, or say thank you, or even ask if they can add some rubbish to my bag. And on the best days, a stranger will see what I’m doing and join me.
Honouring my personal code of ethics has allowed them to recognise the same value in themselves. Have I inspired them? Perhaps. But they have inspired me to keep picking up bottles and caps, keep taking brightly coloured plastic straws away from disappointed seagulls, and keep rescuing plastic from gutters in an effort to lessen the impact on Mother Earth and her children.
Ironically inspiration also means to inhale - it’s literally a breath of fresh air, and having someone recognise my tiny effort is just that. The same way me watching someone else uphold their personal code to help others is inspiring.
So, how about starting the year with a breath of fresh air, by recognising who inspires you and acknowledging how you inspire others?