When I was a little girl I went to a primary school where I was taught by nuns. Long before my arrival there these nuns administered punishment in a way now banned. Naughty children would lay their tiny hands out on the old wooden school desks and receive a belt over their knuckles or a ruler firmly swatted over their delicate hands. It was painful, and my mum has told me she was terrified of it ever happening to her. I don’t imagine it’s the most inspiring way to get children to behave. Fear surely can’t promote enthusiasm for learning. And I doubt it encourages to the naughty ones to actually behave that much better.
So if getting a stick out and beating someone over the knuckles isn’t the way to be inspired (thank goodness that was banned), then there must be other ways…
Read a Dr Seuss book? Perhaps.
Dance like nobody’s watching? Surely. But maybe that’s for your benefit only.
Wear nice lingerie? I’m pretty sure the other half will appreciate it. Inspiring? Not so much.
No, I’m guessing if you want inspiration you have to go somewhere that offers proper thought provoking, reality defying, life affirming goodness.
I was approached recently by a befuddled friend who is struggling to find her way. Various events in her past had caused her to be unsure which path to take next in life. And while we can hardly predict what will happen next, we can surely at least be guided in the general direction of our dreams, and find ways to be inspired when we think we are heading towards rock bottom.
So in answer to her plea for help, I put together an “Inspiration list” and swiftly sent it off via email – oh ain’t technology grand! (Mind you, if you watched the Oscars this year you’ll recall the brilliant J. K. Simmons and his sound advice – pick up the phone and call!). This inspiration list comes in the form of a few thought leaders of the naughties (2000 and beyond) that have truly had a profound impact on my life.
So without further ado ladies and gentlemen…let me unveil my personal inspiration list to you. And please share it with anyone who you know might love a little nurturing and awesomeness rather than a swift verbal kick or rap over the knuckles. Kindness goes a long way to a better world.
The Work – by Byron Katie http://www.thework.com/index.php
From what I have been told about Byron Katie, she underwent a massive journey into finding herself after she left everything and became homeless for a while. Byron Katie uses an incredible method of identifying and questioning to help people find answers that they need, in order to let go of “things”. I’ve listened to some wonderful moments of people finally coming to terms with their “personal issues” that angered them (often for a very long time). They finally let go, with the help of Byron Katie guiding them through the process with a live audience. It’s so incredibly inspiring.
The best bit about this phenomenal lady…all the things you need to do The Work are available for FREE on her website: http://thework.com/do-work Now that’s giving!
Be Happy – by Robert Holden:
Robert is the legend of legends in the world of happy Psychology. If he knows about it, the world does too. He’s instrumental in some magical changes that have happened in Psychology over the last decade. And he guest speaks all the time too. Check out his book ‘Be Happy‘.
Link up: http://www.robertholden.org/
5 minute journal
A must buy. Please please please buy this as an app or a book and use this every day. It will blow your mind how five minutes of this can be life changing. It will make sense if you download it and use it, or buy a hard copy of the book. Unfortunately for Australia and the UK, it’s a little expensive to ship at the moment so the app version might be best.
The 5 minute journal is an affirmative style journal of gratification and mindfulness done in less than 5 minutes per day. I get all my acting clients to purchase it. And about four of my friends have had blissful things have happened since committing to using it (daily).
Link up: http://www.fiveminutejournal.com/
The Art of Love Series, with Arielle Ford
This one is a little unusual but I think it’s well worth seeking out if you’re at a time in your life where you might be seeking clarity on romantic relationships, or just about where you fit generally in the world. I listened to this about a bunch of times when I was single and I’m not ashamed to admit that. I found that it helped me to appreciate myself more. And rather than try and modify myself to meet the ‘right guy’, I found ways to truly accept myself and that the man of my dreams, would love me as I am and fit into that picture, rather than me changing for him. I would put the talks on and have the headphones in and they just affected me in such a beautiful way (mainly through listening to other people share similar stories). I got my thoughts on love realigned, and then I fell in love.
Link up: http://artoflove.evolvingwisdom.com/
How to Love Yourself – by Louise Hay
Louise Hay is a household name, so I know she needs little introduction. But there’s something else Louise has on her site that I think is missed sometimes when people browse through her incredible virtual bookshelf of awesomeness. When you go to the homepage via the below link, you can sign up to receive a free audio gift. This gift is epic! I have listened to this hour long audio more times than I care to admit. I used to listen to it over and over when I was working in a very dull freelance role and needed to remember “I’m an actor, and this job won’t define me.” And define me it did not. Thanks Louise! Equally the messages in her audio about loving yourself are just what we need when a pick me up day is in order.
Link up: http://www.louisehay.com/ Signup and get the audio guide gift.
The Artist’s Way – by Julia Cameron
THE BIGGEST GAME CHANGING BOOK EVER! I have written about this book a number of time on B.A.B.E. over the years and it’s just so ridiculously brilliant, words don’t even describe how my heart feels about this book. I even spoke with a BBC director buddy about this book just again last week and we were both excited about being back to using the Morning Pages and doing the dream collages. But you be the judge.
Don’t tell anyone (she says on a public blog!) but about three friends recommended this bad boy before I finally bought it three years later. So I was ridiculously slow in the uptake of understanding what a blessing the exercises in this book would do for me (And it rocks my world daily). However more importantly, many years ago it had a powerful impact on me shifting some crap from my life out of my way, so I could get on with feeling good about myself. If you ever want to know the full story, just ask to have coffee one day, we can sit down and I’ll share the power of The Artist’s Way for me personally. See if this book doesn’t move you to an inspired and artistically creative emotional place.
Raptitude.com, by David
Still my favourite thought provoking blogger on the planet right now. Big call I know. But being a girl who likes to write a blog or two, I pride myself on keeping up with some of the thought leaders around the globe, and none say it as eloquently and succinctly as my virtual friend David (whom I’ve never met but hope to one day). He doesn’t spam your inbox too often but I read EVERY one of his blogs. To me, he’s a thought leader on understanding why we will never understand the universe, but we can attempt understand ourselves a little better. I think he’s pretty in touch with his feelings.
Link up: http://www.raptitude.com/
So ladies and gentlemen. If you look at every single link and aren’t inspired even a little, then I will assume you might be a rock made out of metal. And I won’t judge you (who am I to judge rocks). But I will wonder how the hell anyone penetrates that tough exterior. However if you are willing to go through the motions of trying out the 5 Minute Journal, of doing all 12 chapters of The Artist’s Way, and of listening to Louise Hay’s audio awesomeness, I would love to hear from you what you thought. Did it inspire?
Equally please drop a comment below if you’re familiar with any of these inspirations and let me know which ones worked for you. Lets share the things that ground us to a halt and help us reflect on the good stuff..it’s it all about becoming better, more fun, happier versions of our existing wonderful selves? Being collectively inspired must be a beautiful thing, right B.A.B.E.’s?
Photo credits: first pic – by Doug Robichaud
Second pic – ‘Jump’ by Joshua Earle