The New Life

La Vita Nuova by Dante Alighieri

In that book which is
My memory . . .
On the first page
That is the chapter when
I first met you
Appear the words . . .
Here begins a new life

If you are looking to do something meaningful in life, look first to be an inspiration. The word inspiration comes to us via the early 14th century, originally denoting the “immediate influence of God or a god.” Inspiration in our era carries a broader meaning, including the ability of mere mortals to heighten or intensify the experience of another by virtue of a compelling example, an uplifting word or a kind gesture.

Inspiration marks the line between truly living and merely existing. A great many men, women and children have come and gone without ever having received or given the blessing of inspiration and as a consequence, the story of man is riddled with tales of woeful, painful and tragic existence. Oh, that it were not so!

To be an inspiration you must first be willing to be inspired, just as you must breathe in before you can breathe out. If you are desirous of inspiring others to their greatness, you must first understand the nature of inspiration. At its core, inspiration is the desire to revitalize and uplift the world around you. Inspiration seeks nothing, requires nothing, in return for its expression. It is infinitely selfless.

Looking back, I realize that those who have inspired me during my nearly four decades on earth had several traits in common:

  1. A selfless concern for the welfare of others
  2. A healthy measure of humility
  3. An unapologetic approach to the expression of excellence
  4. An uncomplicated ability to be inspired themselves by little things from unexpected sources

What about you? What inspires you? Who inspires you? What have you done today to inspire another? If it is true that the “devil is in the details”, then I propone that “inspiration”, likewise, “is in the details.” Just as darkness is nothing more than the absence of light, perdition is the absence of inspiration. Look to the details of your life to inspire those around you. Seek out those who inspire you. Breathe it in, but don’t forget the most important part: return the favor and breathe it out, that is, inspire others as you have been inspired.

7 thoughts on “The New Life

  1. AMVP

    It was 23 years ago today I met one of the most inspirational people of my life. I had to chuckle when I read the poem as I’ve had thoughts along that line about this person for many years.
    There have been many people that have been inspirational to me. Some I knew for only a fleeting moment yet they are still vivid in my memory. Others were for longer periods of time and their impact on my life has been indelible.
    I have had others tell me that at times I inspired them and I always feel appreciative to the ones that inspired me as I feel I am passing the baton they so generously gave to me.
    Thanks for such a beautiful post. I will send it to my beloved. I read your blog every day, it is an inspiration to me. Many days I send it on to those that look to me for inspiration and so it goes…


  2. Colin

    Looking at your list, those are the same traits that those who have inspired me possess as well. Another thing I would like to add is that those that I have found inspiring don’t even seem to realize that they are doing it. It is just that they have decided to be who they are, and they don’t have either hubris or false humility. I really appreciate the things you are considering on this blog, they are all things that I have consistently found inspiring.


  3. Marianne Brandon

    Those are great traits – it inspires me to look at what in fact has inspired me and whether or not I can square the cause of my inspirations with the quality of the traits you mention. The bar for inspiring and being inspired can be set at many levels and I want mine to be set high. Thanks for this fabulous post!


  4. Kolya

    Beautiful, inspiring words. Inspiration will surely die on the vine if it’s not shared – it’s not something that you can keep for yourself. The inspiring words on this blog or from anywhere else must be given to others through us to have any meaning.


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