Inspiration Found

The weekend weather was gloomy. I didn’t sleep well last night. And this is the 4-year anniversary of the day I learned my mom would die. It’s a strangely vibrant yet also unsettling time. We officially enter fall, which is the season of grief, according to Chinese medicine. When I woke this morning, I asked (the universe, nature, myself?) for inspiration. I felt stale, tired, and a little raw. I longed to be inspired.

From my meditation cushion, I saw sunrise light illuminating treetops, still wet from last night’s rain. I decided to walk around the neighborhood and through the park. Though treetops were lit, the sun hadn’t yet reached the dew-covered grass. The air was fresh and cool. Lawns were decorated with fallen leaves. Slowly, the orange, autumnal light hit land. Not in a rush, camera in hand, I watched and waited in the park, inspired.

Then I drove to prison for pastoral visits with members of the mindfulness group. These are men who previously lashed out in anger, abused drugs, and ignored feelings. Now they sit in meditation, getting to know themselves, no longer pretending they’re something they’re not. Being real. Making positive change. Their inner-work inspires me in inexpressible ways.

Later, I led prison staff in a midday mindfulness session. These are strong, kind, brave women who give from their hearts. People who help. People who walk into prison every day, hoping to create change. I was grateful to be in their presence and to provide a space of acceptance and awareness.

Tonight, I lead pre-K teachers in mindfulness practice and discussion of the Kindness Curriculum. Another example of ordinary people doing extraordinary work. Day in, day out, helping our children; supporting our community from the ground up.

Inspiration is everywhere, when I pay close attention. There’s beauty in the ordinary details of nature. There’s kindness and courage in the quiet, powerful work of teachers, caregivers, social workers, chaplains, neighbors, and prison inmates. And there’s grace in the moments when I view all this with fresh eyes.