Mission: go with an open heart, find inspiration, connect with amazing people

I recently had coffee with a wise woman who has an incredible gift of making everyone feel like the most important person in the world. She attributes that gift to being present. She shows up for every conversation she has. For many of us, being present just for ourselves is hard enough. Being fully present for others is aspirational.

She also raised some ideas that connected to inspiration from a couple of weeks prior at TEDWomen. I am always amazed when similar or the same things surface in unexpected and seemingly unrelated ways. It means I should pay closer attention.

Water is one such thing I pay attention to. When we think about following our heart-centered paths and dreams, it’s easy for that to feel as overwhelming as the stormiest sea. It’s vast and unknown and uncharted. But if we think about it in terms of rain droplets becoming the ocean as expressed by Climbing PoeTree, or micro-hope, and little drops that can add to the flood of change, as described by Ane Brun, or the woman mentioned above speaking about “rivulets making their way to the sea,” it feels a bit less intimidating. It reminds us to start small.

A couple of summers ago, I woke up one morning in Texas Hill Country while visiting my parents with a strong urge to get a tattoo I had been thinking about for some time THAT DAY. I have a number of other tattoos and have always done careful research on finding the right artist. I researched local tattoo shops and visited a couple to look at portfolios. I became a walk-in. The tattoo artist available at Rock of Ages in Austin looked like a younger and edgier version of my deceased grandfather. I took that as confirmation I needed to go through with my mission.

After a few hours, my forearm was decorated with waves inspired by Hokusai, a personal reminder never to settle for status quo. A year and a half later at a TEDx picnic prior to TEDWomen, I spotted another wave tattoo nearby. A young startup founder from China tattooed a wave inside a triangle on his forearm in honor of his mother’s name and the idea that water can be both the softest and strongest thing. Indeed.

The power of interrupting habits has also bubbled up repeatedly. Helen Marriage in her talk referred to imagination as interference with the daily routine and how curiosity can tramp over suspicion. A similar concept arose at coffee, this time with yoga as “the great intervention of habits.” For those of us overtaken by our anxious monkey minds, imagination can be a gift and sometimes a curse, but mostly a gift.

In 2019, I will embark on a yoga journey to find more presence, to quiet that anxious monkey mind and to surface more of these connections.   

What other nuggets of inspiration will bubble up over the upcoming weeks and months?

Categories: TED