“Inspiration is Never Far Away” was written by Rod and originally posted on the Huffington Post website in October 2011.
I was surprised to hear just how utterly discouraged and lost Suzanne felt when she came to my weeklong yoga and meditation retreat. In the past Suzanne had always seemed to radiate a sense of ease and grace. But listening to Suzanne describe her current situation, it was clear that she was stuck, lacking even a basic drive to do whatever needed to be done to improve her circumstances. For several months, Suzanne had been unable to find anything redeeming about her life. There was nothing about her career, love life, or where she lived that provided her with any solace. Despite how hard she had worked and no matter how conscientious she had been in the service of her interior design clients, her business was in bad shape and she saw nothing to suggest that things would turn around. Her relationship of the past four years had ended abruptly and she lived in a city that had been hit particularly hard by the financial crisis, a city she had wanted to move away from for some time.
What was most troubling was that she had lost all desire to do what was necessary to make her life better. In spite of the fact that she had completed my Four Desires workshop earlier in the year and left feeling clear and motivated, she now felt aimless. She managed to dismiss or discount my attempts to put things in perspective for her so that she could at least make the decision to begin moving forward in a positive direction. Perhaps the only good news was that she had paid to attend this weeklong retreat months earlier. This meant that for at least a week she’d spend less time brooding about her life and have time to rest, nurture heal herself, and to clear her thoughts.
At the retreat, I made the decision not to try to help her “fix” anything. I instead intended to watch and see if and how much the practices and atmosphere of being in a retreat, away from all the things that she had so completely lost perspective on, would provide her with what she needed to move forward. The retreat was filled to capacity, so there was little time for us to speak privately. Nonetheless, I watched her and saw signs that she was gradually returning to herself. By the end of the week, the light in Suzanne’s eyes had returned. A week after that the retreat, I received an e-mail from her, which closed with these words, “I am again enthused, renewed, and re-inspired to do the work and live my best life. The fire is back. I am impassioned and ready to make things right.”
Suzanne’s belief in herself and passion to pursue her dreams had returned, but not as a result of fighting with herself or trying to artificially conjure some arbitrary level of enthusiasm. Her innate enthusiasm, one could call it––her soul’s light––had returned, and her “fire” was once again bright because over the course of the week Suzanne had reconnected to herself, which by its nature is a boundless and enduring source of inspiration. Suzanne’s transformation is a very real and practical illustration of the power of yoga and meditation to dissolve the ideas and perceptions that inhibit inspiration and our innate drive to be fully ourselves. It can also serve as a powerful reminder of where inspiration comes from; it comes from you––one could even say, “you are inspiration itself.”
We are each born with a ceaseless drive to thrive. The spark that fuels that drive is part of your soul’s DNA. Its intensity is never diminished, but it can be overshadowed by hurt, anger, fear, grief, and our self-defeating beliefs. Yoga and meditation practice, by clearing the mind and allowing you to glimpse the part of yourself that is an endless source of inspiration and peace, dissolves the accumulated stuff that dampens your soul’s radiance, thereby unlocking your innate sense of passion and freedom. Thanks to seven days of yoga and meditation practice, the heavy load of despair Suzanne had been carrying had been lifted. The moment it was, she recommitted herself and made the decision to take charge of life. Connected to her soul’s light, she once again was the master of her mind and no longer its slave and at the mercy of its darkest thoughts and feelings.
We’ve all probably experienced something similar. Perhaps all it took was to get away, to spend time in nature, go on a good vacation with people we love or just be in a place we love. Often times, that’s all it takes to help you rediscover and reconnect aspirations, or most importantly to reconnect to your best self.
For Suzanne, yoga and meditation provided the means to reignite her inspiration Her experience provides an important reminder of the yoga tradition’s most fundamental teaching: that you are already whole and complete. You cannot will yourself to abide in a state of fulfillment because you are already there. However, you may not be aware of it––just like the fish that doesn’t know it is wet. In this case, what yoga does is help you dissolve the things that stand in the way of your being the bright light and powerful force that you really are.
Whether or not you practice yoga, it should be comforting to know that you already have everything you need to fulfill your spiritual and worldly promise. All you need to do is purify your perception so you can recognize it. Once you do, the entire complexion of life, the world, and everything in it shifts; you find solutions to your challenges, answers to your questions and opportunities where previously none were perceived.
That is exactly what happened for Suzanne. In retrospect, Suzanne realized that her time at the Four Desires workshop earlier that year had been less than productive because she had been so preoccupied with her old relationship and she had failed to do the critical work I’d asked her to do during and after the workshop. During the weeklong retreat, however, the rejuvenating powers of yoga and meditation enabled her to recover her love of life and self, and thus to re-embark on the work she needed to do.
In the year since that retreat, Suzanne has once again come to embody a passion for living and has reclaimed her soul’s desire to create her best life. This led her to reinvent herself, redefine her goals, and how she relates to work and relationships. She is again making a good living as an interior designer and, although she is not in an intimate relationship, she is dating again and living life with the passion, joy, and the elegant manner that is uniquely Suzanne.
Inspiration is never far away, nor is it something you have to create. Your soul is boundlessly impassioned and always prepared to impart to you whatever you need to thrive. It is crucial to recognize that your destiny, like Suzanne’s, is to a large degree dependent on making the decision to not let your life circumstances get in the way of your goals. There may be nothing more helpful to making this critical decision than clearing away the stuff that is dampening your innate light and wisdom.