It’s not that the theme inspiration is difficult to write about. It’s just that I have been seeing the word everywhere. Living your life in a way that others want to emulate is inspiring, and the people who inspire others don’t do it because they want to inspire others. It’s done because they feel they must do it. One of the poets that inspires me is Mary Oliver. Her poem The Journey describes perfectly that drive “You knew what you had to do,” as one who has had to make a difficult choice. “and there was a new voice/ which you slowly/recognized as your own.” It ends “determined to save/the only life that you could/save.“
This is a perfect description of positive disintegration described by Kasimir Dabrowski in his work. A person gets negative feedback from all sides when he/she decides to make a life change, yet the more that person follows that choice, the better he/she feels about life.
I always think of artists in this way. Vincent Van Gogh worked quickly in a style different from anyone else and changed the course of history. He didn’t discover his artistic talent until he was twenty-seven, after he had failed to support himself by evangelism. He did not receive acclaim until after his death.
I see it often in twelve-step programs. A member comes to a meeting in so much pain they are willing to do anything. If they follow the suggestions given by those who have gone before (stories in the literature, stories at open meetings), they find there is a way out of their misery. Others around them may not support this change, though. They are comfortable with the misery and change is scary. Sometimes that person has to leave friends and family behind and spend more time around people who understand what is happening.
One of my friends is very inspiring. Nancy Lundquist had a very happy existence with a husband and family living in Wrigleyville in Chicago. One weekend, she was bitten by one of the sixty-five species of mosquitos which carried the West Nile Virus. Thinking she had the flu, she didn’t go for medical care until the following week. By then, the virus had entered her brain and caused encephalitis. She became paralyzed although she regained some of the coordination in her upper body. Her drive to create drove her to continue working on jewelry and crocheted objects. She lives in a nursing home. Last fall, her husband died, and it’s possible she will lose all of their assets to pay for her care. This summer she got pneumonia and has been under medical care for two months. Is she discouraged? Of course. Does she continue to take care of herself? Yes, she does. I, for one, am grateful that this beautiful person with a powerful intellect and strong creative will continues to grace my life. She is an inspiration to me to persist under extreme adversity.