Inspiring: Breathing Life into Advocacy

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Breathing Life into Advocacy

I’ve been thinking about the word “inspired” a lot recently, in thanks to the people who voted this into the Average Advocate’s new tag phrase. According to Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions of the verb inspire is “to breathe . . . into or upon” or “to infuse (as life) by breathing.” So I’ve been pondering what breaths life into me.

I am inspired by my kids. When I see them do something which seems so impossible or amazing coming out of these little people. Or when they need me. Of course, usually I take care of them because its my job. But sometimes I can’t help but give them all my attention because I am inspired.

The moon. When I was nineteen or so, I thought God told me He gave me the moon. Yes, I know I just weirded a ton of you out. Whether that is because I believe in God, or because I believe He gave me something which is obviously not mine (so you think) it doesn’t really matter. Because every time I see the moon swelling up in a clear night my heart catches and I feel love submerging me, whispering that it will be okay. In these moments sometimes I loose it, weeping because something like the moon, a present to me, is still stable in our imperfect world. Inspired.

Of course, I am also inspired by jealously. I am inspired by my friends. My family. Kindness. Love. Autumn and sex and laughter and ice cream and good stories and the ocean and visiting new places, meeting different people, and seeing first-hand where something shook the foundations of history, causing culture to shift.

Being a generally creative person, I’m especially inspired by art (on screen, canvas, music or dance). That is fundamentally why art even exists- to express and then inspire.  I’m inspired by tastes and colors and their countless combinations. I often think of the movie Ratatouille (Pixar, 2007) when Remy tries to help his brother “get” the brilliance of delicious food.  Here is a low-quality clip of that scene below:

I like this scene a lot because I relate to Remy. I just get so excited when I try to express what I feel, everything I have learned about the things going on in the world and how I truly believing you and I can make a difference. I can’t even get past my few start up sentences and I feel like the colors have already popped, disappeared, and the subject is changed. Instead of inspiring you, I lost you.

Or more so, I wonder if ever “had” you in the first place, if you were ever even looking for the inspiration I am exploding on to you. Probably, not. Because we don’t go looking for inspiration. We wait for it.

Do We Even Want to be Inspired?

This question is hard for me to answer. Of course, it seems like I should say yes. But I don’t really make much effort to be inspired. I don’t stalk inspirational people although I might listen to an occasional Ted Talk. Weekly I hear a sermon, but that is because my schedule and lifestyle includes church. Do I read words of inspiring wisdom? Sure. But I still have stacks of books and blogs I’d love to ingest but don’t go to the work to read them. Heck, I probably have something titled A Women’s Inspirational Book next to my toilet, but its anything but the first thing I’d pick up to read.

My point is that we might like to be inspired. But except for the habits or things that we enjoy which are already part of our lives, we don’t really go out of our way to be inspired by something different.

So then, how can we breath life into each other to be advocates for those around the world who need them? How do we inspire those who are waiting for some inspiration to fall into their lap? Or who aren’t going to go out of their way to change the world, if that is not typically a subject they are inspired by?

What I am really wondering is how to make this new tag phrase true:

Inspiring the Average American to Change the World

Ideas for Action

In the comments, let me know what inspires you. I know my husband is inspired by electrical circuits. Yes, you read that right. Surely yours can’t be worse than that ;)

Then let me know what has inspired you to do something beyond yourself for others.

Try to figure out who, what, when you have been inspired and share it. Can you replicate that to inspire someone else? Or to let us try it out ourselves?

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  • Katie

    hearing about and seeing those in need inspires me to action. knowing that children in my own county lack food and warm clothes inspires me. so really, i guess seeing or hearing about sad things is what inspires me to action? knowing there is a need that is not being met inspires me to action, because i can’t help but think, “what if that was me or my children?”