By: Anonymous

I imagine there are as many sources of inspiration as there are people walking in this world.  I can conjure up images of an individual, hunched over a typewriter, sweating about a deadline, and complaining of writer’s block. The anxiety is palpable as the person wrestles with nothing to say.  Where is their inspiration?

I guess this is what Adam has to deal with when one of the 30 fumbles their deadline.

I’m easy.  Everything inspires me.

I have a reason for always paying attention outside of myself. I am motivated to get outside of my head and see, and hear, and touch, and smell the world around me. My motivation is simple, it’s fear.

I have a panic disorder that sends my mind pin-balling around the universe between my ears.  I learned a long time ago that getting outside my head and paying attention to what the world has to offer is one way to put a leash on my panic pit bull.

So that is what I do, I pay attention.  I see everything.  It is exhilarating.  It is exhausting.  Sometimes it takes a lot of energy to be me.  I see ferns growing in the cracks of a stone wall.  I see patterns in store windows and in nature.  I see the hesitation on a young man’s face as he considers giving up his seat on the Metro for a person whose gender isn’t so obvious.

Everything I see has the potential to become inspiration for a new idea, a new lesson plan, a new project  . . .

Everything inspires me.

And then a funny thing starts to happen.  These inspirations develop into a panic silver lining – the energy I put into observing starts to turn into inspiration.  I can’t tell you the number of post it notes, receipts, business cards, take out menus and notepads I have covered with the inspirations that jump out at me from a drive down the parkway or a segment of Morning Edition.

I discovered that I could put my panic on the back burner if I jumped head first into the sights and sounds around me. 

 So, as a young person I lived as fast as I could to stay ahead of the panic.  I wanted to work and play in a vibrant city where sights and sounds, actions and movement, images and vibes were plentiful and accessible.  I plucked ideas from jam packed alleyways in Hong Kong where everything sounded, smelled, felt, and tasted different and exciting. I really liked the cacophony of stimuli that I found in cities. So much to see and bounce off. I wanted to package up all of these sights and input and save them for another time when I couldn’t be there but would want to revisit this place in my mind. So I tried. I traveled.  I moved to Atlanta. I wrote. Can you capture inspiration by writing it down?

A decade later, I discovered a new source of inspiration—the rolling brown hills of scrub that comprised most of Australia were calming and comforting. It is in Australia, that I found the inspiration in quiet, and sunbeams, and wind sounds. The best thing about Australia was the outside: kangaroos instead of deer, deforested scrub instead of forests, and space instead of density.  Australia inspired me to find the outside everywhere I went.

Over my lifetime I have discovered this equation to be true:

observation + contemplation > inspiration + action = a full and somewhat balanced life

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