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Is Inspiration Deficit Disorder Haunting You?

by Jonathan Ellerby

It is one of those words that just sounds good. Most of us hear it and know we want more of it – inspiration! To be inspired is to find something that fuels and excites us - maybe even to inspire others. But what does it really mean and how to we put it to work in our lives?

Inspiration is fundamentally a feeling, and it is one that communicates a kind of wisdom. It’s an exhilarating merging of intuition, motivation, and clarity. It can become the foundation of work, relationships, health changes, invention and change. Once it has taken root, if we feed it, it grows and eventually will bear fruit.

To be inspired is more than just having a great idea, it is having a great idea and the feeling of energy, creativity and worth that goes with it. To be inspired is more than just being impressed with genius or natural beauty, it is also the feeling of connection and personal relevance that goes with it. Inspiration is a spiritual quality. Its source is impossible to define; it feels bigger than our minds, and deeper than our emotions. Frequently, when people feel inspired they say their ideas and actions are not their own doing. They say they “just know” what to do. They are certain that “something greater” has come to them, or through them. When a person “receives” an inspiration, they have a feeling of certainty and power, and yet also humility and faith. Inspiration comes with its own evidence.

There are many people who are financially successful and have accomplished a lot, but still report feeling lost or out of balance. Typically, it is the lack of inspiration that is at the heart of why they are still seeking happiness, peace, and meaning.

A great example is the case of a very accomplished director at one of the world’s most successful technology companies. Extremely intelligent, financially set for life, but endlessly unhappy. He remarked to a counselor, “Despite years of therapy, and having tried all the spiritual techniques that science has corroborated, happiness and joy still evade me.”

His focus was always on what he had read, the things he could explain, and his tolerance only for things that science could measure. His real problem was: Inspiration Deficit Disorder! His heart and soul had almost zero role in directing his life. He lived in a world that looked good on paper, but was about as vital as a piece of paper: flat and cold. His choices were all approved by his mind, but disconnected from the most important source of power available to him: his own heart and soul. Without this connection, like a plant kept from water and the sun, eventually his life had become stunted and dry.

A lack of inspiration, or Inspiration Deficit Disorder, is one of the most crippling ways to live. When a person lacks inspiration, they lack a sense of meaning, intuition, and purpose in life. They live from the outside in, and not from the inside out. They live in reaction and not in response.

When someone says they feel “stuck,” “drained,” or even depressed, the first thing to look for is the level of inspiration in their life. Where is it missing, how did it get lost, and for how long? People can go years without inspiration. Usually it’s because life’s demands have triggered our old attitudes and hurts to land us in situations that takes from us more than they give to us. This may remind you of when you have said, “this doesn’t feel like me,” or “this just doesn’t feel right for me.”

Fortunately inspiration is something you can cultivate. For many, an increase in inspiration can be healing and even life changing. Here are 5 steps to end Inspiration Deficit Disorder and put the spark back in your soul!

1. Look for it. Seek out films, books, people and stories that might inspire you. Next time you choose a movie, for example, choose a story of triumph over adversity, instead of cheap thrills.

2. Remember it. Think of a time, place, or person that inspired you. Tell someone about it or write about it. You’ll feel the energy of that experience as you recall it. Ask yourself, what can you do today that will reconnect you with that feeling again?

3. Inspire Yourself. Set aside some quiet time to envision your ideal future. Write a vision for yourself. If your life were truly inspiring one year from now, what would you be doing? How can you inspire yourself today with a dream of a better tomorrow.

4. Give what you want to get. A great way to become inspired is to try to give it first to others. Help a stranger; coach a team; share your expertise in something with someone who’d love to know what you know. It could be baking a cake, fixing a car, or applying for a job.

5. It’s not what you think. Remember inspiration is a feeling, it can come through things like music, dance, and time in nature. Pay attention the feelings first, then ask what they are asking you to be more of in your life.

You may find other ideas in Jonathan’s new book, RETURN TO THE SACRED: ANCIENT PATHWAYS TO SPIRITUAL AWAKENING. You can learn more about Dr. Ellerby at www.returntothesacred.com

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