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My quest for inspiration, and the surprising result

I am sitting on my living room floor, notebook on my lap, with my 1 year old playing infront of me. Snot is running down his nose but he is happily chewing on a tube of lip gloss that I’ve given to him – a necessary distraction to keep his chubby little fingers from pulling the pen from my grasp. The house is pleasantly quiet with my 3 year old napping in his room down the hall and my husband at work.

The sky is smooth and grey, the trees and pavement wet from rain. We spent our morning at a neighbour’s house where the older two boys bickered and laughed together, and the babies peacefully explored the toys that strewed the living room floor. We ate blueberry muffins, slices of marble cheese and grapes. There were lulls in conversation in between settling disagreements over toys, chatting about my neighbour’s latest home renovation, her recent return to work, and our plans for the weekend.

This is what many of my mornings look like these days. Playdates, grocery trips, and potty breaks. I have spent a good amount of time thinking about the stage of life I am in right now, and a lot of time fighting against it. Fighting to find more meaning in my days, more productivity. And feeling utterly confused about why this life I once craved left me so dissatisfied. I chose home over work after spending 5 long years in university and 5 subsequent years working. I literally and figuratively threw away my teaching career. Boxes of books, binders, and bulletin board supplies were given away. Bags of dress pants, blouses and high heels were donated to a local charity. If this was the life I wanted, why was almost every day a battle to remain content and positive?

I decided to spend the month of August away from writing which had me completely uninspired and frustrated. I turned my attention to other things instead. I went swimming and camping with my kids, borrowed countless children’s books from our local library, played chase whenever I was politely asked, and taught my 1-year-old how to wave hello, blow kisses, and find his nose. I weeded the soil lining our front walkway and learned how to properly roll up a garden hose. I baked muffins with my oldest, organized my spice cupboard, and tried my hand at making risotto. I started a book club, bought new CDs for my car, and made my first purchase of a home decorating magazine. I heard some great concert music and went sailing on my husband’s new boat.

I spent many hours curled up on my couch soaking in stories of such inspiring creatives – Julia Cameron, Natalie Goldberg, Shonda Rhimes, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Rob Bell, Harper Lee. I listened to podcasts while cleaning the bathroom and chopping vegetables for supper.

I waited for inspiration to spark. And I waited and waited and waited. I continued to show up to life, day after day, planning playdates and packing picnics. But the inspiration I was waiting for never came. What surprised me, though, was how content I felt. I was having fun. Yet I wasn’t doing anything noteworthy or spectacular.

All of a sudden, what started as a faint whisper from somewhere inside of me grew louder. The truth that was infront of me all along. That all of these things I was pouring time and attention into – these were the things that mattered. They were it. And this is what I do – the right now, as is.

I certainly wasn’t creating a hit TV show series or a future Pulitzer Prize winning bestseller, but reading the stories of these successes somehow helped me to see the rich value in my simple life. These stories helped me to appreciate the uniquenes of my own story. Telling me to treasure, like fine gold, the moments that make up my every day and the moments from where I have come. These moments create a beautiful mosaic of my life. They are my inspiration.

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